About 416 forms of violence and 1,013 fatality cases were recorded in the Niger Delta region in 2019, says Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta, an NGO.
According to PIND’s Annual Conflict Report on Niger Delta released by its Spokesperson, Chichi Nnoham, there was a rise in conflict risk and lethal violence in the region in 2019, compared with the trend in 2018.
“Overall, the most reported incidents of violence related to criminality (including piracy, abductions, robberies, and killing for ritualistic purposes), which totaled 260 incidents, resulted into 444 fatalities. This was followed by gang/cultists supremacy clashes with 272 fatalities in 78 reported incidents,” PIND said in the report made available to the News Agency of Nigeria.
The report said gang violence was reported in all the states in the region, but it was more prevalent in Rivers, Edo, and Delta States.
The foundation noted that communal/ethnic tensions was the third highest conflict issue in the region in 2019, resulting in 197 fatalities in 77 reported incidents, which included land disputes, farmer/herder conflicts and ethnic separatist agitation.
PIND said political and election violence also caused over 100 fatalities during the period, especially in Rivers, Delta, and Bayelsa States.
It said in the report: “In the run-up to, and during the 2019 general elections, political tension was elevated in the Niger Delta. In February, for instance, 56 fatalities were reported in the region during the general elections.
“The hotspots of conflict in the region remained largely unchanged in 2019, compared to 2018.”
According to the report, the most violent states during the period, based on the number of reported conflict fatalities, were Rivers, Delta, Edo and Cross River.
The report also identified 10 local governments in six states as the most violent in the year 2019.
“The most violent local government areas (LGAs) in 2019 were Khana (Rivers), Oredo (Edo), Obio/Akpor (Rivers), Yenagoa (Bayelsa), Odukpani (Cross River), Mbo (Akwa Ibom), Emohua (Rivers) Ethiope East (Delta), Port Harcourt (Rivers), and Oyigbo (Rivers),” the report said.
According to findings in the report, April was the most violent month during the year with a total of 150 reported fatalities.
It said: “In one incident in April, for instance, eight people were reportedly killed during clashes between rival cult groups in Rumuolumeni Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government area of Rivers State.
“Separately in April, 10 people were reportedly killed during a clash over a land dispute between some communities in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River and a neighboring community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi.”
NAN reports that the PIND report covered 185 local government areas in nine states of the Niger Delta region.