Released on 10/12/18
This is the second weekly report of Niger Delta Watch 2019. It highlights key incidents reported by the project’s citizen election observers in each state. As of next week, we will include visual trend analysis, and specific incidents will be used to highlight key dynamics.
In Rivers there were several killings. The tensions in the state were highlighted by military raids on the state government’s ‘neighbourhood watch’ training camp and by a high court ordering the arrest of APC campaign director, Chidi Lloyd, on attempted murder charges relating to alleged assaults committed in 2013 at the State Assembly. There were also several successful and peaceful political meetings.
In Bayelsa, citizen concerns are emerging concerning the potential for violence to be used to discourage people from voting.
In Delta, incidents highlight the tensions between and within the two major political parties. These include the destruction of campaign billboards and accusations of spying.
In Akwa Ibom the State House of Assembly crisis has deepened the polarisation of the state along PDP-APC political lines. Electioneering by these parties has been characterised by inflammatory statements, the destruction of campaign billboards, and cases of physical assaults and clashes.
One ongoing regional dynamic is the redeployment of security personnel. This continues to raise suspicions among political actors and analysts, some of whom tend to interpret change as a negative sign. Repeated changes to the Police Commissioner (now up to eight in six months) in Bayelsa have been followed by anew switch in Akwa Ibom. The latest Police Commissioner, Musa Kimo, follows his predecessor (John Abang) who lasted just a month. The new commissioner has the‘baggage’ of previously being in charge in Rivers State in 2015 to 2016 when the police were reported as being directly involved in lifting election materials from polling units. Delta State also has a new Commissioner, and although this comes after a relatively normal two years, it is already arousing suspicions. The Rivers Commissioner is reportedly also due for change, and it would make a crucial difference to perceptions across the region if an officer with a track record for moderating in disputes were appointed.
Read the report in full.