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Public Perceptions of Security Dynamics and Stabilisation Interventions in the Niger Delta

October 2017 – March 2018

Summary

This report presents the results of a public perceptions survey, carried out by SDN in Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers states. It focuses on citizens’ perceptions of the current security situation in the Niger Delta, and views on the actors and interventions aiming to address the problem of instability and insecurity in the region. The survey was conducted at the end of March 2018, and captures perceptions for the six month period preceding that (October 2017 to March 2018).

Key Messages

• The perception is that the security situation in the Niger Delta worsened during the surveyed period, from October 2017 to March 2018, and is expected to worsen further over the six months following due to the upcoming 2019 elections.
• The biggest security concerns included cultism, herder attacks, militancy, and gang related activities such as kidnapping. Herders attacks were perceived as one of the fastest growing threats to stability, and was consistently mentioned across the three states under review.
• Cultism remained the biggest perceived security threat across the three states. Cultists have increasingly been involved in armed criminal activities, including arms proliferation, theft, pipeline vandalism, and political violence. The public anticipate political violence, in particular, will worsen over coming months with the 2019 presidential and governorship elections.
• Women tended to have a more negative view on the security situation, highlighting clashes with herders as a major concern, with a higher percentage feeling that the situation had worsened over the period, compared with men.
• The awareness of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and its activities, drastically decreased over the past six months. Although a number of respondents agreed that PANDEF had a role to play in the current security stabilisation in their state, the body’s credibility is being questioned as there is a feeling that PANDEF is no longer the right body to represent the region’s interests in discussions with the Federal Government.
• Across the states, respondents’ two biggest concerns about PANDEF revolved around self-interest and lack of understanding of people’s problems, but strongly recommended the body to consult and engage the public and wider stakeholder groups in decision making, and improve communication of their activities especially in dealings with the Federal Government.
• The current Federal Government policies and strategies for development and stabilisation in the region have very limited visibility. The Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP) was known by only 1.5%. The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Niger Delta established to coordinate development interventions in the SIWP was known by only 4% surveyed. The public-facing arm of this strategy – the Niger Delta New Vision – by only 2%., and nobody in the survey sample was aware of the Ministry of Petroleum’s ‘7-Big Wins’. However, the Presidential Amnesty Programme
(PAP) remains the most visible intervention, is seen as the most effective, and an extension is desired by citizens in the region, in the absence of a long term solution.

Published: 11.03.2019 Edited: 24.03.2019

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