Report 3: Public perceptions of security dynamics and stabilisation interventions in the Niger Delta

March 2018 – September 2018


This report presents the results of a public perceptions survey, carried out by Stakeholder Democracy Network (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 in September 2018 and captures perceptions for the preceding six-month period (Mar 2018–Sept 2018).

Key Messages

  • Across the survey, men and women generally had a positive outlook for the period during the survey, from March 2018 to September 2018. Slightly more respondents felt that the security situation got worse rather than better. 35% of respondents felt that the situation got better, whilst 39% felt it got worse. Respondents that felt it got worse highlighted that the effect of insecurity led to people living in fear, businesses closing early due to fear, and loss of life.
  • The biggest perceived threats to security in the region were cults, criminal activities in the forms of armed robbery and kidnappings, and activities of politicians in and around elections. Perceptions of these threats were notably high in Bayelsa state, compared to the other states. Respondents across the states predicted that these threats will remain, and anticipate a further rise in political violence in the five months following (October 2018–March 2019).
  • There was a growing concern of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)— renamed Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS)—becoming a significant source of violence and intimidation of citizens, especially in Delta state, during this period. This survey indicates SARS has lost some of its credibility, and many respondents did not think SARS and the police were open to hear public complaints.
  • 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.
  • • Although it is common for the security services to be seen as a source of insecurity themselves, only a small number of respondents saw security services as a security threat during the period, even with the upcoming elections in six months.
  • Respondents showed a higher optimism in their state government’s efforts to improve stabilisation and development in the region than that of the federal governments’. Efforts of PANDEF and NGOs were perceived to be the least effective in improving the security situation during the survey period.
  • 58% of respondents reported they will vote in the 2019 elections. Of these, respondents aged 18–24 were the least likely age group to vote. Overall, male respondents were more likely to vote than female respondents. Respondents that will not be voting stated their top reasons to be: a fear of their votes not counting, their lack of faith/belief in the candidates, and the fear of voter intimidation and outright violence against voters.

This report is part of a series

PPS report series covers

Updated: 10.02.2020

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