Report: Public perceptions of security dynamics in the Niger Delta

A review of 2017-2020


This report summarises key findings from a series of research surveys conducted by Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) between September 2017 and January 2020. These surveys were carried out in the Niger Delta states of Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers. The purpose of this research was to:

  • Examine local perceptions of peace and security issues in the Niger Delta.
  • Identify concerns of inhabitants about specific threats in the region, and how these affect their lives.
  • Generate data to inform government and civil society interventions to address these issues, and also capture regular feedback on the perceived performance and impact of interventions.
  • Provide a view from the ground for international actors supporting security and stabilisation initiatives in the Niger Delta.

Key messages

  • Respondents to our surveys consistently identified the activities of cult groups as their biggest security concern in the Niger Delta. These groups, which are involved in organised crime, violence, and kidnapping, are often alleged to be under political control, and their activity spikes when elections are held.
  • State governments were repeatedly named as the actor most people considered should be responsible for maintaining peace and security, and also as the actor who has implemented the most effective interventions to improve security and stabilisation.
  • There was limited awareness of federal government initiatives to address insecurity, with the exception of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, which was intended to contribute to resolving the long-running militancy in the Niger Delta. This partly indicates a need for better communication and engagement on the part of federal government, but also a perception that there has been limited action to effectively tackle security problems in the Niger Delta.
  • Job creation and other employment programmes are seen as the key priority by many in the Niger Delta to improve security and stabilisation, along with investment in public infrastructure, which together reflect the structural factors pushing people into illicit activities such as artisanal oil refining.

This report is part of a series

Published: 14.10.2020

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