Report 4: Public perceptions of security dynamics & stabilisation interventions in the Niger Delta

October 2018-March 2019


This report presents the findings of the latest public perceptions survey (PPS), carried out by SDN in three Niger Delta states—Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers. The purpose of the PPS is to understand local-level concerns about security in the region, and priorities for addressing security-related issues. The PPS is conducted bi-annually, with each examining public perceptions relating to the previous six-month period. The survey for this report was conducted in May 2019. The particular focus of the period under review was the 2019 general elections, which were held in February and March 2019.

Key messages

  • In Bayelsa State, most respondents thought the security situation in their state had worsened over the last six months; in Rivers, most thought it had worsened or remained the same; while, in Delta State, the majority thought it had improved or remained the same.
  • In Rivers State, as in Bayelsa State, the period covered saw gang-related killing and kidnapping. Some believe this has become the norm—indeed, cult groups remain the biggest security threat based on our findings in previous surveys. This indicates the continued widespread concern about cultism in the Niger Delta.
  • Surveyed citizens continue to view creation of employment opportunities as the top priority for improving peace and security in the region, reflecting a belief that this will lower crime rates.
  • Survey respondents were asked about their involvement in the 2019 general election. 58% said they voted (although other figures indicate that, overall, Rivers State saw a significantly lower turnout of voters in 2019 compared to 2015). Reasons given for not voting included fear of, or actual, violence on election days, intimidation of voters by the military, and election irregularities. Some respondents criticised the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in supervising elections in the Niger Delta. They also raised concerns about vote-buying, a well documented problem.
  • Overall, most respondents rated the quality of the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections and the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections as poor. This included Rivers State, which experienced widespread challenges with violence and heavy military intervention, leading to the postponement of the elections in the state.

This report is part of a series

Published: 10.02.2020

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