By Ogar Monday
The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), a not-for-profit organization that develops innovative partnerships for peace building and sustainable livelihoods in the Niger Delta has stated, in its quarterly conflict report, released recently that Cross River State has been the most violent State in the region.
The report also stated that Yala Local Government Area has been the most violent LGA in the region during the period under review.
The report reads, “There has been a rise in lethal violence in the Niger Delta since the first quarter of 2017. There was no significant change in the level of violent conflict in Q3 2017, compared to the trend in Q1 and Q2 of the year.
“According to data, while the nature of violence in the region varies, organized criminality, land disputes and communal clashes remain the primary causes of lethal violence during the period.
“The most violent LGA’s during the quarter were Yala (Cross River), Umuahia North (Abia), Emohua (Rivers), Oredo (Edo), Yenagoa (Bayelsa), Port Harcourt (Rivers), Akure South (Ondo), Owerri Municipal (Imo), and Akuku-Toru (Rivers).
“There was a spike in lethal violence in Cross River in Q3 2017. The State was the most violent in the Niger Delta, based on reported fatalities during the quarter. Dozens were killed in communal conflicts over land dispute in the State during the period. Yala LGA had the highest number of reported fatalities for the quarter. During the period, over eighty were reportedly killed in communal conflicts in Yala. Conflict issues were mainly driven by inter-communal tensions over land disputes, and criminality.”
In their rundown of conflicts in the State, the report said, “In July, 84 were reportedly killed during a communal clash over a land dispute between Wanikade and Wanhimen communities in Yala LGA. In August, a primary school teacher was reportedly shot dead during a clash between Bette community in Obudu LGA, Cross River and Tiv communities in Vandeikya LGA, Benue state.
“Separately, tension was reportedly elevated over a land dispute in Biase LGA. Five communities reportedly teamed up and attacked another community over a disputed land.
“Several incidents of criminality were reported in the state during the quarter, particularly in Calabar South LGA. In July, one person was reportedly killed during a clash between a group of militants and soldiers in Calabar South.
“Separately, five robbers were reportedly killed in a gun duel with the police in Calabar South after stealing a man’s money as he stepped out of a bank. In a separate incident, a former staff member of the National Assembly was reportedly shot dead during a gun duel between the police and his kidnappers in Calabar Municipal.
“In another incident, a senior immigration officer was reportedly shot dead by robbers on his way from a night club in Calabar South. In August, a village head was reportedly assassinated in his residence in Bakassi LGA. The victim was a staff of the audit department of the Cross River state Ministry of Finance.
“Separately, an 18-month old girl was reportedly killed for ritualistic purposes in Calabar South. The severed heart of the victim was reportedly found in a church.
“In July, eleven were reportedly killed and several others injured during a fire outbreak in Calabar Municipal. The inferno was allegedly caused by the activities of illegal dealers in petroleum products.
“In August, a suspected cultist was reportedly shot dead by members of a rival cult group in Calabar South. In September, several communities in the state were ravaged by flooding following days of heavy rainfall.
“In Boki LGA, over 12 communities were devastated by floods which destroyed over three thousand farmlands and rendered hundreds of people homeless.”
Explaining the report, the group said, “This quarterly tracker looks at the trends and patterns of conflict risk factors and incidents of violence, and the related pressures on peace and stability in the Niger Delta.
“It is not designed as a conflict analysis, but rather it is intended to update stakeholders on paterns and trends in violence.”