Monday, 14 December 2015

Security Mapping: Guide To Threats, Crime And Terrorism Hotbeds In Nigeria (Part 1) (Updated)

Aim: This project is designed to map or collate salient risks, threats, safety concerns, atrocious crimes, terrorism or violence extremism hotspots representative of Nigeria’s cities and 36 states of the country.  This research became exigent given the paucity of up-to-date official crime survey and statistics in Nigeria.

This project is not exhaustive but a work-in-progress that will hopefully dovetail into employing crime mapping technologies such as GIS (Geographic Information System) amongst others to map violent crime, extremism in Nigeria. Ultimately this research will aid designation and proactive prevention of criminal activities or conflicts, crime analysis and criminal profiling, risk assessment, early warning disaster reduction system (EWS), emergency planning, peacebuilding, criminal justice and law enforcement, election security planning and monitoring, travel security planning and destination intelligence for individuals, local and foreign organizations. 

 
Appeal:
 
This writer is passionate about this and similar projects and will welcome an opportunity to interface, partner with individuals, organizations interested in such endeavors. Since this research is public interest-oriented, this writer proposes that we crowdsource, harvest and assemble critical information to this effect. Please feel free to get in touch and chip in nuggets of information that may have been unwittingly omitted or to point out corrections. 

Caveat:
Writer appreciates the complexity and dynamic nature of security threats and safety. The crime scene or abode of today’s security threat may/may not vary tomorrow. This project is done with the best of intentions; is borne out of author’s passion, altruistic service to humanity, enhancing security and safety of lives, properties in the interest of National Security thus should not be construed as an attempt to stereotype or portray any section of Nigeria in bad light. 

Methodology:

The 36 States in Nigeria are grouped into Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, in no particular order: South-East, South-West, South-South, North-East, North-Central and North-West. Security threats, crime characteristic of each of the geopolitical zones will be summarized before discussing specific threats emanating from each of the states. This write up is primarily synthesized from open-source intelligence (OSINT) - information collated from reported cases of such incidents publicly available on electronic and online platforms. In addition to open-source information and reliable (HUMINT) sources across the length and breathe of Nigeria, selected information herein stem from author’s (in)direct observation, experience and investigations having traversed Nigeria and pretty conversant with events, goings-on in many parts of the country.

Introduction:

Ramifications of insecurity - crime, terrorism, violent extremism, conflicts and other criminal tendencies, are global problems and not the exclusive preserve of any continent, country or city. The magnitude varies but every country and clime grapples with its own fair share of insecurity or security challenges hence nowhere in the world is a utopian safe haven. There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is been stifled by vestiges of insecurity, instability – insurgency, militancy and threats of secession, violent extremism, wanton kidnappings, armed robberies, ritual killings, amongst others. While the North-East and North-West Nigeria are particularly hit by Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism, the North-Central Nigeria is characterized with violent ethnic violence and South-South, South-East and South-West Nigeria are at the receiving end of kidnappers and other criminal activities.  To reconcile the fact that violent crime is a global phenomenon, in the United Kingdom it is public knowledge that the Meridian Square (London), King Street (Nottingham), Moss Side (Manchester), The Bullring (Birmingham City Center), Oxford Street (London), amongst others, are popular crime hotspots. Just lately, a Nigerian doctor, one Carolyn Ekong was stabbed to death in Greenwich, London. In the United States, data released by the FBI ranks Detroit (violent crime rate of 2,072 per 100,000 and murder rate of 45/100,000) as the ‘Most Dangerous City’ for the second year in a row. Oakland (California) with a violent crime rate of 1,077/100,000 people and murder rate of 22/100,000 people, takes the number two slot as the second ‘Most Dangerous City’ in the United States. Aside from victims of terrorism, it is on record that, ‘’more people have died from guns (casualty: 1,515,863) in the United states since 1968 than from ALL the wars (casualty: 1,396,733) in American history’’.

Please Make Travel Warnings Evenhanded!

Recurring insecurity, instability in Nigeria entails many Western countries routinely issuing travel warnings to its citizens travelling to Nigeria. In the second half of 2015, the troika - United States, United Kingdom and Canada warned its citizens that Nigeria is not yet safe. United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), followed up with a sequel in its website updated 3rd October 2015, advising UK citizens against all travel to: Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano city riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States and within 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State. The FCO advises against all but essential travel to: Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Kogi States, within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi States, Jos City in Plateau State, Riyom and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau, Abia States. These trite travel warnings cast an impression that the entire Nigerian landscape is insecure and crime infested. Granted it is crucial to be abreast of potential risks prevalent in a clime so as to take proactive steps to forestall such. A penchant for unspecific, blanket and speculative travel warning is in bad taste, betrays fairness.  By the way, given that statistics of victims of gun violence in the United States since 1968 stands at a staggering 1,515,863, why are no travel warnings issued to prospective visitors to the United States? Now that home grown lone wolf terrorists pose a serious threat and lately attacked soft targets in France killing hundreds of people, perhaps in addition to terror alerts, travel warnings to Europe, France should suffice as well? 

Discussion:

Data from the third edition of Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2015 report collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) says Boko Haram overtook ISIS as the world’s deadliest terrorist organization. While Boko Haram was responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, ISIS is believed to have killed about 6,073 people in the same period. Not to be outdone, the Global Terrorism Index also reckons that Nigeria’s Fulani Herdsmen are the 4th deadliest terror organization in the world. One of the upshots of this is that Nigeria has one of the highest numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world. The Internal Displaced Persons Monitoring Center (IDMC), an offshoot of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) estimates that the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of the Boko Haram imbroglio stood at 3.3 million while the Nigeria Social Violence Dataset summated by John Hopkins University opines that the Boko Haram bloodletting insurgency, communal clashes and other forms of violence in Nigeria may have claimed about 23,888 lives between 2009 and 2014. 

Without much ado, one of the veritable and critical threats to Nigeria’s national unity is its porous borders, proliferation of arms. According to Nigeria’s Task Force on Illegal Importation of Firearms and Small Weapons, Nigeria has over 6,000 illegal borders. This singular factor aided the Niger-Delta militants, Boko Haram amongst others in amassing its arsenals.
In addition to terrorism and insurgency, kidnapping has assumed a dangerous dimension in Nigeria. While Mexico ranked 1st, Nigeria took the 5th position in a global abduction ranking. For a blow-by-blow account of the causes, hotbeds and dynamics of kidnappings in Nigeria, you may have to refer to my prelude to the current essay titled: ‘’Nigeria’s Thriving ‘Kidnapping Enterprise’; How To Arrest The Scourge’’. The current treatise encompasses information on religious, ethnic, economic, political, health and environmental factors that impinges on security and safety. In passing, extra-judicial killings by Nigerian security agencies is also distressing. Nigeria’s erstwhile Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, reportedly accused the Nigeria Police Force of being responsible for not less than 7, 108 deaths in the last four years as at December 2012. The AGF reeled out the statistics of the unlawful killings at the Dialogue on Torture, Extra-judicial Killings and National Security organized by the Nigerian Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in Abuja. He accused the police of relying on Police Force Order 237 to commit extra-judicial killings, and noted that out of the 7,108 killed, 2,500 were detainees. Also worthy of note is that Nigeria rates high in poor road accidents which accounts for one of the highest causes of violent deaths in the country. Nigeria’s former minister of health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu was quoted as saying that Nigeria has the second highest road traffic accident fatalities among 193 countries in the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) data tallies with the foregoing as its recent report on road traffic deaths in selected African countries says Nigeria accounts for the highest fatalities with 33.7 percent per 100,000 population every year. According to the WHO, Nigeria recorded 5,279 deaths from road crashes in 2010 and between January and June, in the following year, 2,218 lives were lost in 2,234 accidents, while 3,000 persons died in road accidents between January and October 2012. The Lagos/Benin highway and the Zariaga end of the Abuja-Okene highway in Kogi State are amongst the most dangerous highways in Nigeria.

Remote, Immediate Cause of Insecurity, Instability in Nigeria 

Google, read my essay: ‘’The Remote and Immediate Causes of Crimes, Instability, Insecurity and Terrorism in Nigeria’’ to appreciate dynamics and factors responsible perennial security challenges in Nigeria. Play the ostrich as much as we want, it is apparent that fifty five years after independence from Britain, the centrifugal forces at play in Nigeria habitually offsets the centripetal forces. A spin-off of the aforementioned is the unparalleled insecurity and instability bedeviling Nigeria. For instance the unbridled brinkmanship preparatory to the 2015 general elections was tantamount to a country on the brink of war. And there’s no guarantee that 2019 elections will not witness similar frenzy. The MASSOB (Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra) led by Chief Ralf Uwazuruike and the new gadfly kid on the block, IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra), led by Nnamdi Kanu are clamouring for a Biafran nation for the Igbos and so on and so forth. Current events in South Sudan suggest that Balkanizing Nigeria may not be the panacea. It is ones considered opinion that sincere political restructuring (a weak center, fiscal federalism amongst others), will immensely calm frayed nerves and tame recurring tensions, agitations and political instability. Ever wonder why after 300 years of a political marriage, quasi-independence and devolution of powers involving Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Scots are clamouring for full independence. A peaceful referendum was put forward in this regard which Scottish nationalists narrowly lost. That is the beauty of democracy. It is idiotic to expect sanity, peace and security to prevail in a clime where injustice, greed, nepotism, reciprocal mistrust/hatred between the various ethnic groups, entrenched corruption permeates the fundamental fabrics of the society. Sorry for the slight digression; it was necessary to reconcile the remote and interwoven political, ethnic and religious fault lines inherent in Nigeria with the current insecurity and instability. Now to the nitty-gritty of this essay.

Below is a guide to crime incidents, violent extremism, flashpoints or threat hotspots representative of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones and states:
1.     South-West Nigeria consists of six states: Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Lagos and Ondo. Crime and Security threats representative of South West Nigeria include: high rate of ritual killing, kidnapping, carjacking, rape incidents, political/election violence, advance fee fraud or 419, proliferation of illegal drugs, traffic gridlock/robberies especially in Lagos.
a.     Lagos State – Street cultism, gangsterism is a major problem in Lagos. Punch Newspaper reported that Lagos cult gangs killed 80 in six months (January-June 2015). Most of the murders took place in Ikorodu, Mushin, Somolu, Onipanu, Bariga, Ketu and Igando axis. Another source of concern in Lagos is sporadic skirmishes by Area boys/NURTW especially within Mushin, Oshodi, and Mile-2 axis. There are also reported cases of ritual killings in Lagos, the most infamous been the Clifford Orji and his accomplice Tahiru cannibalism and human-spare-parts-seller saga. Clifford Orji was caught near Toyota bus stop, Oshodi-Isolo expressway. Rape statistics in Lagos state recorded 678 rape cases between March 2012 and March 2013. If you are in Lagos, be at alert in these areas: Mushin, the bridge linking Abiola Garden with Otedola Estate, Isheri Olowo-Ira under Bridge, Eko Bridge (traffic robberies). In its 2014 crime and safety report, the U.S. Consulate Regional Security Office tracked 32 kidnappings in Lagos in the first-quarter of 2013, eight of which targeted the expatriate community; several of these kidnappings occurred en route from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport. In March 2013, a British expatriate was kidnapped at night in Victoria Island, Lagos state. Incidents of armed robberies/attacks targeting businesses (lots of bureau de change) operating in the immediate vicinity of Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos. Another security and safety concern in Lagos is the unrelenting traffic gridlock with attendant traffic robberies and the menace of Containers falling off from trucks. The spate of robbery attacks in Lagos state is not abating. On Tuesday October 13th, 2015 armed robbers numbering about forty had a free rein on two new generation banks in 4th Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos and as usual, the security agencies were found wanting. Before then, armed robbers invaded some commercial banks in Ikorodu, Lagos state in broad day light. A New Telegraph newspaper report named Ikorodu as the ‘crime capital’ of Lagos state largely due to the porosity of the waterways which ease of escape criminals. Sometimes in December 2015, residents discovered about 6 bodies of women allegedly murdered by ritualist’s in a canal at Ikorodu. Some of the most notorious areas of Ikorodu include: Isawo, a community renowned for illegal oil bunkering activities and frequent cult gangs. Other flashpoints in Ikorodu are the Abule, Odogunyan, Majidun, Jaiyesimi, Ejina and Ladega axis. Ijede part of Ikorodu is infamous for tales of missing people while Imota, located on the fringes of Ikorodu, is also reputed for its rituals and voodoo. Pipeline vandals reportedly killed seven DSS (State Security Services) personnel in this part of Lagos. Apart from financial crimes and other criminal vices, Lagos is also a hub for illicit drug syndicates. Nigeria’s Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) discovered laboratories producing methamphetamine, a sought after stimulant that goes by different monikers such as: ‘’crystal meth’’, ‘’speed’’, ‘’uppers’’, ‘’meth’’, ‘’crystal meth’’, ‘’chalk’’, ‘’ice’’, ‘’glass’’, and ‘’Christmas tree’’, and ‘’crank’’ around Satellite Town, Monkey Village, Iba area of Lagos; Daily Times Estate; Silver Estate, Isolo, Shapati, area of Lekki and in Nanka, Anambra State’’. The indiscriminate siting of petrol tank farms around Apapa is no doubt a security risk. No wonder Boko Haram allegedly attempted to bomb an oil depot in Apapa sometime in July 2014.

To be continued...

This essay is quite comprehensive hence will be serialized. 

Click on the link below to read the second tranche (Part 2) of the essay:

Security Mapping: Guide To Threats, Crime And Terrorism Hotbeds In Nigeria (Part 2)

 Here is a link for the Part 3 of this piece coveringthe South-South, popularly known as the Niger-Delta – comprising - Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers states; the North-East – comprising - Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states and North-Central - Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau states geopolitical zones of Nigeria.


 

Researched, written by:

© Don Okereke
Follow Don on Twitter: @DonOkereke
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Bio:
Don Okereke is a passionate, innovative, Information Technology, Social Media-Savvy and proven Security Analyst/Consultant, researcher, writer/blogger, and change agent with over 17 years combined Military (Air Force), Private/Industrial Security, entrepreneurial, management skills/experience distilled from Nigeria and the United kingdom. Don loves entrepreneurship and is the Founder/CEO of Forenovate Technologies Limited (RC 755695). His interest and expertise span Security/Safety/ICT/Cultural Awareness Training, Threat/Travel Advisory, Risk Assessments & mitigation, Security survey/mapping, Loss/Fraud Prevention, Due Diligence and Investigations,  Executive/Asset Protection, Business Continuity & Emergency Planning, Background Screening/Vetting,  Competitive Intelligence, Research and Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) Information Retrieval, Countering Violent Extremism Advocacy and Public Speaking, amongst others. Don has featured on conferences/seminars as a Guest Speaker and he is routinely consulted by foreign, local, print/electronic organizations for his expert opinion on issues impinging national, personal security and geopolitics. His passion, knack for writing has seen his articles published on major Nigerian newspapers such The Guardian, The Nation, NewsWatch, Tell Magazine and various reputable local and foreign social media/online platforms. Don’s loves humanity; disappointed with the rampaging insecurity, terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria, he took it upon himself to champion an Advocacy Cause against vestiges of insecurity under the aegis of ‘’Nigerians Unite Against Insecurity and Terrorism’’ and ‘’Say No To Terrorism and Insurgency’’.