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Niger Delta Quarterly Conflict Trends, July to September 2016

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Sustainable peace and security remains a key challenge in the Niger Delta region. Data shows a significantly higher number of conflict incidents and fatalities in 2016 than in 2015. However, shorter term trends do show a slight improvement from Q2 2016 to Q3 (see page 2).

This quarterly tracker looks at the trends and patterns of conflict risk factors and incidents of violence, and their 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 patterns and trends in violence.
Understanding the deeper conflict drivers, implications, and mitigating options requires a robust participatory, qualitative analysis of these trends by local stakeholders in affected communities, including women, traditional authorities, political leaders, youths, private sector actors, and others.

Conflict issues in the Niger Delta include communal tensions, political competition, organized criminality, and resource-based conflicts. Incidents include militancy, piracy, cultism, election violence, communal violence, armed robbery, kidnapping, and land disputes varying at state and Local Government Area (LGA) levels. Data sources include ACLED (www.acleddata.com), Nigeria Watch (www.nigeriawatch.org), NSRP Sources (focused on Violence Against Women and Girls), the IPDU SMS early warning system, and others.

The Niger Delta comprises 185 out of the 774 local government areas and covers 9 out of the 36 states of Nigeria: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo,
Ondo and Rivers. With over 30 million people, according to a 2006 population census, and an estimated population density of 265 people per square kilometer, the region accounts for more than 23 percent of Nigeria’s population. The region is highly heterogeneous with over 40 ethnic groups who speak more than 100 languages and dialects.

Fishing and farming are historically the main occupations in the region. The region contains vast reserves of oil and gas, which play an important role in the Nigerian economy. In spite of these abundant natural resources, the Niger Delta is marked by poverty, economic underdevelopment, inequality, and environmental degradation. Historical tensions and a proliferation of armed groups (militant, criminal, and ethnosectarian) contribute to many of the conflict dynamics described in the following pages.