Saturday 13 October 2018


Photo L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa & Dr. Marc-Antoine Perouse de Montclos, Founder NigeriaWatch/Global Fellow, Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)

On the 12th of October, 2018, CDD hosted Dr. Marc-Antoine Perouse de Montclos's presentation of the findings of research titled: '10 myths about violence in Nigeria'. The public presentation of the findings was in Abuja and I was the discussant at the event. Marc-Antoine is the Founder of Nigeria Watch; Senior Researcher, Institute de recherche pour de developpment (IRD), Paris & Global Fellow, Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO). Marc-Antoine is the coordinator of the research project, housed by Research in Africa (IFRA), Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan (UI). There are at least 11 other contributors to the project, who are mostly postgraduate students of UI.

The methodology used entails a database which indexes/codes fatal incidents on a daily basis since June 1, 2006. The uniqueness of the study lies in the fact that it is the first attempt at an objective assessment of the many myths about violence in Nigeria from a scientific point of view. It is a collective effort, starting with a 10-day Masterclass organised by IFRA-Nigeria in December 2017. Further details about the methodology can be retrieved from

The findings are as follows:

1) Nigeria is more and more dangerous.
*No. Fatal violence has declined since 2015.

2) Economic recession leads to grater violence.
*No. Recession often leads to social apathy while development can trigger social tensions.

3) Oil production is a major cause of fatal violence.
*Not necessarily. Oil distribution (downstream sector) is more fatal than the production (upstream).

4) Nigeria is most dangerous for foreigners.
*No. More Nigerians are killed than foreigners. More Africa foreigners are killed than whites or those from Western nations. The killed foreign blacks are not noticed because they blend into the population.

5) Lagos is the most criminal city in Nigeria.
*No.The research is based on the figure - 10 million inhabitants (2006 census). The Middle-Belt Plateau and Nasarawa are more volatile than Lagos. the north-east is volatile, no thanks to insurgency.

6) Abuja is safe.
*No. There are many more fatal road accidents in Abuja than in any other city in Nigeria!

7) There are more crime incidents at Christmas.
*No. There are no cycles in fatal crime incidents.

8) Sharia Law helps in fighting crime.
*No. There is no discernible effect of Sharia Law on fatal crime incidents.

9) Religious violence is a major issue.
*No. Most incidents of violence labelled 'religious' are indeed not religious. They are usually violence as a result of politics, economic issues, farmer-herder clashes, communal clashes, etc.

10) Ritual killings are on the rise during elections.
*No. This perception may be due to the fact that the electorate do not trust politicians and therefore label them ritualists without scientific evidence.

The following is my critique of some of the findings of the research:

1) The sources of data should be expanded beyond newspapers. A lot of in-depth research is going on in many reputable NGOs like CDD, SFCG, CLEEN Foundation, PSN, NNNGO, etc.

2) The ownership of each of the Media Houses whose data are used for the research could taint the authenticity of the figures sourced since he who pays the piper dictates the tune. It may be useful to use 'averages' for each fatal incident of violence.

3) I do not agree hook line and sinker with the 'fact' that Nigeria is 'less' dangerous. It depends on which type of fatal casualties we are considering - farmer-herder crises, road accidents, insurgency, etc.

4) I still believe Abuja is relatively safe in-spite of the fact that there are more fatal accidents in the city. At least because of perimeter fencing and the fact that the seat of the Federal Government is in Abuja citizens can sleep with both eyes closed in the city, unlike in other states. As regards fatal road accidents, make sure your kids and wards go to good driving schools before entrusting cars to them. Be careful which public transport you patronise, etc.

5) Sometimes, there could be more crime at Christmas time if individual criminally minded individuals wish to 'catch up with the Jonses'.

6) The findings could be translated into Pidgin and some major Nigerian languages to take the discourse on this long held myths to the grassroots.

The research findings point to the fact that we should not swallow everything we are told hook line and sinker without subjecting same to scientific investigation. Kudos to the research team for reminding us about the importance of critical thinking backed by scientific analysis.

See for example:

28th December, 2018

*10 conflicts to watch in 2019

Sunday 7 October 2018


The Peace & Security Network (PSN), a network of over 550 members across the geo-political zones in Nigeria, held a meeting (in collaboration with the Fund for Peace - FFP) under its 'Confab Series' on the 27th of September, 2018 in Abuja. I am a valuable member of PSN. The high point of the meeting was the presentation of a research report by the FFP on 'Preventing Election Violence (PEV) in Nigeria'. Patricia Taft of FFP presented the report.

The following are some of the highlights:

*Election Violence (EV) does not occur in a vacuum. It always has a political, economic and social context.
*A three-pronged approach was adopted for the research:
-Collation of historical data
-Quantitative analysis
-Qualitative analysis
*There are 3 main contextual issues in 100 years of political and election violence in Nigeria:
-Sectarian polarisation/Colonialism
-Crisis of legitimacy
-Cycles of economic distress & rising rates of inequality
*Hot spots (2009-2015). The findings are:
-Hot spots tend to change from one election cycle to the other.
-Local level contests, especially Governorship elections are more violent than national level elections.
-Types of violence over a 6 year period: Orchestrated vs Spontaneous violence. PIND Security Maps/Location of insecurity actors/Social Network Analysis were utilised.

There are 3 types of organisations in Nigeria during EV:

*Communicators e.g. 'Get your PVC'.
*EV Prevention e.g. Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa's Non-Violence in Elections Advocacy Group (NViEAG). See for example:
*Conveners e.g.Conveners have viable platforms that could bring actors together. Conveners have trusted 'safe spaces' e.g. PSN, PIND, Mercy Corps, Abdulsalami Abubakar Peace Committee, etc. See for example:

The following were the recommendations for PEV:

1) Start earlier and stick around longer. EW and ER matter!
2) Make better use of reliable data.
3) More focus should be on Gubernatorial and Local level elections than on Presidential elections.
4) More attention should be paid to Conveners.

Chris Kwaja then gave a Risk Assessment of EV, looking at the peace and security landscape towards the 2019 elections. The focus was on Adamawa, Ekiti, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos & the FCT. The following are the findings:

1) The narrative of insecurity is changing with the intensity of the Farmer-Herder crisis, the Niger Delta, insurgency, etc.
2) Disappointment associated with state-citizen relationship.
3) Increase in the level of civic consciousness vis-a-vis INEC. The Electoral body should constantly demonstrate capacity to conduct credible elections.
4) Intra-Party conflict now deeper than Inter-Party conflict!
5) Diminished north-south divide.
6) Growing significance of social media. To what end - positive or negative?
7) Growing prominence of Local Government elections. Many of the grievances at the local level transform to the national level! SIECs are far from independent.

The following are the recommendations:

1) Re-think creating Election Offenses Commission (EOS).
2) There should be early recruitment and training of INEC ad hoc staff.
3) Improve election security administration. There should be an inter-agency consultative forum on election issues convened by INEC.
4) Internal Party Democracy is important in Political Parties.
5) Hate speech is not equivalent to free speech. However, human rights should not be curtailed under the guise of eliminating hate speech

With this and similar discourse on methods of PEV towards the 2019 elections, we hope for peace...

Related Links

*The quest for credible LG elections in Nigeria


On the 4th of October 2018, The Nextier Security Dialogue Series in collaboration with the Yar'Adua Foundation held a dialogue that examined the 'Depoliticisation of the conflict/relations between farmers and herders' while 'Re-thinking the economic models' that could improve relations. It was made abundantly clear at the outset that the dialogue was to seek solutions to the challenge at hand. Therefore 'emotional outbursts' were unwelcome. It was Patrick Okigbo who set the pace with the ground rules.

Then came the fascinating 'Mentimeter (MM) Survey', which is a free audience response system that allows the use of mobile phones or tablets to vote on any question specified. This improves the meeting between a presenter and an audience. Amara Nwankpa, Director, Public Policy Initiative, Yar'Adua Foundation conducted the survey with questions like: 'What is the major cause of tension between farmers and herders?'. The overwhelming response to this question (by the audience) was 'conflict'. Another question: Private Ranches or Government Ranches? The majority voted for Private Ranches since herding is a private business! Here is the link for the use of the MM - (code for the event: 91 17 21).

The answers from the audience, as projected on the screen, set the pace for the rest of the meeting. Prof. Oshita Oshita, Technical Committee on Farmer-Herder Conflict presented a paper on the work of his committee, where various options like private ranches and government-owned ranches were discussed. Dr. Chris Kwaja, Senior Lecturer/Researcher, Centre for Peace & Security Studies, Modibbo Adamawa University of Technology, Yola prefers the term: Farmer-Herder 'relations' to 'conflict'. The discussants - Olubukola Ademola-Adelehin (Senior Programme & Policy Analyst, SFCG/EVC), Dr. Saleh Momale (Pastoral Resolve - PARE) and Edward Ujege (President General, Mdzough U Tiv) were on the same page as regards solution to the problem viz; government should put in place measures for assuaging the devastating effects of climate change while ensuring that healthy farmer-herder relations are sustained.

I, Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, in my capacity as a Conflict Transformation Expert and Member, Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations (FFARN) of Search for Common Ground (SFCG) commented that modalities for mitigating the Farmer-Herder crisis, which has claimed so many lives should be made a major campaign issue for anyone who wishes to become President of Nigeria come 2019. I also said we need to interrogate who exactly the 'new herders' are, who now kill and maim with careless abandon. Are they really the same ones who have lived in peace with sedentary farmers for decades? See for example -

Another commentator was Khalli Mohammed Bello, President, Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers' Association of Nigeria (KACRAN) who alluded to the fact that herders are willing to settle down if they are in settlements where they can feed their cattle and water is also readily available. Oliver Hout (EU Delegation to Nigeria & ECOWAS) did a comparative analysis of how the farmer-herder crisis was solved elsewhere. He said the EU was ready to support Nigeria in the quest for an amicable solution to the problem, but the Federal Government of Nigeria should also do her bit.

The consensus at the parley was that the Farmer-Herder issue is a conflict over diminishing natural  resources - land and water which has been infiltrated and complicated by politics, ethnicity, religion, etc. These 'external factors have rendered the conflict intractable with negative consequences for the sanctity of human life while 'conflict merchants', who do not want the conflict to end are smiling to the bank! We need to go back to the good old days when farmers and herders lived together harmoniously. The quest for this desired state of tranquility continues with the promise by the organisers for follow up meetings...

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Saturday 6 October 2018


Between the 26th and 27th of September, 2018, the coalition of women politicians, scholars and activists was born at the conference convened by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on its role in enhancing women's participation in the electoral process. The conference was supported by the EU. Some papers were presented:

*INEC's role in women's participation in the electoral process.
*Theoretical and practical perspectives of women's role in the electoral process.
*Enhancing opportunities for women and PWDs in Political Parties.
*The role of civil society and the media in enhancing women's participation in politics.
*Emerging trends in women's participation in politics.
*Comparative analysis of women's participation with other countries.
*Strengthening synergy among politicians, scholars and activists on enhancing women's participation in the electoral process: A programme of action.
*Prospects and challenges of young female entrants and PWDs in the electoral process.

Some of the participants are:

*Sen. Suleiman Nazif - Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC
*Hon Aishatu Jibril Dukku - Chair, House Committee on Electoral & Political Party Affairs
*Ms. Comfort Lamtey - UN Women Country Representative for Nigeria & ECOWAS
*Monica Frassoni - ECES President
*Shalva Kiphidza - Country Director, IFES
*Prof. Bola Udegbe - Director, International Programmes & Professor of Psychology, UI
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert, Abuja
*Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine - National Commissioner, INEC
*Prof. Yinka Omoregbe - Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Edo State
*Dr. Amina Salihu - Snr. Programme Officer, McArthur Foundation
*Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola - National Commissioner, INEC
*Barr. Ebere Ifendu - President, Women In Politics Forum (WIPF)
*Ms. Julie Sanda - Senior Research Fellow, Nigeria Defense College (NDC), Abuja
*Patience Dickson - Advocacy for Women with Disability
*Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim - Senior Fellow, Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD)
*Dr. Abiola Akiyode - Executive Director, WARDC
*Barr. May Agbamuche Mbu - National Commissioner, INEC
*Dr. Irene Pogoson - Department of Political Science, UI
*Aye Georgina Dakpokpo - National Chairman, Young Democratic Party (YDP)
*Cynthia Mbamalu - YIAGA
*Dr. Asmau Maikudi - REC, INEC, Zamfara State
*Prof. Remi Sonaiya - Professor of French & Applied Linguistics/Former Presidential Candidate, KOWA Party
*Ms. Ekaette Umoh - President, JONAPWD
*Abiodun Essiet - Young female politician

Some of the observations & recommendations are:

1) A coalition of politicians, scholars and activists with the aim of enhancing women's participation in politics should be formed.
2) More policy makers should be invited to subsequent meetings.
3) The 4 Ps that keep women down are: Politics, Patriarchy, Power & Poverty.
4) There should be gender-sensitive election reporting. Female politicians should be adequately reported in both the traditional and social media. Note the 'Code of Conduct for the Media in Elections' - Sec 1: Equitable access to the media; Sec 21.5: No hate speech & adherence to professionalism.
5) There should be safe spaces for women in politics, some form of quota system because the playing field is not level and is skewed against women.
6) Vulnerable sub-populations like women, PWDs, the aged, etc should be included in the electoral process. Impairment is not equivalent to disability. Disability is a societal construct. See UN Convention (Art 29) on the rights of  PWDs. Only 2% of PWDs have formal education.
7) Young women in politics should be encouraged. The role mentoring plays is key.
8) More male champions are needed: 'He for She'.
9) Gender stereotypes should be eliminated from curricula.
10) INEC's Gender Desk should continually monitor the civic space for women's participaton in politics.

The proposed action plan entails the definite steps to be taken to actualise the above aims of the new coalition...

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