Nigeria Insecurity: Report Says 404 deaths, 363 abductions recorded in November

A leading Nigerian owned Security firm, Beacon Consulting, has in a report published on Thursday, December 9, 2021, said the country had in November 2021 recorded a diverse range of security incidents and a total of 404 fatalities in 28 states across 115 LGAs.

The report which is a maiden publication of a promised monthly edition gave a breakdown of these incidents shows 26% affected the North-West geopolitical region, 20% North Central, 17% South West, 14% each in South-South and South-East and 10% North East.

“These represented a 41% reduction in fatalities and a 38% increase in abduction,” the report said.

The report said “the thematic indications of the incidents that resulted in these fatalities include mostly armed attacks and a continuation of the trend of several non-state actors successfully challenging the states.

In November 2021, Beacon Consulting said they “monitored a “continuation of the Federal and State Governments’ efforts to address the security challenges in Nigeria using mainly security forces operations, as well as attempts to tackle the root causes of insecurity including unemployment, poverty, socio-economic grievances, climate change, drug addiction and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

“We also monitored reactions of organized labour to the decision by the Federal Government to remove petroleum subsidies with the potential for massive social upheaval.

The report said some of the major security trends observed by its officials in November 2021 were:
“The debate on security sector reform triggered by the release of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry report,
“The continuation of security forces operations across the country including a High Court in Abuja declaring bandits activities as terrorism;
The conduct of the off-cycle elections in Anambra state,
A brazen prison break in Jos, Plateau State, North Central Nigeria,
A resumption of gunmen attacks and associated kidnap for ransom along Abuja – Kaduna highway;
A continuation of criminal activities in South-West Nigeria;
A continuation of attacks by non-state actors in most parts of the North where we monitored indicators that they were beginning to establish administrative control;
A rise in violence is associated with political events and politicians.”

“The pertinent issue of the need for police and the wider security sector reform in Nigeria was re-ignited in November 2021 following the partial rejection of a report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI) on Restitution for Victims of SARS, Related Abuses and Other Matters by the Lagos State Government and Federal Government.

“Their partial rejection of the report was hinged majorly on the JPI’s findings relating to the alleged killing of protesters by the military at the Admiralty Toll Gate in Lekki, Lagos on October 20, 2020.
In its report, the Lagos JPI found that 11 persons were killed at the toll gate as a result of gunshots from the soldiers.

“However, the Lagos state white paper on the report found the JPI’s conclusions as being inconsistent and not in agreement with experts’ submissions at the panel’s sittings including that of a coroner, which is cited as stating that only 3 corpses were identified and that of this number, only one had gunshot injuries that may have been associated with the Lekki Toll Gate incident.

The report also mentioned the November 28, 2021, brazen attack on the correctional services centre in Jos, Plateau state.

“According to reports, the attack commenced at about 1720 hours when a black-clad, six-man team in an unmarked van arrived at the location and shot their way through the centre’s gate. The invaders killed a prison assistant superintendent near the gate and gained access to the guards’ gun locker, where they grabbed rifles that they handed to a group of inmates. In the space of a few minutes, at least 260 inmates escaped the centre. The centre had 1,060 inmates, including 560 pre-trial detainees and 500 convicts. The attackers looted the prison’s armoury and shared weapons with inmates who assisted them to fight the security forces that mobilized to prevent their escape. One of the attackers and eight inmates were killed in a gun battle with military and police officers who arrived minutes after the invasion. The correctional service centre is located near police and military formation as well as the state headquarters of the State Security Services. Our database shows that between October 2020 and November 30, 2021, at least 5238 inmates may have escaped from correctional services centres in Nigeria – the government says it had successfully rearrested several. It is assessed as credible that the high incidence of prison breaks in Nigeria is attributable to gaps in physical security and the existence of vulnerabilities in the operating procedures of the correction centres.

NORTH-EAST Conflict

In the North East, armed conflict continued between government security forces, led by Operation Hadin kai, and several non-state actors including the Islamist jihadist groups, the Jamatus Ahlis Sunna lil dawn til wal Jihad (JAS) and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), mostly affecting parts of northern Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. The major trends recorded in November 2021:
The increased interdiction attacks by the security forces with a noticeable improvement in the Nigeria Airforce support and response capabilities, leading to more effective repelling of JAS and ISWAP operatives attacks and destruction of the attack platforms of these non-state actors,
Increase in ISWAP Presence in southern Borno, northern Adamawa and the border areas between Borno and Yobe states,
The use of anti-aircraft weapons, artillery mortar fire and rocket launchers by ISWAP using improvised platforms to effect long-range attacks but with little accuracy in their targeting,
Mass surrender of members of JAS and to a lesser extent that of ISWAP, and Attempts by ISWAP to maintain territorial control include setting up illegal checkpoints on travel routes where they target commuters.

“We recorded an increase in the establishment of illegal checkpoints by suspected ISWAP operatives along major travel routes in Borno State, where they targeted commuters for abduction or extortion or supplies belonging to the government or international organisations. The commuters are targeted based on their faith or affiliation with the government or international organisations. The affected routes included Damboa – Biu road, Maiduguri – Damasak road, Maiduguri – Damaturu road and Maiduguri – Monguno road.
The monitored period saw an increase in ISWAP activities in southern Borno, where it appeared they attempted to strategically establish a presence in Askira Uba and open up a supply channel through northern Adamawa state.

On November 13, 2021, suspected ISWAP operatives attempted to infiltrate Askira Uba using about 13 light trucks mounted with Heavy Machine Guns, at least three Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) with several other operatives on motorcycles. The operatives successfully dislodged the soldiers at a military formation before they looted its armoury and then torched the facility and vehicles. The attackers held the town for about two hours. During this period, they torched some construction equipment and a shop in the vicinity of the Emir’s Palace. While this was happening, another group of operatives ambushed a military reinforcement team from Chibok near ChanChan Bulguman and killed at least 4 soldiers including a high-ranking officer, Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu.
The trend of the mass surrender of JAS and ISWAP operatives continued in the monitored period. In a statement by the Nigerian military, it claimed that as of November 30, 2021, about 18,500 individuals, mostly JAS and ISWAP members and their families, surrendered themselves throughout the Lake Chad Basin and in Cameroon and the Niger Republic as well. The Borno State government insists that the initiative was bolstered by a multi-stakeholder security town-hall meeting, held on August 29, 2021, which reviewed and adopted guidelines to approach the surrender of insurgents. The state government views that the peacebuilding initiative is crucial to its stated objective to shut down all IDP camps before January 2022. There are indications that the State Government plans an advocacy and sensitization campaign to get residents in the state to embrace the peacebuilding initiative and allow the resettlement of repentant JAS and ISWAP, which they currently oppose. It is assessed as credible that there could be a reversal if the government does not address lapses in the current means by which the surrendering terrorists are assembled, evaluated, debriefed and profiled before being allocated for the next stages in the exercise as well as conditions in the holding and deradicalization centres are not improved.

SOUTH-EAST
In the South East, the major developments in the reporting period were a continuation of attacks on security forces formations and personnel, the reactions including a contentious sit at home order over the continued detention and the trial in custody in Abuja of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu and the security forces action against the group and criminal elements in the region. We recorded 36 fatalities and 1 kidnap for ransom incident in the South East region as a result of the ongoing activities of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), farmer versus herder conflict, as well as the security forces operation in the region against the activities of these and other non-state actors.

On Saturday, November 6, 2021, in an off-cycle election, the people of Anambra State, South-East Nigeria, went to the polls to elect a governor. While the election day was peaceful, the pre-election period was characterized by violence, intimidation, and arson resulting in a dismal 11% voter turnout. In addition, the following occurrences were associated with the elections:
Negative mobilization by several political parties and politicians, who used everything from money to ethnicity as well as religion to campaign and influence voters with grave consequences for national unity and security,
Community resistance to the conduct of the election,
Logistical failures that resulted in the late opening of polls in several polling units, and
Disruptions to the process attributed to the failures of the newly introduced Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS).
Citing violence and the threat by non-state actors in some communities which prevented the holding of the election in Ihiala LGA on November 06, 2021, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted a supplementary election there on November 09, 2021.
It is assessed as credible that the commitment of some key statesmen, politicians, the Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) and the National Peace Committee was instrumental to the peaceful conduct of the Anambra elections. To further entrench these gains, we join in calling on INEC to ensure improvement in its election risk management capabilities including having a capable security management structure and monitoring of compliance to the code of conduct of security operatives during elections and that the security agencies are nonpartisan and professional, the strategic deployment of security operatives to flashpoints locations derived through a structured security assessment that will adopt risk mitigation strategies to protect INEC assets, guarantee the safety of voters, polling officials and materials and as a way of enhancing voter turnout. It is also vital that INEC ensures ICCES investigates and prosecutes all security personnel involved in gross misconduct and electoral fraud such as the alleged involvement of police officers in an incident in Orumba North LGA.
Communities responded to the elevated security challenges in the country by evolving self-help initiatives including attempts to institutionalize self-help and protection measures such as paying off the non-state actors or engaging in protests, where they block major travel routes, in a bid to call attention to the deteriorating security situation. All these are leading to a further collapse of social order and the yawning distrust between government and citizens.
Beacon Consulting has assessed as credible that these government efforts that resulted in a reduction in security incidents and fatalities and attempting to reverse the attempts by non-state actors to challenge the supremacy of the use of force by the state through attacks on rural communities, mass abductions and illegal checkpoints on travel routes in the North East, North Central and North West regions and attacks on security forces formations in the South East is not sustainable unless the Federal and State governments collaborate to enhance the administration of criminal justice and in restoring social order by addressing the root causes of these challenges including socio-economic grievances, unemployment and the effects of climate change as well as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Other measures include the need for the Federal and State governments to collaborate in dominating the forested and other ungoverned spaces, which the bandits use as safe havens and to keep their victims.

Beacon Intel’s Resilience and Risk Management Solutions

The Security firm said “The threat factors and the evolving trends in Beacon Intel’s monthly report represent different levels of risks to individuals and corporate organisations as determined by their vulnerabilities – a function of their profiles, exposure and mitigation measures”.

Security Advice For All

Beacon Intel warned that “Individuals and corporate organisations must understand these threats and the risks inherent in them; a necessary prerequisite for adopting the appropriate risk treatment”.

“As security threats are transient, the approach should be dynamic and forward-looking. An intelligence-based security management system is a functional means for individuals and corporate organisations to enhance their resilience and reduce their risks to as low as practically possible.

Having successfully launched its monthly security report Beacon Intel said its outlook for the coming weeks would be based on trends derived from the incident analysis in November 2021.

Kabiru Adamu, CEO Beacon Consulting Nigeria

“The successes being recorded in the ongoing interdiction operations by the Military in North Central and North West Nigeria will lead to further unwarranted one-off bestial attacks against defenceless communities as the bandits become desperate,
Political violence localized to political events and gatherings will continue as preparations continue for off-cycle elections and the party congresses of the ruling party,
Criminal activities including kidnap for ransom, violent and petty crimes as well as home invasions are likely to continue in the short and medium terms due to the deteriorating economic circumstances of the country and rising inflation as preparation for the end of the year festivities intensify.

Beacon Intel, however notes that: “a continuation of non-state actors’ activities challenging the supremacy of the state’s monopoly of force and sustenance of their attacks on communities including kidnap for ransom and raids. This, in turn, will push communities to evolve self-help initiatives including protests, where they block access routes and arm themselves.
The deteriorating security situation will continue to fuel political rancour and the exchange between the ruling party and its members and between it and opposition parties,/Social upheaval especially protests by civil society organisations and political groups hiding behind civil activists will intensify as a major driver of security challenges as the effect of the economic downturn forces government at the Federal and State levels to take measures to manage these impacts.

“In the North East, the non-state actors waging a terror war and the ongoing military operation Hadin Kai will continue the armed conflict. The restructuring and consolidation of ISWAP and its reduced membership will translate into bolder attacks and other activities of the group. This will mean a continuation of armed attacks and counterattacks as well as illegal checkpoints mounted along major travel routes particularly in Borno state but in the border towns of Yobe and Adamawa states.

BEACON Consulting is a Nigerian-owned security consulting company based in Abuja, Nigeria, operating throughout Africa. Beacon Consulting was incorporated in 2013 and has been providing bespoke security advisory services, risk management, and resilience solutions to a range of clients.

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