World Security Report News2015-05-29 04:27:13

Nigerian security assessment: As the threat from Boko Haram fades, focus will shift to other risks As the threat from Boko Haram fades, focus will shift to other risks, most of all the risk of insurgent violence returning to the Niger Delta after the PDP's defeat and Buhari's anticipated campaign to restore state control In an extraordinary turnaround, a combined military offensive by Nigeria and its neighbours has forced Boko Haram back to strongholds in Borno's Sambisa Forest and on the Cameroonian border. Hundreds of women and children have been released and dozens of towns previously under insurgent control have been reclaimed. Since pledging allegiance to Islamic State in March, jihadist commander Abubakar Shekau has disappeared from public view. The pace of the military gains raises the question why the outgoing PDP government was so slow to halt the advance of the jihadist insurgency. Nevertheless, it poses a welcome development for the incoming APC administration. The victory of Buhari, a former general, and the leadership qualities of respected figures such as Sanusi, who has moved from the central bank to the governorship of Kano, bode well for the North's future. To secure a lasting peace, the central government will need to tie the poorer north into the South's dynamic economic growth through investment in infrastructure and education to address the socio-economic marginalisation that drives recruitment for Boko Haram's lower ranks. Buhari and his ministers will be able to concentrate on other pressing areas, such as building up Nigeria's littleknown counter-radicalisation programme and reforming military procurement, a major avenue for bribery and embezzlement. As such, Buhari's focus may shift to the Niger Delta where crude oil theft, known locally as bunkering, is rampant. According to the most commonly-cited estimate of 100,000 barrels of crude stolen per day, criminal syndicates are earning a figure equivalent to the output of a smaller oil-producing nation. The scale of the theft suggests it can only be taking place with the connivance of opaque combinations of local politicians, security contractors, former insurgents and military personnel. As long as this continues, environmental devastation, economic marginalisation and crime will continue to hold back sustainable development in the Delta. Within the region, a divided and fluid political picture ensures an uncertain outlook. Allegations of ballot-stuffing and intimidation in favour of the PDP show lasting support for the former ruling party, despite major APC gains. Former leaders of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) insurgency had perceived Goodluck Jonathan as the guarantor of the peace agreed in 2009. Some are threatening to resume militancy, while others have conducted attacks over security contracts as piracy continues. If the APC does not renew costly amnesty payments for MEND's former militants, it will add to the already-high risk of criminal violence, including kidnappings and pipeline bombings. Buhari's administration will be required to build on its alliances with local power-brokers. The role here of outgoing Rivers governor and APC founding member Rotimi Amaechi is to be critical. One of the most powerful non-state figures in the region is former MEND "general" Government Ekpemupolo, widely known as Tompolo. In 2012, Tompolo reportedly bought a fleet of decommissioned gunboats from Norwegian vendors to fulfil a pipeline security contract for his company, Global West Vessel Service. Media reports say the sale occurred through a public private partnership arrangement in conjunction with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), using a UK shell company to circumvent European defence export restrictions. This coming together of former militants, security forces and business interests in the Delta poses the APC leadership difficult questions about the state's monopoly over the use of force. The role of Tompolo and others like him signifies a new and complex arena for the APC's plan to extend state remit to the long-neglected Delta without setting off violence. Nigeria's security sector has developed a reputation for impunity, as typified by armed guards forcing their way through endemic urban traffic. Training personnel to operate based on professional standards of service will help, but a measured and consensual approach to restoring accountability will serve best to build security from the bottom up. Source: G4S Risk Consulting For further G4S Risk Consulting analysis and advice, please contact riskconsulting@rm.g4s.com

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