BY PATRICIA TAFT*
The coastal state of Cross River in the southeastern part of Nigeria is home to approximately 2.9 million people (2006 census), predominantly of Efik, Ejagham and Bekwarra background. One of the fastest growing states in Nigeria, Cross River is endowed with vast mineral resources, plentiful arable land, and a growing number of tourist attractions.
Liyel Imoke of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was elected governor of Cross River in August 2008 after his first electoral victory of April 2007 was annulled by an Election Appeal Tribunal. He was re-elected in February 2012.
For years, Cross River was the stage to a heated territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. After a controversial UN-backed ICJ verdict in 2002 and a comprehensive resolution between the two nations in 2006, Abuja began to transfer authority of the peninsula to Yaoundé, and Cameroon eventually took full sovereignty of Bakassi in August 2013.
Violence in Cross River has tended to be episodic, with brief lethal spikes, killing dozens at a time. Since 2010, 74 reported violent incidents led to the deaths of an estimated 274 people, particularly around the capital city of Calabar to the south and in the Yakurr, Ogoja and Abi Local Government areas (LGAs). While the nature of violence in the capital varies, land competition and communal clashes remain primary causes of fatalities in LGAs outside of Calabar according to the data.
This Conflict Bulletin provides a brief snapshot of the trends and patterns of conflict risk factors at the State and LGA levels, drawing on the data available on the P4P Digital Platform for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement (www.p4p-nigerdelta.org). The summaries draw on data collected by FFP’s UNLocK, the Council on Foreign Relations’ NST, WANEP Nigeria, CSS/ETH Zurich, Nigeria Watch, and ACLED integrated on the P4P platform.
*Marcella Aguirre also contributed to this report.