BY NATE HAKEN*
Imo state has a population of approximately 3.9 million people, according to the 2006 census. The population is predominantly Igbo (98%). The capital city of Owerri is the largest in the state. Imo is made up of 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Imo’s economy mainly consists of exporting natural resources such as palm oil, mahogany, crude oil, and natural gas. Due to the high population density and over-farming, the quality of the soil is reportedly worsening, according to local government reports.
Owelle Rochas Okorocha has been the governor of Imo since May 2011. In 2011, he left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to run for governor with the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) initially declared the election inconclusive due to reports of irregularities but later confirmed Okorocha’s win. After being elected, in a controversial move, Governor Okorocha fired all 27 local government chairmen and replaced them with a transition committee.
Violence per capita in Imo is among the lowest in the region, as is the number of fatalities per capita. Incidences of violence largely occurred in the LGAs surrounding the capital city of Owerri. Between January 2012 and December 2013, incidents reported included criminality, abductions and vigilante/mob justice. There were also a number of fatalities associated with public unrest and reports of ritual killings in the state.
In the first half of 2014, fatalities increased. Owerri Municipal/North/West was the most worsened while Ngor Okpala has improved slightly. Incidents of sexual violence, protests, and shootings and killings due to domestic and criminal violence comprise most of the cases being reported.
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 ACLED, FFP’s UNLocK, the Council on Foreign Relations’ NST, WANEP Nigeria, CSS/ETH Zurich, and Nigeria Watch integrated on the P4P platform.
* Marcela Aguirre also contributed to this report.