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CRIME, CURATED OSINT, INTELLIGENCE, Nigeria, Reports, SECURITY THREATS

UNMASKING THE COMPLEXITIES OF BANK ROBBERIES IN NIGERIA: TRENDS, CHALLENGES, AND SECURITY MEASURES

Introduction In recent years, bank robberies have emerged as a persistent security concern in Nigeria, leaving behind a trail of substantial financial losses, loss of lives, and enduring trauma in the affected communities. The landscape of bank robberies in Nigeria has undergone a notable transformation. Initially, these events were typified by armed criminals boldly infiltrating banks in broad daylight, relying on sheer force to intimidate bank personnel and patrons, and departing with substantial sums of money. On October 20, Otukpo, a town in Benue State, bore witness to a daring bank robbery. This audacious act targeted four banks within the town, sending shockwaves throughout the community. The armed robbers entered these banking institutions, brandishing firearms that struck fear into the hearts of all present. As the robbers began discharging their weapons, shattering glass, and sowing chaos, a state of panic ensued, prompting people, both bank clients and staff, to seek refuge. Robbers stormed four commercial banks killing many in Otukpo Benue State. Image source: Premium Times Trends in Nigeria The years spanning from 2020 to 2023 exposed a disconcerting pattern of criminal activities associated with bank robberies in Nigeria. During this timeframe, several distinctive trends emerged, offering insights into the changing landscape of these incidents: Selective Targets: Commercial banks located in urban and semi-urban areas became the prime focus of these criminal activities. The rationale behind this was the potential for more substantial financial gains, making these institutions attractive targets. Violence Escalation: Bank robbery incidents frequently escalated into violent confrontations. Perpetrators employed a combination of force and intimidation to achieve their objectives, leading to unfortunate casualties among police personnel and innocent civilians. Heightened Sophistication: Criminals began employing increasingly sophisticated tactics in their endeavours. This involved measures like disabling surveillance systems to avoid detection and arrest, further complicating law enforcement efforts. Collaborative Criminal Networks: A noticeable development was the emergence of criminal networks and collaborations. This made it more challenging for law enforcement agencies to combat these crimes, as criminals shared information, tactics, and resources, effectively complicating the security landscape. Nationwide Impact: Bank robberies were not restricted to a specific locality but rather had a nationwide footprint. States in north-central, south-west, and south-south Nigeria have experienced a notable number of incidents over the years. Prosecution Predicaments: Successful prosecution of suspects remained a significant challenge. Issues related to evidence collection, witness protection, and the legal process collectively hampered efforts in this regard. Challenges Faced in Navigating the Complex Landscape The issue of bank robberies in Nigeria is further compounded by several critical challenges. Among them, a prominent concern is the inadequate investment in security infrastructure and personnel training. Many banks rely on antiquated security systems that are ill-prepared to combat the ever-evolving tactics employed by contemporary criminals. Additionally, the limited collaboration between security agencies and financial institutions impedes the seamless exchange of crucial intelligence and information necessary for proactive prevention. Ineffective law enforcement capabilities present yet another formidable hurdle. The culprits often evade justice due to resource constraints, a lack of training, and a shortage of investigative expertise within Nigerian law enforcement agencies. This absence of accountability has, regrettably, emboldened criminals, leading to an unrelenting cycle of rising crime rates. Socio-economic Impacts The impact of bank robberies on Nigerian society runs deep, leaving lasting impressions and significant consequences. It goes beyond the immediate financial losses experienced by the banks. The trauma endured by victims and the wider community is immeasurable. These robberies often lead to casualties, not just among bank employees but also innocent customers and in some cases, bystanders. The violence and fear associated with such encounters create enduring emotional wounds, affecting not only those directly involved but also witnesses who bear witness to these terrifying incidents. This emotional distress can cast a lingering shadow over the affected communities, eroding their sense of safety and well-being. On an economic front, the ramifications are equally substantial. Bank robberies can disrupt local businesses particularly if the targeted banks are central to the financial transactions within the community. Additionally, the expenses incurred in rebuilding and enhancing security measures can place financial burdens on both the banks and the broader society. Mitigation Measures Using a Holistic Security Approach Addressing the intricate challenge of bank robberies in Nigeria necessitates a comprehensive strategy encompassing both preemptive and responsive actions. The following recommendations aim to fortify security: Modernized Security Infrastructure: A foremost consideration is the imperative need for Nigerian banks to allocate resources towards enhancing their security infrastructure. This involves adopting state-of-the-art surveillance, access control, and alarm systems capable of effectively countering contemporary criminal strategies. Training and Awareness: A robust training regimen for bank personnel should be an ongoing commitment aimed at augmenting their capacity to identify and respond to potential threats. Simultaneously, empowering customers through education can foster increased vigilance, reinforcing the security fabric. Strengthened Collaborative Frameworks: Enhanced cooperation between banks, law enforcement agencies, and security firms is pivotal. Establishing an efficient platform for information exchange can expedite intelligence dissemination, resulting in more prompt and targeted threat responses. Legal Revisions: Advocating for stricter penalties concerning bank robbery and cybercrime is a critical measure. The augmentation of the legal framework and the expeditious prosecution of culprits can serve as potent deterrents. Community Participation: Actively involving local communities in the battle against bank robberies has proven to be exceptionally effective. Initiatives such as community policing, neighbourhood watch programmes, and public awareness campaigns all contribute to a reduction in incidents. Cybersecurity Vigilance: Given the growing role of cyberattacks in the realm of bank robberies, financial institutions should allocate resources to implement robust cybersecurity measures. The employment of cybersecurity experts to safeguard digital assets is paramount. Conclusion The surge in bank robbery incidents within Nigeria from 2020 to 2023 serves as a compelling reminder of the pressing need for comprehensive security reforms. The evolving patterns, characterized by an uptick in occurrences, heightened tactical ingenuity, and a wider geographical reach, present a formidable challenge. Yet, the existing hurdles, which include outdated security infrastructure and the inadequacy of law enforcement capabilities, only

CORRUPTION, CRIME, Nigeria, Reports

ILLEGAL OIL REFINING IN NIGERIA

INTRODUCTION Crude oil, one of the main sources of energy supply worldwide, was discovered in Nigeria in 1956. The first commercial oil well was drilled in Oloibiri, a town located in Bayelsa state, in the Niger Delta.  The country as of today has a total of 10 leading oil-producing states across the six geopolitical zones. Owing to the fast-rising growth in the oil sector, there have been irregularities in its production and like every facet of a country’s economy, exploitation has taken the form of illegal oil refineries predominantly in the Niger Delta. CONTEXT Illegal oil refineries commonly referred to as bunkering in Nigeria encompass all acts involving oil theft, including diversion and smuggling of oil and unauthorised loading of ships. A typical process of accessing the oil involves puncturing an existing oil pipeline at night and establishing a tapping point from which operations are done. The effects of bunkering have led to several risks ranging from economic, political, and environmental due to oil spillage and explosions to security risks ranging from armed robbery and civil unrest owing to clashes between indigenes and illegal operators. Additionally, no fewer than 285 persons have lost their lives to explosions from illegal refineries and tanker explosions from January 2021 to date. On October 3 at least 37 people were burnt to death after an explosion in an illegal oil refinery in iIbas Community, Emuoha Local Government Area of River State. Although popular opinion attributes the causes of illegal refineries to poverty and low living standards, it is largely carried out by militants in the operating areas. HIGHLIGHTS ON SECURITY OPERATIONS Security threats posed by the operation of illegal refineries cannot be overemphasized as they leave irreversible consequences in the affected areas. In a bid to regulate oil production in the country and to eradicate illegal activities, Government Security Forces (GSF) have sprung into action to cripple these operations through raids and swoops. Reports reveal that cumulatively from 2015 to 2023, at least 5,840 illegal refining sites were deactivated by security forces. Recently, Troops of the Nigerian Army destroyed an illegal oil refinery in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State on August 23, 8 active ovens used for illegal refining of stolen crude oil, and 14 storage reservoirs containing stolen crude oil estimated at 200, 000 litres and 90, 000 litres of locally refined Automotive Gas Oil were destroyed during the operation. In September, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) reported that troops of Operation Delta Safe, in 2 weeks, had uncovered and destroyed 89 illegal refining sites in the Niger Delta region. 21 dugout pits, 56 boats, 138 storage tanks, 235 cooking ovens, six pumping machines, one outboard engine, and two speedboats were discovered and destroyed while about 1.2 litres of stolen crude oil, 452,910 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil and 22,650 litres of Premium Motor Spirit were recovered from the operations. CONCLUSION The downside of illegal refinery operations, beyond the obvious environmental risks which are irredeemable, is the security threats they pose in the communities where these operations are done. These are but not limited to recurrent clashes by opposing communities encountering pollution, raids by security forces rendering the community in a state of unrest and the influx of militants in the affected communities.

CRIME, Nigeria, Reports, SECURITY THREATS

NIGERIA’S KIDNAP CRISIS: A PERSISTENT CHALLENGE

Introduction Kidnapping has become a pervasive and alarming issue in Nigeria, posing a significant threat to both national security and the safety of its citizens. Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, has long grappled with security challenges. While insurgency by groups like Boko Haram and communal conflicts have been significant concerns, the surge in kidnapping incidents has added a new layer of complexity to the nation’s security woes. Kidnapping has grown into a multi-faceted problem, affecting all regions of the country to varying degrees. Motivations Behind Kidnappings Kidnapping incidents in Nigeria are driven by a mix of economic, political, and social factors. This includes economic desperation and financial gain. High unemployment rates, poverty, and income inequality have pushed individuals towards criminal activities like kidnapping as a means of survival. Furthermore, criminal gangs and militias resort to kidnapping for ransom as a lucrative source of income. Victims, often targeted based on perceived affluence, are held captive until their families pay a substantial ransom. Weak Law Enforcement and Judicial System A lack of effective law enforcement and corruption within the security scene and judicial system has allowed kidnapping to thrive. Kidnappers often operate with impunity, and cases are frequently mishandled or go uninvestigated. Also, the lack of cooperation between security bodies has made sharing of intelligence difficult. The trend of Kidnap incidents from April to September 2023 (Q2 -Q3) Data Source: Bulwark Intelligence Database. The above line chart shows an estimated number of kidnapped victims from March – September of Q2 and Q3 of 2023. Analysis shows the North Central region recorded the highest number of kidnap victims in April while the North West region recorded the highest number of kidnapped victims from May through September. In Quarter 2 at least 528 people were kidnapped and an estimated 396 people were kidnapped in Quarter 3. However, the last Quarter is likely to see a rise in kidnap cases. This may not be unrelated to the upcoming festive period where crime rates are likely to increase. It should be noted that due to the problem of underreporting, some incidents may have been missed hence, the data used for the visualization and the statistics is an estimated number. Noteworthy kidnap incidents that occurred across the country in September 2023 19 people including a Seminarian were kidnapped by armed men in Sabon Kawu, Bwari Area Council, Abuja on 8 September. An estimated 50 locals were kidnapped by bandits who ambushed vehicles en route to Bagega village along the Anka-Baggega Road near Darita Forest, Anka LGA, Zamfartravelersn 9 September. 30 people were reportedly kidnapped by bandits who attacked farmland in Giyawa, Goronyo LGA, Sokoto State on 14 September. Approximately 14 travellers were kidnapped on 15 September by suspected Indigenous People of Biafra-Eastern Security Network (IPOB-ESN) members along Enugu-Nsukka Road, Opi, Nsukka LGA, Enugu State. On 22 September, more than 24 Federal University students were kidnapped by bandits from the Local campus accommodation, located in Sabon Gida village, Gusau LGA, Zamfara State. On 29 September, 25 people were kidnapped between Ipele junction and Ifon in the Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State. Conclusion Kidnapping in Nigeria represents a complex security challenge driven by a combination of economic, social, and political factors. Tackling this issue requires a multifaceted approach, including law enforcement reforms, economic empowerment, public awareness campaigns, and regional cooperation. With concerted efforts and a commitment to addressing the root causes, Nigeria can hope to reduce the incidence of kidnapping and enhance its security landscape.  

CRIME, CURATED OSINT, Ghana, INTELLIGENCE, Reports, SECURITY THREATS

ATTACKS ON BULLION VANS: A SECURITY ISSUE AFFECTING CASH TRANSPORTATION IN GHANA

Overview Last week, reports of a brazen daylight armed robbery attack on a bullion van at Ablekuma Fanmilk, a suburb of Accra in the Greater Accra region went viral across Ghana. The seemingly coordinated attack raises concerns about the security of transporting valuable assets- particularly for financial institutions, prioritizing the safety of police officers and the unregulated use of motorbikes which are often used to carry out these attacks. The Attack On the afternoon of 22nd June 2023, the bullion van made a stop at the Star Oil fuel station in Ablekuma to, supposedly collect cash. A gang of four robbers, riding motorcycles, intercepted the vehicle as it parked killing a police officer seated in the front passenger seat. A review of the CCTV footage, which has been circulating online, showed the attackers making away with two bags, presumably contained with money. In the aftermath of the incident, videos circulated widely on social media, capturing bystanders frantically assisting the injured officer out of the car however, he succumbed to his injuries. Responding to this distressing event, the Ghana Police Service declared a manhunt to apprehend the individuals responsible. Similar Robbery Attacks Over the past few years, there have been a string of robbery attacks on bullion vans across the country with a percentage of them resulting in the death or injury of police personnel. 4 attacks were recorded in the first half of 2021 alone. Here is a timeline of some incidents that garnered much media attention between 2021-2022.  January 2021- Robbers attacked a bullion van at Fomena in the Ashanti Region and carted away with GH¢500,000. The suspects killed a policeman during the attack. March 2021- Robbers attacked and assaulted the driver of a bullion van and stole money on Spintex Road in Accra. June 2021- Robbers opened fire on a bullion van at Adedenkpo, James Town, killing a police officer on escort duties and making away with an unspecified amount of money. A female bystander was also killed by a stray bullet, while the driver of the vehicle sustained injuries. June 2021- A bullion van was attacked at the Okyereko and Dominase section of the Winneba-Accra highway. Aside from the driver, the van was occupied by two policemen with an amount of ¢550,000 on board. February 2022- Police personnel foiled an attempted bullion van robbery at Industrial Area in Accra. Measures In light of the recent attack, the Association of Bullion Operators Ghana (ABOG) announced that effective 1st July 2023, there will be a complete cessation of the use of non-armoured vehicles for cash transportation purposes. But this isn’t the first time measures were taken in response to an such incident. Following the attack in June 2021, the Ghana Police Service expressed apprehension regarding the safety of its personnel. The concern stemmed from using inadequate bullion vans by banks to transport funds between locations. Mr James Oppong Boanuh, the then Inspector General of Police (IGP), conveyed a strong warning, indicating the potential withdrawal of police escorts assigned to bullion vans if the banks failed to procure armoured bullion vans by the end of June 2021.  Recommendations These incidents show the difficulties that organizations and security companies face while transporting valuable items. These incidents often have severe repercussions ranging from financial loss to reputational harm and psychological distress to victims of the attacks. These implications show the need for proactive security measures and adaptive security techniques.   Route Planning and Risk Assessments: To reduce predictability, companies and security firms must regularly analyze and adjust transportation routes. A thorough risk assessment of criminal hotspots and potential ambush points should be examined.   Reinforced Physical Security: All bullion vehicles must be outfitted with cutting-edge security technologies such as surveillance cameras, panic buttons, and bulletproofing. Unauthorized access to assets can be avoided by using secure containers with many layers of security.   Trained Personnel: Security personnel should undergo extensive training programs involving defensive driving, situational awareness, and effective response to potential threats. Regular drills and simulations can help them become more prepared.   Liaising with Law Enforcement: Collaboration is essential among businesses and law enforcement agencies. Regular information sharing, combined training exercises, and intelligence-driven operations can all help to strengthen overall security. Conclusion In the financial sector, cash handling and transportation, commonly referred to as cash-in-transit (CIT), are crucial hence the recent robbery attack, as well as the other attacks that preceded it, highlights the risks involved in transporting valuable assets. It’s imperative for financial institutions and security companies to take a holistic approach to address these issues through route planning, reinforcing physical security measures, personnel training and liaising with law enforcement.  The incident also serves as a reminder for the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities. 

CRIME, CURATED OSINT, INTELLIGENCE, Nigeria, Reports, SECURITY THREATS, Travel

ATTACK ON UNITED STATES EMBASSY STAFF IN ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA.

  Overview On Tuesday, May 16, an attack took place in the Amiyi/Eke Ochuche communities of Ogbaru Local Government Area, Anambra State, resulting in the death of four staff members of the United States Embassy in Nigeria. The attackers also set the bodies of the victims and their vehicles ablaze before fleeing the scene. The incident occurred during a medical outreach program, where residents were waiting to receive medical treatment from UNICEF officials when their vehicle was ambushed. Current Situation Attack Details: The assailants targeted the convoy of U.S. Consulate staff along the Atani-Osamale road. Two Police Mobile Force operatives and two staff members of the Consulate were killed in the attack. The attackers abducted two police operatives and the driver of the second vehicle.  Rescue/Recovery Operation: Joint security forces have launched a rescue/recovery operation in Ogbaru LGA to locate the perpetrators and apprehend them. The operation aims to ensure the safe recovery of any abducted individuals and restore security in the area. Security Forecast/Outlook Potential for Escalation: The attack on the United States Embassy staff highlights the potential for further acts of violence by extremist groups or criminal elements seeking to disrupt diplomatic activities and undermine security in the region. There is a possibility of retaliation or subsequent attacks targeting similar vulnerable targets. Response and Recommendations Heightened Security Measures: Embassies and Humanitarian outfits should review and enhance security protocols for its staff and facilities in Nigeria, considering the current threat landscape. This includes conducting regular risk assessments, implementing robust access control measures, and strengthening security training and awareness programs. Communication and Coordination: Improved communication and coordination between diplomatic missions, Nigerian authorities, and local security forces are essential to prevent such attacks and enhance security for all personnel involved in humanitarian missions. Situational Awareness: Diplomatic and Humanitarian Staff members should be reminded to maintain a high level of situational awareness, closely monitoring their surroundings and reporting any suspicious activities or individuals to local authorities and diplomatic or organization security department. Travel Security: Adequate travel security measures should be implemented, including pre-travel risk assessments, appropriate security escorts or support, and adherence to established travel protocols, especially in high-risk areas. Incident Response and Crisis Management: The Embassy should ensure that staff members are well-informed about incident response and crisis management procedures. Regular drills and training sessions can enhance their readiness to handle potential security incidents effectively. Conclusion The attack on United States Embassy staff in Anambra State highlights the importance of maintaining robust security measures and close collaboration with Nigerian authorities. The Embassy should continue working closely with local law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent future incidents. Implementing the recommended security measures will help mitigate risks, safeguard the well-being of Embassy staff, and ensure the success of any humanitarian mission in Nigeria. The incident serves as a reminder for the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities. Heightened public awareness and engagement can act as a force multiplier in maintaining security and detecting potential threats.

CORRUPTION, CRIME, Ghana, INTELLIGENCE, Reports, SECURITY THREATS

GALAMSEY: UNDERSTANDING GHANA’S ILLEGAL MINING MENACE

Gold contributes significantly to the economy as Ghana is one the largest producers of gold in Africa. Alternatively, small-scale mining is permitted by Ghana laws and serves as a source of income for many low-income households. Albeit illegal mining remains a national security issue. Illegal gold mining operations known as ‘Galamsey’ have been largely criticised by civil society groups and ordinary citizens across Ghana, particularly for their negative environmental impacts. The term ‘Galamsey’ is derived from the phrase “gather and sell” referring to the traditional method of mining for gold made by the first foreign big-scale miners The substances retrieved from the mines, which are believed to contain gold ore are often washed into water bodies, primarily rivers, thereby contaminating them. Mercury has also been identified as the main chemical used for gold extraction polluting the soil and water bodies such as the Birim, Ankobra, Pra, Densu, Offin and Bia. Exposure to Mercury is very harmful, especially to children, teenagers and pregnant women who often work and handle the liquid metal at galamsey sites. Additionally, Mercury poisoning affects people near these sites through drinking water and fish consumption leaving them with neurological disorders. The above factors threaten the constant water supply to communities in the Ashanti, Western, Eastern, Central regions and other parts of the country. The Ghana Water Company Ltd warned that it could shut down operations in areas affected by galamsey soon due to the high costs of treating the polluted water. The rising cost of processing potable water could also be passed down to consumers, through increased utility tariffs, although a large percentage of Ghanaians are already bearing the brunt of current harsh economic conditions.  Foreigners Over the years, there has been a surge in unregulated mining and this has been largely attributed to foreigners, mainly Chinese nationals. The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) indicated that over 1,600 Chinse nationals engaged in illegal mining were apprehended and repatriated between 2009 and August 2022. The rearrest of Aisha Huang, who has been labelled as a ‘galamsey queen, in September 2022 saw massive public outcry. There have also been several claims of some government officials, traditional authorities and politicians being complicit in this menace by shielding foreign and local miners in return for private payments. Ghanaians, both at home and abroad, have also shown their displeasure with this menace through protests and online campaigns while calling for a total ban on illegal mining activities.  Reports have also shown that increased armed robberies, violence, and other criminal activities are prevalent in some of these communities. In October 2022, two people were injured in a clash between illegal miners and a security team manning the concession of Anglogold Ashanti in the Obuasi East district. Recently, an individual was allegedly murdered by Chinese miners at Dompim in the Western Region working in a forest close to the Bonsa River. An increase in criminality linked to galamsey has also been captured in the Kwaebiberem Municipality in the Eastern Region. There are also some concerns that these security issues would create unstable environments, paving the way for violent extremism.  Government Policies Against Illegal Mining Activities In 2017, the current government initially declared ‘war’ on these illegal activities by implementing several interventions to fight illegal mining including setting up the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to coordinate efforts aimed at sanitising the small-scale mining (SSM) sector however this was dissolved in 2021. Millions of Ghana cedis from both previous and incumbent administrations have been poured into various task forces and initiatives to curb these issues however these issues prevail. The government also adopted a military-style approach comprising the military and police, to curb this menace. A military contingent labelled Operation Vanguard, was deployed to mining communities to clamp down on illegal mining activities. Subsequently, the Operation Halt I and Operation Halt II teams were also deployed to focus on fighting galamsey in water bodies. In a 3-week operation carried out between 11-31 October 2022, the Operation Halt II team deployed by the Ghana Armed Forces seized 30, destroyed 4 and immobilised 4 excavators used for illegal mining in areas including Kade, Ofoase, Oda, Pra Anom along the banks of Rivers Birim, Pra, Yawkrom, Agroyesum and Takorase along the River Offin.  These approaches have failed to address the key fundamental issues in local communities, such as poor economic conditions and high youth unemployment rates. Notwithstanding, these activities contribute significantly to the rural economies of the communities through job creation which they are practised due to the lack of alternative jobs.   Disclaimer: Images are for descriptive purposes only. We do not own the rights to the images used in this article. Images are from Google.com.

CRIME, CURATED OSINT, ECONOMIC INTELLIGENCE, Maritime Security, Nigeria, Reports

UNRAVELING OIL THEFT AND ITS IMPACT ON THE NATION’S ECONOMY

In light of the recent spike in oil losses, the Nigerian economy is currently in desperate need of resuscitation and restructuring. Reports indicate that between 300,000 and 400,000 barrels of oil are lost each year due to illicit theft and the government’s incapacity to control the operations of local criminal syndicates and separatists militants operating within the Niger Delta. However, analysis and claims by the Chief of Naval Staff contradicts the impractical evaluation owing to the distinction between the strategic terms which stipulates oil losses happen when there is known output, particularly during shut-ins and forced circumstances, preventing the Federal Government from earning the revenue it should while oil theft involves siphoning crude oil from vandalized pipes into ships by criminals involved in oil bunkering. The case of oil theft and oil losses seeks to unveil the disparities in the oil producing process as it remains unrealistic for the transportation of the unspecified amount of stolen crude oil without being noticed owing to the significant presence of security forces tasked with monitoring the Maritime border areas. An alarming example is the arrest of oil thieves on a  3-million-barrel-capacity MV HEROIC IDUN, a supertanker which  fled from Nigeria’s AKPO oilfield when its activities were uncovered by operatives of the Nigerian Navy. This indicated renewed collaboration among Gulf of Guinea countries, it also unveiled an interwoven criminal web with various culprits which is what we find at the end of the short stick of a $300 million loss within if the ship was not discovered. From irregularities within the chain of command and documentation procedure to the unspecified figures in ascertaining the exact loss, the oil theft and losses the nation suffers is a tragedy in itself. In hindsight, the allegation made by the President of Nigeria following an interview with Bloomberg on  21 June 2022 which linked the vandalism and Oil theft to the activities of IPOB and its affiliation with international criminal bodies which has led to an upsurge in insecurity within the Oil producing states may seem far fetched and overestimated. This evaluation does not vindicate IPOB activities which has impacted the state of security within the Southern part of the country, however, the consistent losses reveals a more intricate and complex deficiency in the governing bodies, high level security operatives and structures which have enabled a lax and easy access for collaborations with local and international criminal syndicates within the Niger Delta. An unintentional disparity exists between the actions of separatist groups that dates back to the founding of the country and the struggle for control of the resources in some regions of Nigeria. The belief that the distribution of resources does not match the distribution of revenue within the nation’s budgeting system is one of the foundation for the emergence of separatist groups from an economic standpoint.This has proven problematic because Nigeria depends largely on the extraction of oil, which is the main natural resource present in the country’s south and southeast, notably the oil producing states which consist; Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers state. Nigeria produces 8% of OPEC’s total daily production and 3% of the world’s volume, making it the world’s 12th largest petroleum producer on the global market (NNPC, 2000). However, the country suffers the greatest loss in petroleum resources as a result of oil theft and oil losses within the Niger Delta region of the nation. According to estimates, 15% of Nigeria’s daily 2.4 million barrels of oil are stolen. Oil theft, or “bunkering,” happens majorly within the Niger Delta area, however, unaccountability of security forces tasked with protecting the nations reserves and the upsurges in oil theft in recent times goes beyond monetary value and the loss in revenue as another troubling issue remains the health risks to residents. Residents and local governing structures fail to understand that accountability cuts across all the regulatory bodies, as more areas are at risk of the health hazard attributed to pollution from soot and the destruction of the ecosystem which has a long lasting impact. This remains a case of encouraging the small fires and watching the house burn while blaming the flames and not taking actions, at this rate, the responsibility cuts across every actor on the board. Furthermore, it is agonizing to reveal that in the era of advanced technology which Saudi Arabia has employed in regulating and monitoring crude oil production, our process remains rudimentary for a country where 95% of export revenues is dependent on oil production and the fourth-lowest percentage of all government revenue are derived from oil. In Mexico, which produces a comparable amount of oil, just 5,000 to 10,000 barrels are stolen daily. Given this development, it would be reasonable to infer that the fear of Oil theft would be the main factor affecting the nation’s economy and security; nevertheless, this assumption is invalidated by the loopholes within the oil producing sector highlighting the dismissal of the President’s allegations by IPOB members, claiming an underlying scheme involving high profile individuals and governing bodies in the saga of the ‘’Mysterious case of the stolen oil reserves’’. The attention has shifted away from the root of the unrest connected to the nation’s riches due to the agitations from concerned citizens. Although militancy has significantly impacted the South South and South Eastern parts of the country, it is within the best interest for the nation at large if the focus is placed on the right questions which may include: Who are the major high level players involved in the oil theft cartel? However, the separatists ideology, which is ingrained in the mind of some minorities and the demand for “resource control” by local activists, has stirred significant tension overtime, It is undeniable that the insecurity in the southern region has an impact on the Niger Delta which is the most noteworthy oil supply source. From the militancy threat to unbalanced records and crooked officials, there has been a virtual progression from where the indication

CRIME, CURATED OSINT, Nigeria, Reports

DEALING WITH NIGERIA’S ALARMING DEATHS AND THE WAY FORWARD: REINVESTING IN HUMAN LIFE

The gross disregard for human life has become quite common in Nigeria, owing to the actions and inactions of state and non-state actors, which has created avenues for direct and indirect harm on the general population, such as: Through the unchecked proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) which has created avenues for lethal armed assaults by a slew of actors. Gross mistreatment of civilians by security officers which has created mush mistrust and disdain for security institutions. The impunity of extra-judicial mobs demonstrates the judicial institutions’ lack of significance and efficacy. Growing sleaze among the populace, given the lack of leadership in the country, and inattention by institutions in charge of defending national values’ and providing reorientation for the public, against a slew of other social vices. Nigeria is recognised as the “Giant of Africa” due to various factors such as its territory, large population and resources, among others; yet it is rarely observed or likely overlooked that Nigeria as a giant, has the greatest fatality toll in West Africa, an undisputed status since 2010. While Nigeria’s fatality statistics continue to fluctuate, there has been a significant increase in fatality tolls since 2010. The statistics soared in 2015 with a sharp suppression between 2016 and 2019 with a sudden spike observed in 2018. However, since 2020, we have seen a steady rise in fatality tolls. Using Tableau’s exponential smoothing model, we can observe a predicted increase in fatality toll trend in the coming months having considered seasonal trends from the previous year with a 99 per cent prediction interval, the expected fatality toll for this year is 13,455. Given the current trend of violent crimes in the country, and the activities likely to occur during the election season. This projection verdict stands as a percentage increase/change of 34.307/34.3% that was obtained while comparing cumulative fatalities in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 (2,670) with that of 2022 (3,586). The first quarter of 2022 has the second-highest mortality rate (12,624) after the first quarter of 2015, which has the highest fatality toll recorded in the last 12 years. One of the contributing factors to the toll is insecurity in the form of low-intensity conflict predominant in three Northern regions namely the; The Northeast, Northwest, and Central. Due the high levels of armed conflict (sectarian, communal, ethnic), organised crime (abductions, armed robbery, banditry), and terrorism. Insecurity consisting of a plethora of actors remains a leading factor in high fatality rates, albeit Governments intensified kinetic and non-kinetic approaches towards tracking, arresting, and prosecuting criminal actors which has remained quite effective at curtailing and deterring prevalent cases of armed conflict, organised crime, and terrorism, however, the impact on the civilian populations remains very severe. So far, 45,671 civilian fatalities (according to https://acleddata.com) have been recorded since 2010 till the third quarter of 2022, which is 51.63% of total fatalities. SALW proliferation continues to be an enabler for armed conflict, organised crime, and terrorism, resulting in the displacement of local native communities, particularly in the North with the ripple effect having a devastating impact on human security, sabotaging non-kinetic efforts, frustrating security efforts, and encouraging political instability. As a result, without arms control, there can be no stable or post-conflict environment, just the preponderance of active and latent conflict environments across the country. Deborah Samuel, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, Nigeria’s Northwest region, was lynched and immolated on 12 May 2022, by an enraged mixed mob of men and women at the institution’s security post (cell) after being accused of blasphemy against an Islamic Prophet by her Muslim colleagues. Following the arrest of the key suspects in the crime, followers of the perpetrators blocked a major highway in the city centre on 14 May 2022 to urge their release, stating that their actions were not criminal but a religious responsibility as Muslims. In the evening of 14 May, 2022, only two days after the Sokoto tragedy, young men identified as musicians were beaten to pup along Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1. One victim was later immolated, while the other is alleged to be in critical condition at an unidentified hospital in Lagos. According to local sources, an argument had ensued during negotiation between the victim and his motorcycle rider (okada), which drew the attention of a gang of riders which deteriorated to the point whereby the victim was physically assaulted and clothes torn apart, leaving him naked, while sticks and stones were hauled at him. In the viral footage, we could see a large crowd of spectators watching helplessly as this brutal act unfolded, but most concerning was the absence of intervention by Government Security Forces despite being strategically situated near the attack scene. The latest occurrence of lynching assaults is one of many instances of extrajudicial killing mobs and atrocities that indicate not just people’s contempt for established authority, but also groups’ impunity for lawbreaking. Mob violence has grown common in Nigeria and it is widely seen as the most expedient manner of obtaining justice when a crime or misdeed has been perpetrated or allegedly committed. The cause of these dark ages actions is a top-to-bottom defiance of the Nigerian judicial system, which has frequently been met with defiance of the rule of law by the country’s elite, particularly the common collusion with security operatives or courts to free suspects or arrest persons of interest by private citizens. Unchecked killings have prompted many to question the government at the state and federal levels for allowing such incidents to occur in the first place, as well as the hesitant approach taken to curbing these excesses of the breakdown of law and order, particularly at the state level which is undoubtedly likely to worsen unless both State and Federal authorities work in harmony. On the flip side, it is a pipe dream given the prioritisation of political interests over many national issues, for example, in Imo State, the All-Progressive Congress (APC) under the State Governor has repeatedly

CRIME, CURATED OSINT, INTELLIGENCE, Reports, SECURITY THREATS

#ENDSARS: TIMELINE OF EVENTS

According to reports, nationwide protests began on October 8, 2020, calling on the authorities to abolish an abusive police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). In response, the police shot tear gas, water cannons, and live rounds at protesters, According to Amnesty International more than 10 people were killed and hundreds wounded. Armed thugs have also disrupted protests and attacked protesters. The protests were sparked by a video that surfaced online on October 3, allegedly showing a SARS officer shooting a young man in Delta state. These generated an outcry on social media, especially twitter, where the hashtag #EndSARS began trending globally, and led to protest across Nigeria and in different countries around the world. Civil Unrest #ENDSARS 5th Oct: Some youths took to the streets of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to protest against alleged extortion, harassment, brutality, killing perpetrated by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The protest comes on the heels of an order by the Inspector General of Police banning personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) from carrying out routine patrols, stop and search duties, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks. 6th Oct: Ongoing #EndSarsNow protest along Sapele road, Benin City. Caution is highly advised along the route. 8th Oct: Some youths in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, also staged a #ENDSARS protest rally, demanding an end to police brutality, harassment and alleged killings. 8th Oct: A policeman was killed following the protest that rocked Otovwodo axis of Ughelli North Lga of Delta State in the wake of the #ENDSARS Protest. The incident also led to the destruction of several cars as commuters along the East-West road axis of Otovwodo junction scampered for safety following the series of gunshots that ensued while the melee lasted. 8th Oct: The #ENDSARZ demonstration took place along Okigwe road in Owerri, Imo state. The protest experienced strange exchanges between the police and the protesters. 8th Oct: For several hours in Benin City, vehicular and human movement was stalled following protests by hundreds of youth against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force. The protesters which included members of the National Association of Edo Students, and a coalition of civil society organizations, marched along major streets in the Edo State capital. 8th Oct: Some men of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, dispersed youths protesting against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and unit of the Force. The youths protesting at Lekki tollgate, opposite Oriental Hotels in Lagos State were calling for the scrap of SARS due to their brutality and alleged unconstitutional activities. Police officers who were on ground dispersed the protesters while seizing their placards and assaulting some of them. 8th Oct: Igbo-Olomu in Ikorodu area of Lagos was in chaos following brutal clash between Hausa and Yoruba dwellers in the area. Source said the clash resulted as a Hausa okada rider rode a Yoruba passenger to the area. The Yoruba man refused to pay the fare which resulted in altercation, which further degenerated into ethnic clash. 8th Oct: No fewer than hundred houses have been reportedly razed in Amata-Akpoha community, Afikpo North Lga of Ebonyi State. This is following a land dispute that ensued between Amata-Akpoha and the neighboring Ezeke-Amasiri community. Source said that eight persons have so far sustained serious injuries, while one death was recorded in the said disputes that have lasted over forty years. 9th Oct: Men of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, tear gassed peaceful protesters against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in Abuja. Some of the protesters alleged that the police officers dispersed them while fully armed. 9th Oct: Hundreds of citizens converged at the Lagos State Government Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja. They also stormed the entrance of the Governor’s Office and the House of Assembly. The demonstrations were triggered by the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). 9th Oct: Youths in Osun State joined the nationwide protest against the brutality and extra-judicial killing of young Nigerians by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the police in some major towns across the state. The protesters in Osogbo who were on motorcycles rode around the state capital, carrying placards. 9th Oct: Hundreds of Women in Lagos have joined the End SARS protest. They marched around the Agege area of the state. They carried placards and chanted songs during the procession demanding the proscription of the notorious Police unit. 9th Oct: Youths invaded a police station in Imoru, Ijebu-Ode area of Ogun State vandalizing and looting the police station. They were seen destroying the patrol vehicle, as window glasses and doors were broken. Source said they took advantage of the #ENDSARS protest. 9th Oct: There were sporadic gunshots at the 2020 Owu festival as youths protested calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) the protesters barricaded the entrance of the festival, seeking an audience with former president Olusegun Obasanjo. 10 Oct: Hundreds of youths in Awka, Anambra State capital, joined the #ENDSARS protest that has rocked the country. The youth who bore various placards, matched around major roads in the state to press home their demand for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) department of the Nigerian Police. 10th Oct: Youths in their hundreds flooded major streets in Abeokuta, the Ogun State to demand for an end to the operations of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria police in the country. The peaceful protest later went out of hand when the protesters vandalized the Ogun Deputy Governor vehicle and also injured a police officer. 10th Oct: A bystander was shot and killed in Ogbomoso in Oyo State, by the policemen dispersing #EndSARS protesters. 10th Oct: 3 houses were set ablaze by protesting youths at Evwreni community in Ughelli Lga of Delta State following the unconfirmed death of the community chairman who was said to have died in the custody of the Inspector General of Police, IGP monitoring team at Abuja. 10th Oct: A yet-to-be identified youth in Oyo State protesting against the activities

CRIME

BEST WAY TO SOLVE CRIME IN NIGERIA? OFFER MONEY.

Kidnapping, a deeply-rooted criminal and militant phenomenon throughout Nigeria remains one of Nigeria’s biggest challenges till date.  In 2016, Nigeria was ranked as the 1st in Africa and the 4th highest in global crime top ten countries for kidnap. Kidnap-for-ransom in Nigeria gained international notoriety in the mid-2000s, when militant groups in the Niger delta started using kidnap-for-ransom as part of a violent campaign against the oil and gas industry. Kidnap cases often go unreported, as many Nigerians would rather cooperate and pay the required ransom to the kidnappers because of their lack of confidence in the security agencies. Government Security Forces response to the scourge of kidnapping has been average at best. However, when it comes to highly publicized cases such as kidnap of children from schools, or kidnap of prominent individuals in the society, the security agencies respond promptly and efficiently. KIDNAPPERS MODE OF OPERATION On the 10th of June, 2017, the Nigerian Police arrested the leader of a notorious criminal gang in Nigeria, Evans. For seven years, he had been on the most wanted criminal list in three different states- Edo, Anambra and Lagos state. For years, he operated his syndicate under the radar; security agents had no idea where he lived or what he looked like. The most recent arrest of this notorious Kidnap gang leader in Nigeria, revealed that kidnapping operations in Nigeria are thoroughly thought out; the tactics used by him made it easy for them to evade arrest for over ten years, some of these tactics involved Using over 7 different encrypted phones to communicate with his gang members Tracking mechanism to monitor each gang member Use of electronic countermeasures to evade police surveillance Use of various vehicle plate numbers Converging at different meeting points to discuss operations and to share ransom proceeds. Different team members to carry out various responsibilities; they never interfaced with each other. Highly trained boots on ground to carry out successful operations. The investigation of Evans syndicate shows that criminals in Nigeria are very well-equipped and their activities have been under-estimated by Law enforcement agencies in Nigeria. Questions abound as to where these criminals acquire their arms and ammunition from. While the open arms market is an option, there is an increasing possibility of rogue security forces conniving with criminals.   BOUNTY HUNTING IS THE SOLUTION TO CATCHING KIDNAPPERS IN NIGERIA Nigerians are motivated to report crime when money is offered as a reward; it is not the best approach but it has proven to be a panacea for corruption and crime in Nigeria. For instance, the whistle blowing policy that was introduced in December 2016 by the Federal government has recovered over N56 Billion Naira in looted funds. Similarly, earlier this year, a bounty of N5 Million Naira was placed on the head of notorious Imo State armed robber and Kidnap-For-Ransom (KFR) kingpin, Henry Chibueze (a.k.a Vampire), who escaped from court in January 2017; the bounty placed on his head eventually led the police to his location. Likewise in the case of the recent arrest of Evan’s and his kidnapping syndicate. Evans’ had been in operation for over a decade and was eventually placed on the wanted list of the Police in Anambra, Edo, Port-Harcourt and Lagos states. For seven years, several attempts to catch this criminal failed; the police had no idea of what he looked like. However, less than a month after Lagos state command announced that a thirty million naira (N 30,000,000) bounty has been placed on his head; he was eventually captured and arrested on Saturday, 10th of June, 2017. CONCLUSION/RECOMMENDATION Kidnapping persists in Nigeria because the root causes are yet to be addressed, especially the obsession of obtaining fast wealth. Other obvious causes that must be addressed are: unemployment, ill-equipped and under-trained security agencies, permeable law enforcement, Judiciary systems. While the apprehension of Evans by the Police Force is commendable, it is important that the government show zero tolerance for criminal activities and ill-gotten wealth, by destroying his properties and enforcing the death penalty. However, as citizens, we also have a large role to play in ensuring that kidnapping in Nigeria is curbed and not wait for rewards to be placed on criminal acts/criminal before we blow the whistle on them. If you see something, say something!  

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