Bulwark Intelligence




Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country is riddled with an array of economic challenges ranging from fuel scarcity to rising electricity tariffs. These issues not only affect the daily lives of citizens but also have broader implications for social stability and security, particularly regarding criminal activities. Fuel Scarcity One of the most pressing challenges Nigerians are facing is fuel scarcity, which has been recurrent in the country. The shortage of fuel is linked to various factors such as inadequate refining capacity, pipeline vandalism, and inefficiencies in the distribution system. As a result, transportation, businesses, and essential services have been disrupted, leading to frustration and economic losses for both individuals and enterprises. In late April 2024, Nigeria faced fuel scarcity that caused long queues in major cities such as Lagos, Abuja, and Kano. The Nigeria National Petroleum Company urged citizens to avoid panic buying as the scarcity resulted from logistical issues. Despite their claims, fuel prices have significantly increased, with some areas reportedly selling as high as ₦1000/litre. This has caused concern among Nigerians, who are already facing economic challenges. Regarding logistical issues that have further aggravated fuel scarcity, criminal syndicates have been known to vandalize pipelines and steal petroleum products. These activities not only deprive the government of revenue but also contribute to environmental degradation and pose significant safety risks. Electricity Tariff Hikes Another challenge Nigeria is facing is the recent increase in electricity tariffs. On 3rd April 2024, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in electricity tariffs for customers under the Band A category to N225 per kWh, up from N66. The commission stated that customers under the classification are those who receive 20 hours of electricity supply daily. The government implemented this increase to address the long-standing challenges in the power sector, including inadequate infrastructure, low investment, and revenue shortfalls. The move is intended to improve service delivery, encourage investment in the sector and also eliminate the annual electricity subsidies of 1.14 Trillion Naira. This has sparked widespread discontent among consumers, particularly amidst the backdrop of economic hardships. The tariff hike places an additional burden on already struggling households and businesses, further exacerbating poverty and inequality. For many Nigerians, reliable access to electricity remains a distant reality, with power outages being a common occurrence in both urban and rural areas. Public Discontent The frustration and disillusionment stemming from these socio-economic hardships can fuel social unrest and exacerbate existing tensions within communities. On 27th February 2024, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) held protests in Rivers, Bayelsa, Abuja, Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Ondo and several other states over the high cost of living in the country. In March, residents from Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area protested at the Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers State over consistent power outages. The protesters also blocked the route leading to the airport. Precursor for criminal activities The ramifications brought about by fuel scarcity and higher electricity tariffs create a fertile ground for criminal activities to thrive. In such an environment, criminal elements may exploit the vulnerabilities of disenfranchised populations, further destabilizing the social fabric. Unemployed youths may turn to illicit means to sustain themselves, including theft, robbery, and vandalism. Moreover, the lack of affordable and reliable electricity further compounds the challenges businesses face, leading to closures and job losses. This economic downturn can push more individuals towards criminality as they seek alternative sources of income to survive. Conclusion The recent hike in fuel prices and other economic challenges have recently been a major driver of calls for protests and shutdowns by various civil society, workers’ unions, and pressure groups. Unions such as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have given the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) until 12th May 2024 to reverse the electricity tariff or face unprecedented industrial action. Protests would incur the deployment of security forces to locations which may likely lead to clashes between security forces and protesters. Also, criminal gangs may likely use the chaos to carry out crimes without disruptions. To address these issues, approaches including infrastructure investment, policy reforms, and effective law enforcement strategies to combat criminal activities are required. As Nigeria strives towards economic growth and social development, ensuring access to affordable energy and mitigating the impact of fuel scarcity are imperative steps towards fostering stability and security within the nation.



Senegal’s political stability is truly remarkable, considering that it has maintained its independence for 64 years without experiencing a military coup. Of the 54 states in Africa, only Botswana, South Africa, Cape Verde, Malawi, Namibia, Eritrea, and Mauritius have reached this feat. The current president, Macky Sall, announced on February 3, 2024, that elections will be postponed from February 25 to December 15, to ensure an inclusive, transparent, and fair election. Throughout the country’s history, the first and only election postponement occurred in 1966. National Assembly The postponement announcement caused a stir because it was issued a day before the candidate campaigns started, which added to the suspicions of election tampering amidst the ongoing investigation of the Constitutional Council members. Macky Sall attributed the announcement to disputes over the electoral candidates’ list. The National Assembly cast votes on February 5 to postpone the elections. Numerous irregularities related to the electoral procedure initiated a series of mass protests around the nation. Before the voting process began, security personnel withdrew opposition MPs and lawmakers from the premises of the legislative building, which led to multiple altercations between security personnel and opposition supporters. Internet services were also interrupted after the declaration of the voting results mainly to suppress the spread of information among opposition groups to prevent mobilization for possible protests. Mass Unrest and Government’s Response Irregularities associated with the National Assembly voting process triggered several protests across Senegal on February 5 as citizens took to the streets to register their displeasure with the outcome. Vandalism of property and the burning of tyres along main roads in Dakar, Ziguinchor, Saint Louis, Mbour, and Mbacke were the highlighting factors of these protests. Over 100 protesters were arrested by police while the use of tear gas was deployed to disperse crowds in Dakar. Clashes between security personnel and opposition supporters and observers also occurred outside the legislative building at Place Soweto in Dakar. Several opposition activists, lawmakers and members of Parliament were arrested on February 6 in anticipation of further protests in the Capital. 3 lawmakers from the opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi (Liberate the People) were arrested by security forces. At least 25 journalists were also arrested for reporting on protests in an attempt to allegedly intimidate the media. To add more pressure on the government, nationwide strikes by civil society groups were also announced on February 8. 13 of Senegal’s 20 presidential candidates also formed a collective group to file an appeal to the Supreme Court for what they described as a “Constitutional Coup”. Security personnel were deployed to major cities, including Thies in Dakar, Toulba City in Central Senegal, Richard Toll in northern Senegal, and Kolda in the country’s south. Situations however deteriorated when the use of tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets were fired towards large crowds who were burning tires and hurling stones at security forces. On February 10, students of the Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis clashed with security forces leaving one dead and several injured. In remembrance of the student a silent march was held on February 13 by the Aar Sunu Election movement (Let’s Protect our Election) along the Jet d’eau roundabout route – Ecole Normale Superieure in Dakar. Days later, the violent nature of these protests took a turn on February 17 when the Aar Sunu Election (Let’s Protect Our Election) group organized a peaceful protest with authorization from security forces involving several political parties, religious groups and trade unions. Frequent interruptions of mobile internet were experienced across the country to hinder the dissemination of information and interfere with the organisation of opposition groups and their supporters’ participation in protests. Geopolitical Implications In response to heightened tensions in the country, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) urged Senegal’s political leaders to promptly reinstate the country’s electoral timetable in alignment with Senegal’s constitution. Foreign governments such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and France advised their citizens to increase vigilance and anticipate further unrest and road blockages, especially roads leading to the Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS) in Dakar. Notably on February 9, the U.S. Embassy in Senegal issued a warning alert to all U.S. citizens about protest actions in major areas including Colobane, Fass, Medina, and Liberte 6 in Dakar, as well as Thies, Mbour, and Saint Louis. Constitutional Council’s Ruling The Constitutional Council of Senegal, ruled against the postponement of the election on February 15, describing it as unconstitutional. Foreign governments including France and the United States of America have issued statements recognizing the decision of the Constitutional Council and advising all election stakeholders to conduct a timely election in a free and fair manner. President Sall announced his intention to comply with the ruling of the Constitutional Council and his commitment to holding the presidential election as soon as possible. Current Situation On February 22, President Macky Sall announced his intention to step down at the end of his second term, which concludes on April 24, 2024. A two-day political dialogue, which will include civil society groups, political parties and candidates both approved and unapproved by the Constitutional Council, slated to commence, on February 26, aims to assist the government in determining an appropriate election schedule, which will be after the conclusion of his term. As a gesture of goodwill, several opposition MPs, lawmakers and activists who had been detained were subsequently released. However, the main opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko still remains in prison. Civil society groups, emboldened by the first authorized protest since the election postponement announcement, have organized another protest scheduled for February 24, with the objective of speeding up the decision-making process for the new election date. Forecast/Outlook Tensions are expected to ease across Senegal after President Macky Sall accepted the Constitutional Council’s ruling and announced he will step down in the coming months. It is also worth noting that heightened security is expected to persist nationwide in anticipation of unauthorized protests by opposition groups and activists at government facilities and public squares mainly

CURATED OSINT, Nigeria, Reports, security analysis, SECURITY THREATS


Armed robbery is the most predominant violent crime across the country including the South Western part of Nigeria. Ogun State which houses most of the higher institutions in Nigeria, has recorded a high robbery incident rate, precisely in Remo North and Ijebu-Ode Local Government Areas. At least four attacks have been recorded in these locations, a precedent which has triggered protests by some student populace. Students, who reside in hostels distant from the main school campus, with limited access to equipped security personnel have often been primary targets of these attacks in recent times. Factors such as low-level employment rate, socio-economic disparities, drug abuse, and cultism as well as the proliferation of arms, mostly locally made Small Arms Fire (SAFs), have increased the risk of robbery attacks in student communities. In Remo-North for example, students were victims of attacks at least three times between December 2023 and January 2024. MODUS OPERANDI The assailants attack students’ hostels at midnight, mostly between 2300-0200 hrs, to reduce detection of their movements. By breaking down doors or windows, the attackers gain access to their victims’ rooms, scaring them with guns to command cooperation. Reports on open sources have also revealed that those who refuse to cooperate are assaulted and injured, and in extreme situations, killed, as was recorded on 2nd December 2023, in Sapaade, Remo North LGA. NOTABLE ROBBERY ATTACKS Between December 2022 to January 2024, at least twenty incidents of armed robbery were documented in Ogun State, with a high rate of casualty and loss of valuables worth millions of naira during the attacks. On 24 October 2023, armed individuals attacked the female private hostels of the Tai Solarin University of Education in the Ijagun village in the Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of the State and sexually assaulted at least four female students, while valuables including cash, laptops, and phones were stolen. Further information shows that an undisclosed number of students were injured during the assault. On 2nd December 2023, incidents were documented in the Ode-Ipara and Isara communities in the Remo-North Local Government Area of the State. A student was killed, while nine others were wounded after the assailants fired gunshots during the attack. It was stated that this attack occurred four days after students protested recurrent attacks in their community. The school was reportedly closed down for two weeks following the incessant armed robbery attacks on the students. IMPACTS ON STUDENTS Robberies have profound and detrimental effects on students.  Beyond the immediate loss of the student’s valuables, the psychological impact can be severe, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and a sense of vulnerability. The emotional toll may affect academic performance, disrupting focus and concentration. Students may also experience a decline in overall well-being, as feelings of insecurity persist. In some cases, financial strain arises from replacing stolen items, adding additional burdens. GOVERNMENT SECURITY RESPONSE The Public Relations Officer, SP Omolola Odutola, in a statement on 28th November 2023, announced the arrest of three suspected robbers involved in the attacks on the students. In another raid, five suspected robbers were arrested at the Oke Itoku area of Abeokuta. Two stolen vehicles were also recovered from the suspects. He further opined that a proactive operation was conducted based on intelligence, following a security meeting organized by the Commissioner of Police, CP Alamutu Abiodun Mustapha, in response to the shooting incidents at the Gateway Polytechnic. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOL AUTHORITIES Threats in institutions of learning have lingered for years, therefore, it is expedient for schools’ management to collaborate with security operatives to enhance security presence in student residencies. Another recommendation is for schools to establish clear communication channels for students to report any suspicious activities. Addressing the issue involves not only enhancing security measures but also providing adequate support services such as counseling to help students cope with the aftermath of such incidents. SECURITY AWARENESS, CRIME PREVENTION STRATEGIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUDENTS Ensure proper verification of locations before renting an accommodation. Report suspicious movements around the residence to the appropriate authorities. Remain vigilant. Avoid distractions like texting or wearing headphones that can make you less aware of your surroundings. Students are advised to walk in groups especially at night or in unfamiliar areas whenever possible. Don’t leave valuable items, such as laptops, smartphones, or cash, in plain sight. Avoid late-night movement. Exercise caution, and if caught off guard, stay calm and avoid struggling with assailants.     Featured Image Source: CC. TAUSED Website

CURATED OSINT, Nigeria, Reports, security analysis, SECURITY THREATS


Plateau State, over the years, has been a hotspot for ethnic-religious conflicts due to various religious and cultural identities. These conflicts result from societal imbalances between groups like the Berom farming localities and Fulani herders. Territorial possessions in this fertile zone emerged as conflict grounds driving rivalry among locals. Various ethnic groups, consisting of Berom, Fulani, and Hausa largely fraternised under religious groupings majorly Christianity and Islam. Ethno-religious Dynamics The majority of the violence recorded in the state is mostly attributed to either religious or ethnic dimensions and at times a combination of both This includes recurrent attacks between groups leaving hundreds displaced. Conflicts over resources such as land and water fueled by perceptions of marginalization and the quest for power and control have exacerbated these issues. The turning point was the massive violence in the state capital Jos in September 2001 (commonly referred to as the Jos crisis) which claimed around 1,000 lives.  Challenges Associated with the Violence Identifying the perpetrators of the attacks poses one of the most challenging obstacles in addressing the violence. Currently, there are no established groups or militias with a recognized organizational structure. No individual or entity has come forward to openly claim responsibility for the violence. While various organizations representing diverse political, economic, and social interests exist across the state, they do not publicly endorse or advocate violence. The Christmas Eve massacre of 2023 in Bokkos and Mangu attests to the conflict’s enduring brutality. During the attack, more than 160 Villages (44 in Bokkos, 11 in Barkin Ladi and 109 in Mangu LGA respectively) were overrun by unknown attackers, resulting in over 409 houses burnt down, 335 deaths, 171 injured with an estimated 18,275 people fleeing from their homes to seek refuge in other parts of the state and neighbouring environs. Way Forward To tackle the challenges arising from ethnic and religious differences in Plateau State, it is important to adopt a comprehensive approach. This includes facilitating dialogue among diverse groups, promoting mutual respect for different backgrounds, and effectively resolving conflicts. Furthermore, it is crucial to ensure equal opportunities for all citizens, improve governance, and promote inclusive growth. Guidance from religious and community leaders, along with support from advocacy groups committed to the well-being of the community, plays a pivotal role in establishing trust, promoting tolerance, and cultivating a peaceful atmosphere. Joint initiatives that bring together government agencies and civil society organizations are essential for creating a setting conducive to open dialogue, mutual understanding, and reconciliation.

CURATED OSINT, Maritime Security, Nigeria, Reports, SECURITY THREATS


Introduction There has been a significant shift in criminal activities along the Nigerian maritime landscape in recent years, with smugglers adapting to the evolving enforcement strategies of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and other maritime security agencies. Criminals have built syndicates that have dominated the waterways and open sea highlighting the impact of piracy and smuggling. Due to this, illegal activities have increased along waterways, posing a serious threat to maritime security and necessitating reevaluation of enforcement measures. Smugglers’ Tactics Smugglers have relocated their operations to the waterways because of intensified customs operations on land, according to investigations. Contraband goods en route to Nigeria now often follow a circuitous route, being shipped to neighbouring countries within the sub-region. These illicit cargoes are then transported at night or during the day on clandestine jetties scattered throughout Lagos waterways and other Niger Delta states. Criminal Backing Particularly worrying about these activities is the allegations of these smugglers being overlooked by corrupt influential figures in the military, government and diplomatic circles. These criminal syndicates, pirates etc are not only well organised but also heavily armed. The alleged corrupt alliance presents a serious challenge to the efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat these illegal acts. Customs’ Battle on the High Seas The Customs Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A, Hussein Ejibunu, highlighted the gravity of the situation when, in June this year, a truckload of Indian Hemp was intercepted in the Lekki area of Lagos state. The contraband was offloaded from a boat originating from Ghana. However, in a brazen display of criminal sophistication, five out of the six trucks loaded with the smuggled goods managed to evade customs operatives in the darkened Lekki expanse. This highlights the continued efforts displayed by security operatives, however, there are loopholes in the execution of these operations. Kidnappings and Localized Threats The maritime challenges extend to local waters, with criminals often referred to as ‘pirates’ and operating within the Niger Delta and Lagos waterways. Kidnapping for ransom and attacks on local cruise ships are common, directly threatening the security of local communities in the region. Although there was a notable drop in maritime kidnapping activities as of October 2023 due to the rebound of oil prices amidst the Ukraine and Russia war, the threats persist. Diverse Criminal Activities and Rising Threats Recently, reports have shed light on the intricate web of smuggling routes, revealing that approximately 90% of Indian hemp in the country enters through the West African sub-region. This is facilitated by the substance’s legal status in many French-speaking countries within the region, providing smugglers with a seemingly seamless passage into Nigeria. The rise of smuggling is not limited to contraband. Criminal organizations use various methods to smuggle Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as gasoline, into neighbouring countries. The porous nature of the nearly 800 km-long border has made it difficult to deal with the illegal movement of fuel, drugs, people and foreign goods. OPERATION WATER GUARD: A Strategic Initiative In response to the increasing maritime threats, OPERATION WATER GUARD by the Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy was initiated in the border areas of Benin Republic focusing on the waters of Badagry in Lagos and parts of Ogun state. The objective of the operation launched on 9 November 2023 is to make Nigerian waters and borders inaccessible to maritime pirates and smugglers. The operation uses intelligence-led research to supplement existing checkpoints and improve their oversight. The current increase in crime on maritime routes demands immediate and strategic response. Strengthening maritime security requires cooperation between different agencies. from Customs and the Navy to intelligence agencies. Shared intelligence and enhanced surveillance capabilities can help break the networks that facilitate these illegal activities. Navigating Troubled Waters Amidst End of the Year Festivities As Nigeria faces multifaceted maritime security challenges, there is a need for concerted and determined efforts to protect its waters. Ongoing security operations which are commendable initiatives, highlights the need for continued flexibility and cooperation between all security agencies. The approaching holiday season brings concerns about the possibility of a decline in security activities along waterways. According to trend analysis, concentrated efforts and deployment of security forces across different states are anticipated during festive periods on land, which could exacerbate the threat posed by criminal groups on the sea. As the country faces this critical alert, addressing the root causes and strengthening safety measures are essential for a safer maritime environment.



Introduction: Mob violence, which is also known as jungle justice has emerged as a formidable challenge in Nigeria, casting a shadow over the nation’s security landscape. It epitomizes a vigilante form of justice, orchestrated by the populace and devoid of legal proceedings. This extrajudicial phenomenon is often carried out by a collective of onlookers, often identified as ‘street guys’ or ‘garage boys.’ These individuals assume the roles of witness, accuser, judge, and executor simultaneously, subjecting an alleged criminal or suspect to humiliation, physical abuse, or even death. According to a report by SBM intelligence, at least 391 persons have been killed by mobs across several states in Nigeria between 2019 and May 2022. In Nigeria, socio-economic disparities, ethnic tensions, and a lack of trust in law enforcement contribute to the breeding ground for such incidents. Economic frustration and political dissatisfaction can quickly escalate into collective violence, fueled by a sense of injustice and a perceived absence of viable channels for expressing grievances. Notable cases of mob action in Nigeria: Over the years, mob actions have been reported across all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria with the majority of these incidents occurring frequently in the southern parts of the country. Some of these incidents include; On 5 October 2012, in Aluu, a community in Obio-Akpor LGA of Rivers state – 4 students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) were lynched over an alleged robbery incident. On 12 May 2022, Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level college student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto was killed by a mob of Muslim students over allegations of blasphemy against Islam. On 12 May 2022, a sound engineer, David Imoh, was lynched at Lekki, Lagos State by commercial motorcyclists after an altercation. On 11 April 2023, a civil engineering student at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Okoli Ahinze, was beaten to death by a group of students for allegedly stealing a mobile phone. On 11 April 2023, an angry mob stoned a 35-year-old driver to death for allegedly killing 2 persons and injuring 6 others in an accident at Ijoka Road, Akure, Ondo State. On 25 June 2023, an irate mob killed a butcher, Usman Buda, over allegations of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammed in Sokoto. Security Implications: Like other forms of violence, mob attacks have impacts on the security situation of a country, these include; Erosion of Rule of Law: Mob violence undermines the rule of law, as citizens take matters into their own hands when they perceive a failure of the legal system. This erosion weakens the foundations of a stable and secure society. Impact on Economic Stability: The sporadic nature of mob violence can disrupt economic activities, particularly in urban centres. Businesses may suffer losses, and investor confidence can wane, affecting the overall economic stability of the country. Challenges to Law Enforcement: Security forces face challenges in managing and preventing mob violence due to its spontaneous nature. The lack of intelligence and preparedness can lead to difficulties in maintaining public order. Possible Countermeasures: Strategic approaches should be considered to reduce and possibly curb this trend. Here are a few; Improved Law Enforcement Training: Enhancing the training of law enforcement agencies to effectively manage and de-escalate situations is essential. This includes fostering community-oriented policing practices. Public Awareness Campaigns: Informing the public about the consequences of mob violence and promoting peaceful conflict resolution can contribute to a shift in societal attitudes. Legal Reforms: Strengthening the judicial system and addressing issues of impunity can deter individuals from resorting to mob justice. Legal reforms should aim to restore confidence in the justice system. Conclusion: Reports have shown that mob justice thrives where governance is weak and corrupt and where the criminal justice system is compromised. Other reports have linked this to poverty and prevalent crime where citizens vent their frustration on suspects. Hence addressing the menace of mob violence in Nigeria requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses social, economic, and political dimensions. The collective efforts of communities, law enforcement, and policymakers are paramount in steering the nation away from the destabilizing effects of mob violence.



Introduction On 15 September 2023, the Akosombo Dam began a controlled spillage at 183,000 cfs/day due to the continued rise of the water level. This was reportedly increased on 9 October 2023. The Akosombo Dam – also known as the Volta Dam – is a hydroelectric dam on the Volta River in southeastern Ghana in the Akosombo gorge and part of the Volta River Authority (VRA). This is not the first time VRA has spilt water from the Akosombo Dam as similar exercises were conducted in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, and 1991, the most recent being in 2010. The spillage exercise, described as a disaster mitigation plan, began at a very low rate with no significant impact on downstream communities until 10 October 2023, when 6 spillage gates were opened to increase the flow as water-inflow to the reservoir increased and levels approached the dam’s maximum capacity. Impacts The spillage caused the Volta River’s banks to flood, displacing residents in the Greater Accra, Volta and Eastern regions. Residents in North, Central, and South Tongu District assemblies, Asuogyaman, Shai Osudoku, and Ada district assemblies were left with power outages, submerged houses and destroyed properties. Some lagoons in the Ketae, basin overrun their banks, flooding Anlo and Keta district settlements. In the Eastern region, communities upstream including Kudikope as well as communities downstream such as Abume, Kpedzi and Dzidzorkope among others were affected by the floods. The spillage also had a terrible impact on locals who live along the Volta River downstream, with Mepe in the Volta region being the hardest hit. Initially, 8,000 people were reported to have been relocated across 8 towns, but by 19 October 2023, that number had already risen to 31,000. Overall, an estimated 39,333 Ghanaians in 192 communities have been affected by the floods. Moving Forward: Recommendations The spillage underscores the vulnerability of communities residing in close proximity to major dams and the pressing demand for comprehensive disaster management strategies. For businesses, operating in high-risk areas, it is crucial to glean insights from this disaster and proactively implement measures to minimize risks. Preparedness and Response: To respond effectively in times of crisis, companies should build thorough disaster preparedness plans in partnership with local authorities. Create communication mechanisms and relationships with emergency services to ensure a coordinated disaster response. Risk Assessment and Mitigation: Conduct regular risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities and establish local mitigation solutions. Invest in flood barriers, pumps, and other flood-control measures to protect assets and people. Training and Awareness: Educate staff on how to manage crisis situations and raise knowledge of the significance of safety during floods and other natural disasters. Business Continuity Planning: Create and maintain solid business continuity strategies to guarantee that operations continue during and after a crisis. Consider supply chain resilience and diversification to reduce interruptions By adopting these recommendations, businesses can safeguard their interests and contribute to the resilience and well-being of the communities that bear the brunt of such disasters.  



Overview Ghana’s Bawku Municipality, located between latitudes 11.058430 and longitude 0.240889 in the northeastern region, has, in recent years, faced a disturbing recurrence of conflict. For decades, the two largest ethnic groups in the area, the Mamprusi and Kusasi, have been locked in a dispute over who should control the town’s chieftaincy. The escalation of this situation, which began in November 2021, has continued unabated. A key catalyst for this spike in tensions can be traced back to the enthronement of the new Bawku Naa-Ba (Chief) in Nalerigu in February 2023. The persistent conflict in Bawku poses multifaceted challenges to the region, with far-reaching implications to the nation. Peace serves as both a fundamental human entitlement and a catalyst for economic advancement, along with the attraction of foreign capital. Ghana, acknowledged historically for its political stability and societal concord, secured the prestigious position of the second most peaceful country in Africa in 2022, a recognition bestowed by the Global Peace Index (GPI). Nonetheless, the persistent turmoil in the Bawku Municipality poses a substantial challenge, endangering Ghana’s longstanding image of tranquility and security. Security Concerns Over the years, the Bawku Municipality has witnessed a disconcerting surge in a spectrum of security incidents, each posing significant challenges to the region’s stability and societal cohesion. These incidents encompass armed attacks carried out by unidentified groups, recurrent occurrences of armed robberies, communal clashes, instances of murder, the imposition of curfews, mass deployments of security forces, and an array of insecurity issues within the municipality. The amalgamation of security issues goes beyond being an isolated event; instead, it signifies an intricate network of interconnected elements. The consequences of these occurrences are beyond just disrupting the daily lives of the local populace, creating an atmosphere of discomfort and division within the community. These multifaceted security challenges can significantly impede both socio-economic progress and political stability, influencing not only the immediate boundaries of the municipality but also resonating throughout the country. Notable Incidents in 2023 The Bawku Municipality has been beset by a series of alarming security incidents, underscoring the gravity of the situation. On February 5th, the Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, revealed a sinister attempt to detonate an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targeting a bridge within the municipality. This incident signaled an alarming escalation in the tactics employed by those perpetrating these security breaches. On July 18th, a deeply unsettling event transpired when armed individuals ambushed a commercial vehicle traveling from Bolga to Bawku. The assailants set the vehicle ablaze and left the vehicle’s driver dead. The passengers, though managing to escape, experienced severe injuries. This episode unfolded near Bazua market on the Bolga-Bawku Road, further underscoring the audacity and brazenness of such attacks. Yet another distressing incident was reported within the same municipality on October 24th. An armed attack occurred at a local drinking establishment near the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in Zebilla, resulting in three casualties, one of whom tragically lost their life. This incident was marked by intermittent gunfire from the armed attackers, eventually leading to a face-off with security forces at a checkpoint. Subsequently, the aftermath of this encounter required the continuation of security operations in the surrounding area. Regrettably, the wave of violence has persisted, with a reported attack on National Security personnel along the Garu-Bawku Road as recently as October 24th. While precise casualty figures remain unconfirmed, it was reported that the assailants fired upon the bulletproof vehicle used by the security personnel, marking yet another alarming episode in the ongoing security crisis. Government’s Response A government-initiated program in 2014 , known as the “1-month amnesty” was established to address the proliferation of firearms and ammunition in the region. Under this initiative, residents of the Bawku Municipality were allowed to voluntarily exchange their firearms and ammunition for cash. This operation yielded some success, with a notable number of residents choosing to comply with the program. However, on July 17th, in direct reaction to a surge in violence marked by intense gunfire echoing across the vicinity, a significant deployment of security forces was observed within the Bawku Municipality. This included the presence of armed soldiers, armored vehicles, and pickup trucks equipped with mounted machine guns patrolling the streets. These measures were implemented with the primary objective of containing and mitigating the prevailing violence. Prior to that on May 5th, recognizing the urgent need for enhanced security, the government took a proactive step by deploying over 500 soldiers. This contingent comprised specialized units, such as special purpose investigation and intelligence teams, as well as crime combat teams. This deployment was intended to bolster security efforts and provide a robust response to the security challenges plaguing the municipality. Recommendations The imperative of ensuring the security and well-being of Bawku Municipality residents necessitates a range of strategic recommendations to tackle the current security challenges. These measures, rooted in community-oriented approaches and law enforcement enhancement, are outlined below: Fostering Community Engagement and Dialogue: Advocate for an environment of open and inclusive dialogue within the community to effectively identify and address grievances and disputes through peaceful channels. Encourage collaboration among local leaders, religious figures, and community members to facilitate reconciliation and conflict resolution processes. Strengthening Law Enforcement: Foster collaboration between law enforcement agencies to enhance intelligence-gathering capabilities and proactively police the region, thereby preventing security incidents. Amplifying Surveillance and Monitoring: Allocate resources to the acquisition of surveillance systems and technology, which can be employed to monitor critical areas and identify potential security threats. Institute an efficient reporting and response system to address security incidents promptly and effectively. Promoting Community Policing: Advocate for community policing programs that encourage collaboration between residents and law enforcement, thereby nurturing trust and facilitating the collection of vital local intelligence. Deploy community liaison officers who can bridge the gap between the police and the community, ensuring smoother communication and cooperation. Disarmament Initiatives: Continue and expand upon initiatives to incentivize residents to voluntarily surrender their firearms through amnesty programs. Implement stringent regulations and penalties for illegal possession of firearms, thereby



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



Introduction The year 2023 has undeniably been a year marked by significant geopolitical developments that have reshaped the global landscape of human relations and foreign policies. Without a doubt, there has been a consistent escalation of emerging threats and conflicts. One of these includes the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict which intensified when Hamas, a Gaza-based militant group, launched an attack along the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. More than 1,400 Israeli and Palestinian fatalities have been recorded while 199 hostages have been held by Hamas militants since the attack. This has prompted a global shift in sentiment following the declaration of war, resulting in reactions from allies, detractors, sympathizers, and apathetic observers. Context The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has its roots in historical grievances, territorial disputes, and religious sentiments. Reflecting on the history of Israel and Palestine before and after 1948 and the Balfour Declaration is essential to understanding the roots of this conflict. Hamas’ attacks have alluded to the broader context of the escalating conflict. As diverse nations call for de-escalation, some maintain a steadfast stance in line with individuals subscribing to religious sentiments. In retrospect, the conflict has been fueled by territorial disputes that have deepened through attacks by militias and revolutionary groups aiming to protect their territories. Implications for Africa The positions taken by various African countries are influenced by public sentiment, diplomatic interest and religious affiliations. From Kenya, Sudan, and Algeria, to South Africa, the reverberations of this conflict have reached far and wide hence, this conflict presents a concern to the continent. African nations are affected to varying degrees, by foreign policies contingent on their diplomatic ties, economies, political ideologies, and the presence of Israeli and Palestinian diaspora communities. The evolving global landscape has broad implications for diplomatic relations and manifests as protest actions mainly in some Northern and Western African countries, as well as some regions in the south. Given that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict possesses religious elements involving Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it has the potential to sow religious polarisation in countries like Nigeria. If the conflict escalates and becomes perceived through a religious lens, it could exacerbate existing tensions between Nigerian Muslims and Christians, particularly in the northern zones of the country. Such polarization could lead to inter-religious conflicts, a challenge Nigeria has encountered in the past. Conclusion It is worth noting that some African nations may face diplomatic strains because of their political affiliations concerning Israel. In addition to the rising production costs due to escalating prices, which have been noticeable since the beginning of the Ukrainian-Russian war, this conflict could have ramifications on the continent particularly as both Israel and Palestine are key players in Africa. In 2021, nearly two-thirds of Israel’s trade is conducted with South Africa, while Nigeria stands as the second most significant trading partner, with a trade value of $129 million. Meanwhile, there was a 34% increase in trade volume between 2009 and 2021 from Palestinian exports, including olive oils and food products.  

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