The United Kingdom’s UK Home Office has ‘Operational Guidance’ that serve as information to be used by officials in helping them understand many of the problems within Nigeria. This guidance is used by officials to help them understand and aid making decisions relating to problems such as Boko Haram, Religious persecution, Female Genital Mutilation, Victims of trafficking, Forced marriage, Gay men and lesbians, Prison Conditions, The Niger Delta and of course: Cults, gangs and vigilante groups (including fear of juju, student confraternities and bakassi boys).
The full UK Home Office’s Operational Guidance can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310454/Nigeria_operational_guidance_2013.pdf
One would hope such “Guidance” was 1) well sourced 2) factual and 3) fit for purpose.
However sources are poor, statements made are in places false, misleading and contradictory and as a whole is arguably therefore not fit for purpose.
Sections that almost address an issue stop short of fully addressing it and often refer to what is “believed” or what is “indicated” by a very limited amount of sources (some of which been unknowingly to the author the protagonists themselves!!)
One example of such is the section that reads: “Secret brotherhoods operate all the way up to elite levels of society and it is widely believed in Nigeria that people in power form secret networks where conspiracies and abuse of occult powers are a matter of routine.”
The reality of what the UK Home Office is attempting to address here is: it is not only a case that it is “believed” groups such as the Neo Black Movement “form secret networks where conspiracies… are a matter of routine” it is undeniable and proven FACT that they are even as we speak.
A fantastic example is the “secret network where conspiracies… are a matter of routine” in Edo State which is very well documented and occurring right now.
Just two examples of horrific high level corruption within just one State in Nigeria.
So, given it would be possible to upgrade the reported occurrences of corruption and conspiracies from merely been “believed” to been that of FACT, it is then very ill advised to then quote Edo State officials in the “Guidance”. Therefore having the corrupt Edo State officials giving the “Guidance” to UK officials when saying: “federal government is doing its best to tackle the problem of cult violence in Edo state” without pointing out in the same breath they are not only “believed” or “indicated” to be part of the problem but it is FACT they are the problem.
The Police in Edo State “are facing a shortage of patrol vehicles… no divisional operational department has more than one police vehicle”. Why is this? There is evidence that over the period of only one year the Edo State Government paid in the region of 60,000,000+ (Over 60 Million Naira) the equivalent of over 300,000 USD to just one of the cult groups (NBM of Africa) for the purposes of political corruption. This in addition to the allocation and instillation of members of the cults into positions of power within the government.
A back of the envelope calculation (but bare in mind the figure of 300,000+ USD relates to the proof of payment to only the NBM and not additional payments made to the other cult groups operating within Edo State) suggests the police would have had the funds to purchase many patrol cars should the funds been made available to them and not to the NBM. It would also have enabled the police to have electricity which they have been without at Edo State Police Command for the past seven months (http://itvradionigeria.com/news/edo-state-police-command-decry-absence-of-electricity-for-over-seven-months/).
Regarding the aforementioned “allocation and instillation of members of the cults into positions of power within the government” it could be investigated by the author(s) of the “guidance” that these government positions even include specially created (and zero-functioning) positions such as: Chairman, Edo State Committee on War Against Indiscipline and Senior Special Assistant on Youth Enhancement. These been roles where a cultist is given the role of fighting cultism. A typical ironic and paradoxical Nigerian approach to addressing the problems of cultism.
Another glaring contradiction within the “guidance” relates to violence perpetrated by cultists. The guidance states it is “indicated” that “as a general rule, cults do not engage in violent activities against those not involved in cult activities”. Given the source is the also not fit for purpose ‘Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’ document about the Neo Black Movement it is not surprising this “guidance” is also inaccurate.
The “guidance”, also on the subject of cult violence, manages to contradict itself by documenting the opposite as been true (which is the reality of the matter). Cult violence is not limited at all to inter-cult violence. There are many sources that “indicate” the FACT the opposite is the case.
Political violence (as acknowledged as occurring by the “guidance”) is not limited to been perpetrated against other cultists. Kidnappings (as acknowledged as occurring by the “guidance”) are not limited to been perpetrated against other cultists. Armed robberies and rapes are also not limited to been perpetrated against other cultists. The “guidance” finally rubbishing itself when correctly stating of the “hundreds of deaths” they are including that of “civilians” (non-cultists).
As with the ‘Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’ document about the Neo Black Movement the UK Home Office has managed to produce a piece of literature that is 1) ill-sourced 2) not factual and 3) not fit for purpose. It is beyond unhelpful and counter-productive but arguably dangerous. It, like the ‘Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’ document about the Neo Black Movement, needs to be urgently reviewed, corrected, bringing up to date and written in a way that reflects the facts of the matter. As should be expected by all government literature relating to matters of international and domestic importance.
I will be petitioning the UK and Canadian government to attempt to resolve this matter, bring to light the seriousness of the short comings of these documents and encourage a more accurate, better sourced and more fit for purpose documents on this subject.
I would also recommend the previous entry here relating to the ‘The NBM and the UK Home Office here: https://bemigho147watch.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/uk-home-office-and-the-nbm/