From Conflict to Peace Building and Post Conflict Reconstruction: A Critical Reflection on the Nigeria Niger Delta Amnesty
Many decades of exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources have adversely affected the host communities in the Niger Delta. Environmental degradation, loss of means of livelihood, unemployment, poverty, loss of lives and general underdevelopment characterized the region. These formidable odds that threaten the survival of the Niger Delta people triggered off various shades of interminable violent agitations by militants that involved hostage taking and attacks on oil installations. These agitations, no doubt, reduced crude oil production and had adverse effect onthe national economy. This prompted the Nigerian state to intermittently launch attacks on the militants. In spite of the bombardments by the military Joint Task Force, the militants remain resolute in their agitations. Disturbed by the security and economic challenges, the Nigerian state came out with the amnesty initiative. The initiative was designed for the militants to surrender their arms, renounce militancy and also create a favourable atmosphere for the sustainable development of the region. This paper is geared towards examining theoretically, the efficacy of the amnesty initiative in finding solution to the general problem of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta. Situating the discourse within economic integration framework, the paper argues succinctly that the amnesty initiative is intentionally designed to deceitfully disarm the militants and create an enabling environment for the multinational oil companies to operate unhindered while ignoring the burning issues of underdevelopment that triggered the violent agitations in the first place. In order to avert a relapse into militancy, the Nigerian state must develop a credible rehabilitation package for the ex-militants and a holistic framework that can adequately address the problem of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta. (original abstract)
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