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Amnesty Programme was set up by the federal government of Nigeria under president Umaru Yar‟adua administration to address many years of conflict that characterized the Niger Region. In its formulation, the programme has three core focuses which are Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration. This work focuses on the rehabilitation and Reintegration part of the programme with a specific attention on training, job creation and constructive engagement. This research therefore examines the performance of the programme in these three areas. The significance of this study is that it brings to fore through am empirical study the actual impact of the amnesty programme on the peace process in the Niger Delta. The study employed both the Conflict Transformation and Incremental theory; the former to explain the nature of conflict in the study area, the latter to explain the amnesty programme as a public policy built on several previous policies in that region. Three instruments were employed to derive the data for this study namely; in-depth interview; structured and unstructured questionnaires; as well as documented materials on the programme as well as the conflict. The study was able to establish that greed, pollution, resource control, infrastructural deficits, unemployment, poverty, marginalization, corruption, economic exploitation, are all causes of the Niger Delta conflict, also the research found out that the amnesty programme has trained several ex-militants in various areas such as vocational training, training in science and technology as well as in the humanities both within and outside the country however only few of them had received job after this training. This research further reveals that the level of infrastructural development is poor and constructive engagement is lacking. The research hence recommends that this programme be broaden to accommodate other victims of environmental degradation suffered in the Niger Delta because restricting the programme to only ex-militant only maginalises others who had also being affected but had not taken up arms. Also, the government should make frantic efforts to provide job opportunities for those that had being trained so as to prevent them being drawn into taking arms again.
1.1 Background to the Study
The people of the Niger delta in Nigeria are historically known for their enterprising nature as
indicated by their artistry in canoe making, fishing, peasant farming, as well as trading. It is a
home to Nigeria's oil and gas resources. It is also the wealthiest region in West Africa. The Niger
Delta is the source of about 90% of Nigeria's export earnings(Okonta,2002). It is one of the
largest wetland in the world after the Pant Anal in South America and Mississippi, in North
America. It has a land area of 112,110 sq.kms, 20,000 sq.kms of natural deltaic plain and
population of 31.2million people made up of about 40 different ethnic groups who speak 250
languages and dialects(Ikein, 1990). It comprises nine States and 185 local Governments Areas.
Oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in 1958 by Shell Petroleum Development
Company (SPDC) in Oloibiri. The Multi-National Oil Companies (MNOCs) operating in the
region, especially, SPDC, Texaco-chevron, and Nigeria Agip Oil Company limited, indulged in
degrading the environment by polluting the air, rivers and surrounding lands in a manner not
found in other oil and gas producing regions of the world (Ikein, 1990)
The region contains the largest oil deposits in Africa and one of the highest quality oil in the
world. Its oil resources, unprecedented economic and geo-strategic significance and contribution
are without question the mainstay of the Nigerian economy (Ikein, 1990). The region generated
600 billion US dollars from oil exports between 1956 and 2002 (Okonta, 2002) yet the region is
home to some of the poorest people in the world.
The enactment of laws by the Nigerian State including the Oil Pipe lines Act of 1956 and the
Federal Environmental Protection Act of 1988 are designed to support the Federal Government
Investments with the MNOCs making it possible for only minority to benefit from the resources.
By these laws the oil bearing communities are prevented from participating actively in the oil
and gas industry. Meanwhile, their lands and rivers are polluted by oil spills, acid rain and gas
Consequent to this, the traditional occupation of the people, which is agriculture and fishing has
continued to suffer. This continued unabated and by 1975, the Oil Producing Communities
(OPCs) had lost their traditional occupations and means of livelihood and all the same failed to
gain from the oil and gas industry(Okonta 2002).
The region has been a hotbed of conflict for many decades between the Niger Delta Militants and
the Nigerian Government on one hand and multinational oil companies on the other hand. The
major reasons for the militant aggression are socio-economic deprivations and denial of resource
control. The activities of the militant groups have, indeed, affected the Nigerian economy and
caused considerable losses to foreign investors as well as adversely affecting the international
energy market. Over 1 million bpd was being lost per day as of May 2009, SPDC force majeure
0.25m bpd the country was losing about 8.7b($58m) daily (estimate as at May 2009). In 2008,
over $20bn was lost as a result of the conflict. NLNG lost over $2b which is 53% of installed
capacity in 2009. About 1000 people lost their lives in 2008 and 128 people were kidnapped
between January 2008 and January 2009. The East West Road abandoned for 2years, Michelin
closed business and sacked 1500 in Niger Delta, Julius Berger/ Wilbur‟s pull out of ND and
sacked workers, SMEs fled Niger Delta, critical oil and gas pipelines infrastructure breached and
marine War Risk insurance: over $90m p.a premium charged for cargo into Nigeria(Federal
Government of Nigeria Niger Delta Amnesty Programme,April 2015).
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