NIGER DELTA CRISES AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA APPRAISAL OF THE AMNESTY PROGRAMME

93

Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)

ABSTRACT  

The Niger Delta – the geographical heart of oil production in Nigeria has been a breeding ground
for militants for some years now. This is because the discovery of oil and its exploitation has
ushered in a miserable, undisciplined, decrepit, and corrupt form of ‘petro-capitalism’ which
produces conflict accelerating factors. Devastated by the ecological costs of oil spillage and
underdevelopment, the Niger Delta has become a centre of violence. In an attempt to solve the
Niger Delta crises, the Federal Government recently introduced the policy of amnesty to
militants as the solution to the Niger Delta Crises. The study assessed the Amnesty Programme
which is basically a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) to the Niger Delta
militants and effect on national security. Utilizing the theory of the post-colonial state, the study
argued that the amnesty programme to the Niger Delta militants was basically oriented towards
enhancing the security situation in the Niger Delta region for the purpose of increasing crude oil
production. Employing qualitative method and relying on secondary sources, relevant data were
generated and analyzed using qualitative descriptive method. The study therefore contended that
there was nexus between the Amnesty Programme to the Niger Delta militants and increased in
crude oil production in Nigeria. Arising from these therefore, it is our recommendation that the
federal government should urgently and comprehensively tackle the underlying economic and
social problems of the Niger Delta region so as to prevent a relapse into crises.

                                                                          

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 INTRODUCTION
Prior to the advent of commercial oil production in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in
1958, the region was essentially a pristine environment which supported substantial subsistence
resources for the mostly sedentary population. The region accounted for a large percentage of
Nigeria’s commercial fisheries industry (Afinotan, 2009). For centuries therefore, the people of
the Niger Delta were content to engage in farming, fishing and such other endeavours like
pottery, mat-making and hunting, unaware that underneath their soil was one of nature’s most
prized mineral resources.
Crude oil was discovered in the Niger Delta over fifty years ago, with the discovery of oil
in Oloibiri in 1956 by Shell Petroleum Development Company (Aaron and George, 2010). Since,
oil has become the main stay of the Nigerian Economy, contributing over 90 percent of foreign
exchange earnings of the government, it is surprising that the trajectory of constitutional
development, socio-economic development and class formation have been massively influenced
and dictated by the politics of oil (Owugah, 1999). While the Nigerian State may see the
availability of the crude resources as a ‘Blessing’ and a source of pre-eminence in the global
market place, the communities where this crude resource is endowed with, see it as a ‘Curse’.
This is because the massive exploitation of crude oil creates serious developmental,
social and environmental problems which the Nigerian state and the collaborative oil giants have
neglected for a long time (Omotola, 2006). Lamenting about this state of affairs, Owugah
(1999:106) observes that “The oil which brought so much wealth to the nation and those in


power, brought much poverty, disease, death, loss of livelihood, to the people of the oil bearing
areas”.
With the emergence of a pan-Niger Delta militia group, the Movement for the
Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in 2006, the struggle for local control of Nigeria’s oil
assumed a more violent dimension. Apart from MEND that appears to have clearly articulated
grievances namely Environmental Insecurity and Socio-Economic Marginalization of the Niger
Delta people, sundry groups emerged in the Niger Delta as well. Some of these groups, it would
appear, were driven not by liberation ideology but crime and criminality. Independently the
activities of these groups created a difficult security challenge in Nigeria’s oil belt (Aaron, 2010).
Oil installations were attacked and oil workers particularly expatriate staffs, at any rate,
initially, were taken hostage for ransom. All these were happening, in spite of the heavy presence
of the Joint Task Force (JTF), comprising of the Navy, Army and Air force, who were
sometimes over ran by the superior fire power of the militants (Aaron, 2010). The implications
of this parlous security were grave. Oil production figures plummeted to all time low, as many
TNCs announced production shut-ins. Specifically, average production figure for 2009 was
around 1.6million barrels per day(bpd), down from 2.7milllion bpd(NNPC,2009). The country
lost an estimated $92 billion in oil export earnings to production shut-in and crude oil theft
associated with the activities of militants (Davis, 2009). The cumulative effect of this was a
drastic fall in the country’s oil exports. Consequently, public finance was subjected to one of the
worst crises since independence.
In what appears an admission of the futility of violent response, late President Umaru
Yar’Adua, on 25th June, 2009, announced an amnesty for militants who were willing to
surrender their arms. The amnesty programme was in phases: Disarmament, Demobilization and


Reintegration (DDR) Aaron (2010). Disarmament of militants entailed the physical removal of
the means of combat from ex belligerents (weapons, ammunition). Demobilization is the formal
and controlled discharge of active combatants from armed groups, followed by processing of
individual combatants in temporary centres with provision of support packages. Reintegration
entails the process of reintegrating former combatants/militants into civil society ensuring
against the possibility of a resurgence of armed conflict (Nwachukwu and Pepple, 2011).
The first phase lasted between 6th August and 4th October 2009 (Newswatch, November
9, 2009). The amnesty programme has been hailed by many as successful given the quantity of
arms surrendered by the militants. Five years after the proclamation of the amnesty and
implementation of the major components of the programme by Goodluck Jonathan’s
administration following the demise of President Musa Yar’Adua. This study sets out to explore
the nexus between the Amnesty programme granted the Niger Delta militants and National
Security. However, the study will investigate the effect of disarmament of the militants on crude
oil production in Nigeria on one hand, and the effect of demobilization and reintegration of
militants on kidnapping and oil pipeline vandalization on the other hand.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The deployment of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) to restore order and create a
conducive atmosphere to do business could not tame the militants. However, no State relies
exclusively on the use of violence or force to ensure social order. It resorts to non-violent
strategies as well, especially, when it comes under intense pressure from the people which
threaten the interest of its survival. At such times, the state makes what Parenti (1974:274) terms
“symbolic concession” to pacify the people. Thus, confronted with persistently intense agitation


from the communities, the Nigerian State, in response, adopted the strategy of symbolic
concessions. The State, thus, raised the percentage on derivation of the oil producing states from
1.5% to 3% and later 13% (Owugah, 2010). It is also within this context that the setting up of
series of development commissions for the Niger Delta should be understood. The commissions
started with the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) in 1960 followed by the Niger Delta
River Basin Development Authority (NDRBA) in 1976, then the Oil Producing Areas
Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1992. Ibeanu (2002:31) argues that “OMPADEC
became, in the popular consciousness of people of Niger Delta, another ruse designed to enrich
the families and friends of the military government while pretending to be investing in the Niger
Delta”. The failure of OMPADEC to achieve its desired expectations coupled with the intensity
of Ijaw ethnic struggles led to the establishment of Niger Delta Development Commission
(NDDC) in 2000. The NDDC, like its predecessors, failed to record significant improvement in
the welfare of the Niger Delta people because it gave room to financial misappropriation and
profligacy (Omotola, 2007). Owugah (2010:194) argues “Therefore, by establishing these
agencies, it pacifies some members of the communities and also gains the support of others in
the non-oil producing areas. Secondly, it provides an avenue for patronage to members of its
hegemonic class with the awards of contracts, consultancies and supplies of materials for the
projects. These projects became another money-making source for members of the ruling class.
For one thing, they were fully paid for contracts, even though the projects were not undertaken,
abandoned or uncompleted. The Niger Delta landscape is littered with such projects. Yet, no one
has ever been asked to refund any amount or prosecuted in the law courts”. When Late Musa
YarAdua assumed office as the nation’s president, he came up with his own idea of developing
the Niger Delta, which he tagged “Niger Delta Development Plan”. Nothing has been done in


this regard. He also set up the Ministry of Niger delta Affairs. Again, on 25 June 2009 he granted
amnesty to the “militants” via Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) to turn in
their weapons within sixty (60) days (Aaron, 2010). In addition, they militants were to renounce
violence through the execution of renunciation of militancy form. The repentant militants were to
be paid the sum of N65, 000(about $430) per month for 42 months that the rehabilitation
programme would cover. This is addition to daily feeding allowance of N1500 (about $10).
Beyond disarmament, repentant militants are to undergo some form of skills acquisition to
enable them live economically productive lives (Aaron, 2010).
The leaders of the militants, including Ekpemupolo( Tompolo), Henry Okah, Asari
Dokubo, Fara Dagogo, Ebi Ben, Ateke Tom, Saboma Jackrich (alias Egberipapa), gave up their
weapons. Tompolo and his group gave “117 assorted rifles, 5,467 rounds of live ammunitions,
20 camouflage bullet jacket, 26 camouflage uniform and two helmets. By official account, about
26,356 militants surrendered their arms at various disarmament centres. On the whole the total of
26,760 guns of different types 287,445 rounds of ammunition, 18 gun boats and 1090 dynamites
were surrendered” (Omadjohwoefe, 2011:254).
The Amnesty programme granted to the militants of Niger Delta has drawn the attention
of writers. Omadjohwoefe (2011), Ibaba (2011), and Egwemi (2010) argued that, the amnesty
initiative, though a unique approach, does not have what it takes to answer the Niger Delta
question. Olatoke and Olokooba (2012) argued that the amnesty programme is yet to be passed
into law and as such unconstitutional. Smoke (2009) opined that managers of the Nigerian
system should develop strategies to deal with the post amnesty challenges and that all
stakeholders need to be involved in actualizing the implementation of the post amnesty
programme. Aluede (2012) argued that the way the programme has been implemented to cost



several billion naira to benefit a few people who have committed crimes against the state is
wrong.
The efforts of scholars thus, appear to neglect the effect of the disarmament of the
militants on crude oil production in Nigeria. It is, therefore, this gap among others in the
literature that this study is aimed at filling based on the following research questions:

  1. Did the Disarmament of Niger Delta militants increase crude oil production in Nigeria?
  2. Did the Demobilization of Niger Delta militants reduce kidnapping in the Niger Delta
    region?
  3. Did the Reintegration of Niger Delta militants fail to reduce oil pipeline vandalization?
    1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
    The central objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of the amnesty programme
    granted to the Niger Delta militants and effects on national security in Nigeria. This research
    tends to explore the nexus between the amnesty programme via Disarmament, Demobilization
    and Reintegration granted to the Niger Delta militants and national security.
    However, the study is set to achieve the understated specific objectives:
  4. To determine whether the Disarmament of Niger Delta militants increased crude oil
    production in Nigeria.
  5. To determine whether the Demobilization of Niger Delta militants reduced kidnapping
    in the Niger Delta region.
  6. To ascertain whether the Reintegration of Niger Delta militants failed to reduce oil
    pipeline vandalization.


    1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
    The research has both Theoretical and Practical significance.
    Theoretically, this study will contribute to the scholarly debate on the amnesty
    programme granted to the Niger Delta militants and effects on national security in Nigeria. This
    study explores the amnesty programme whose dynamics either impacts or transforms the lives of
    the people of the Niger delta region in Nigeria. It will also investigate the amnesty programme as
    panaceas for peace in the Niger delta region.
    Practically, the outcome of this study will be instrumental to socio-economic and
    political development of the Niger Delta in particular and the Nigerian state in general, it will
    help the policy makers to reposition, complement or change the strategies and methods of
    intervention in the Niger Delta so as to achieve maximum results. Finally, if the study succeeds
    in clarifying issues and facilitating understanding, it will enrich the pool of literature on the
    Niger Delta to the benefit of researchers and students.



    CHAPTER TWO
    2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
    This section reviewed relevant literature related to the key research question of this paper,
    with a view to clarifying the gap in knowledge that this study seeks to fill.
    Did the Disarmament of Niger Delta militants increase crude oil production in Nigeria?
    Timiebi Koripamo-Agary (cited in Business Day, 2009) media coordinator of the
    amnesty committee described the exercise as successful. She said the number of militants that
    accepted the amnesty offer were so many that the committee’s capacity was pushed to the limits.
    Accordingly, with the cooperation of all, including the military, security agencies, the militants,
    media, the commitment of amnesty officials and Nigerians, the country was able to successfully
    implement the programme. The huge quantity, quality and sophistication of the arms recovered
    under the amnesty programme shows that the Niger Delta and Nigeria is a safer place now. It is a
    huge relief that these weapons have been moved out of the region. With peace returning to the
    Niger Delta, the youths, the people and security forces will no longer lose their lives in needless
    conflicts, communities will be peaceful, children can return to school without disruption and the
    process of rebuilding and development can begin. It is a win-win situation for all (Business Day,
    2009).
    Swartz (2009) wrote that a high-profile government amnesty program aimed at stopping
    militants in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta region from bombing pipelines are coming under fire for
    not seeking permanent solutions to the area’s underlying problems. The amnesty program,
    scheduled to begin Thursday and run two months, is the biggest public effort yet by President
    Umaru Yar’Adua to ease the unrest in the Niger Delta that has cost the country billions of
    dollars in lost oil revenue. But Nigerian state governors, analysts, and the militants themselves



have criticized the plan because it does little to address the core causes of the militancy and
criminality that have plagued the Niger Delta for decades, such as the lack of education, jobs
and basic services. State governors from the Niger Delta region, a powerful group but rarely in
agreement, last week threatened to withdraw from the amnesty program because it lacked a
definite post amnesty plan arrangement for the region.
Alaibe (2011) argued that the Amnesty programme has been a resounding success. I
make bold to assert that the programme will go down in history as the sincerest effort by the
Federal Government to address the Niger Delta question. You would recall that the late President
Umaru Yar’Adua had on June 25, 2009, proclaimed a 60-day unconditional amnesty period for
militants in the Niger Delta, as a step towards resolving the protracted insecurity in the region.
The terms of the amnesty included the willingness and readiness of militants to surrender their
arms, and unconditionally renounce militancy and sign an undertaking to this effect. In return,
the government pledged its commitment to institute programmes to assist their disarmament,
demobilization, rehabilitation and provision of re-integration assistance to the ex-militants. In
other words, the programme was structured to have three broad components. One, a security
component dealing with the disarmament and demobilization of the various militant groups in
the Niger Delta; two, an economic component with commitment to provide access to reintegration
opportunities for the ex-militants; and three, to promote the economic development of
the Niger Delta. Flowing from this, we proceeded to execute what has become, perhaps, the most
successful disarmament exercise in the history of DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration)
in Africa. By October 2009, (some) 20,192 ex-militants had willingly disarmed,
turned in huge cache of arms and ammunition to security agencies and got enrolled in the
programme. Going back to your question, I insist that the Amnesty programme has been a


resounding success. Where we are currently would be better appreciated when viewed from the
pedestal of where we were prior to the amnesty proclamation. Furthermore, let me clarify that
while it is true that the late Yar’Adua initiated the Amnesty programme, it is important to place
on record that when it seemed that the programme was floundering, it was President Goodluck
Ebele Jonathan that revved it up, gave it fresh impetus and provided all that was needed to attain
the success that we are talking about today.
Oladoyinbo (2012) argued that, to the people of the Niger Delta region in Ondo State,
one of the best things that ever happened to them under this democratic dispensation was the
granting of amnesty to the militants that participated in the struggle for their emancipation. For
him, Prior to the granting of amnesty by the administration of the late President Umaru
Yar’Adua, the region was very volatile with thousands of youths up in arm against
the government, arguing that their region was so backward despite being the goose that lay the
golden eggs. The youths from various camps and under the control of their leaders threatened oil
companies, corporate organizations, wealthy individuals and expatriates among others.
Kidnapping, killing, violence attack, vandalisation of oil installations and other vices were the
order of the day with all these activities seen as those needed to ensure that government listen to
them and address the imbalance in the polity. However, when the agitation got to a stage,
government in its wisdom offered amnesty to everybody that took part in the struggle and
following consultation and deliberation, the militants agreed to the idea and they surrender their
arms and ammunition, signaling the end of the struggle.
Olatoke and Olokooba (2012) examined the amnesty granted to militants of Niger Delta
from the legal perspective, questioning the legality of the amnesty programme. He argued that
the amnesty programme is yet to be passed into law and as such unconstitutional. Furthermore,


he queries if the amnesty programme is a lasting solution to the problem in the region
considering the unabated activities of the militants. Finally, he urged the presidency to approach
the National Assembly to make law permitting the president to grant amnesty to the militants and
other related groups and other related groups who are willing to voluntarily make peace.
Nwachukwu and Pepple (2011) wrote that with the successful disarmament of the
militants in the Delta, the federal government, the Niger Delta region and, indeed, the entire
Nigerian state has been reaping the gains of the disarmament programme. The first gain of the
disarmament programme is that there is a visible reduction in the quantity and volume of arms
and ammunition in the region and this has, no doubt, gone a long way in enhancing national
security in the country. The booming of guns in the creeks of the Niger Delta with their
harrowing human and economic calamities has been replaced by peaceful environment
conducive for normal living and doing business.
Dakolo (2011) argued that Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua went all out to confront
the problem with all sincerity through the Amnesty initiative in June 2009. When the Federal
Government announced the Amnesty programme for the militants not a few persons took it with
a pinch of salt. With the Amnesty programme now in full swing and ex militants receiving
rehabilitation, reintegration, training and certification at Obubura, Cross River State since June
28th, 2009, it is important that the issues which led them to take up arms, in the first place are
frontally addressed. At the last count, over 20,000 militants were said to have thrown in the
towel. No doubt, the success of the Amnesty programme is underscored by the large turnout of
militants at the various arms collation centres across the Niger Delta and the staggering trench of
ammunitions recovered so far. Equally commendable is the fact that since the commencement of
the programme sporadic outburst of violence in the region has been drastically reduced. But the


Stakeholders must never rest on their oars as there is still a lot of work to be done. Government
and those entrusted with the arduous task of prosecuting the Amnesty programme must be seen
to be transparent and credible in discharging their mandate. There is a whole world of difference
between actual militants and miscreants who cash in on the volatility to perpetrate heinous
crimes. This group of people should not be included as militants. What is important now is for
the ex militants to be properly and effectively demobilized and adequate training given to them
to make them beneficial to the society. But beyond that, there should be a mechanism to ensure
that new militants are not created in the future.
Olubayo and Olubisi (2012) noted that without doubt the amnesty programme is expected
to improve the human capital development of the country which is presently low. Nigeria’s
Human Development Index (HDI) value comprising three basic dimension of human
development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living) for
2011 stands at 0.459, positioning the country at 156 out of 187 countries and territories if well
implemented, the amnesty programme in Nigeria could serve to negate the ‘resource curse’
theory that resource-rich economies such as Nigeria, Congo, Angola, etc. are more prone to
mismanagement, underdevelopment and violence. According to him, one of the major challenges
of the amnesty package is in the area of poor implementation. The amnesty programme was not
implemented as recommended in the report of the Niger Delta Technical Committee.
Oscar (2012) opined that the amnesty programme did not make provision for the role of
multinational oil corporations who have been accused by environmental activists of fueling
human rights violations and resource depletion in the region. This feeds into the issues of
compensation and victim’s protection and livelihoods that need to be addressed. According to
him, the lavish expenditures on the amnesty programme have been described in the popular


media as a ‘political liability’ to the Nigerian government. Furthermore, the year 2012 budget
proposed allots a whooping $450 million to the amnesty programme, which is more than what
the government spends to deliver basic education to children.
Oluwaniyi (2011) examined the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and
reintegration programme within the context of building peace in a volatile and crisis-ridden
Niger Delta region and the implication of the programme for peace in the region. It is generally
agreed that the central task of peace building is to create a long term goal of positive peace, a
‘stable social equilibrium in which the structural and cultural forces of violence are addressed’.
One of the critical means, in fact, the basic tenet for achieving long term goal of peace building
in a post-conflict situation is through the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.
These are not distinct phases but they constitute part of a seamless web of transition from
military to civilian life. The DDR of ex-combatants has become a standard package of measures
implemented within the ‘peace building’ slogan and it incorporates issues bothering on security
concerns, management of spoilers, and social and economic recovery of the country concerned.
Akpan and Ering (2010) argued that following the “Success” of the amnesty programme,
the federal government quickly released the sum of 50 billion naira to the Presidential
Committee on Amnesty (PAC) to begin to implementing the post- amnesty programmes for the
repentant militants. However, it is important to note that apart from the 65,000 naira monthly
allowance to be paid to each militant and the proposed skill acquisition training programmes for
the militants, there is no government whitepaper on how the 50 billion should be spent.
Etekpe (2012) wrote on issue of mismanagement of the programme as the
implementation is handled by people who lacked the experience and capacity for negotiation and
mediation. Aside, the stakeholders have not been given the opportunity to come together to


discuss the best way to achieve DDR. Thus, they too feel alienated. More so, he argued that the
amnesty experience is pleasant; it requires the support of all Nigerians. This is important because
if the programme fails, the region and country shall not be able to control another round of
insurgency and counter-insurgency; he also urged that the pace of implementation of the
programme be increased to achieve the desired sustainable development.
It has been argued by the highly influential security and intelligence group that the whole
idea of granting amnesty to militants in the Niger Delta is part of a broader plan by the ruling
people Democratic Party to consolidate its hold on power. Seen from this perspective Amnesty
for militants who through acts of political thuggery, were instrumental to the electoral victories
of some powerful current political office holders (Stratfor, 2009).
Sayne (2012) argued that the Niger Delta has now enjoyed four years of relative calm.
However, there is a significant chance the region could see renewed violent conflict in the next
one to two years. Dividends from a 2009 amnesty for local militants are real and substantial.
Critics of the amnesty claim the program fails to treat the root causes of conflict, is corrupt and
unsustainable, and promotes warlordism and the spread of organized crime, among other things.
These criticisms are not without basis, but they often lack context and balance. Major conflict
drivers in the delta are still in place, and no long-term peace plan exists. The coming period
likely will bring strong flash points and triggers, particularly around the 2015 presidential and
gubernatorial elections. Wavering leadership on security, the closedown of the amnesty program
in 2015, decreased support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s candidacy, and close electoral
results could all lead to violence in the delta.
At this point, there is no doubt that from the foregoing review, attempts have been
variously made by scholars to examine the gains of the amnesty programme via disarmament of


Niger Delta militants. However, these efforts, as reviewed above, do not really help determine
whether the disarmament of Niger Delta militants has increased crude oil production in Nigeria.
Did the Demobilization of Niger Delta militants reduce kidnapping in the region?
Aluede (2012) wrote that since the introduction of the Amnesty Programme, I have been
privileged to meet people who have been the benefactors both as government contractors and as
individuals. I have always been of the opinion that the huge investment approach of the amnesty
programme was not in the best interest of Nigerians. Don’t misunderstand me on this matter; I
am not saying that the Amnesty Programme is wrong. What I am saying is that the way the
programme has been implemented to cost several billion naira to benefit a few people who have
committed crimes against the state is wrong. You can argue for and against the actions of the
Niger Delta militant. In my view, our constitution lacks checks and balances which prevent
people from taking appropriate actions where and when their elected representatives have failed
them. The issue of militancy will remain at our door step, as recently highlighted by the
emergence of the Boko Haram sect, until our constitution is reviewed or preferably a new
acceptable one is put in place. I have looked at the illegality of the programme, now I will
analyze the programme approach. In the first instance, how did the PAO establish that those who
claim to be militants are who they say they are? We all recall too well the problem of putting a
face to the actors. According to him, since the introduction of the programme we have several
tens of thousands of people claiming the right as militants of Niger Delta origin. There should be
a due process to fish out who were real militants as well as establish each militant’s role in the
uprising against the republic. We can check their alleged claims as militants base on the
information they provide against records from government agencies on the activities of the



militant group. For him, it is important to highlight that intelligence was gathered to help the
nation avoid a repeat of Niger Delta militants holding the country to ransom.
Ajaji (2012) observed that when the programme debut in 2009, encomiums were
showered on the late President, at home and abroad for initiating the amnesty, which appeared a
respite for the restiveness in the creeks. The amnesty then appeared a major feat at repositioning
the economy of the country, which revolves around oil exploration despite the rich untapped
potentials in other sectors. However, there were a few ‘skeptics’ who believed the programme
was ill-conceived as it left many questions unanswered. Those skeptics seem to be justified by
hindsight. It was not clear, for instance, the enabling law guiding the programme. Apart from the
Presidential pronouncement, there is no legislative instrument underlying the amnesty
programme to date. In view of the fact that it was more of a political antidote, not many people
thought that lack of specific legal basis would pose a challenge. In a constitutional democracy
wherein all measures and institutional settings are subject to the dictates of the constitution, the
amnesty programme is one step subsumed in discretionary exercise of power. The danger of
such exercise of discretion by an Executive Arm of Government already super empowered by the
constitution, is manifestly obvious. Instead of the step being duly checkmated and subjected to a
strict constitutional order, the National Assembly (NASS) relapsed into the euphoria of a short
cut to a national challenge.
Smoke (2009) contended that youth restiveness and community impoverishment in the
Niger Delta region was grown out of the mindset of sharing the available national cake rather
than attempting to bake any new cake. For him, the sharing strategy has over time strategically
maximized the share made available for individuals outside the economic zones. Consequently,
the zones where the revenue has accrued from have been left impoverished resulting in the


situation that now exists in the Niger Delta region. According to him, the actions that gave birth
to the pain in the Niger Delta must be reversed in order to remove the pain. He averred that all
stakeholders need to be involved in actualizing the implementation of the post amnesty
programme and pro activity was recommended as the best strategy for managing the challenges
in the Niger Delta.
Eremie and Thom-Otuya (2011) revealed that the Niger Delta militants’ disposition
against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the oil firms coupled with the international
pressures compelled the government to grant the amnesty to the Niger Delta militants. The
amnesty deal is a desperate effort by the Nigerian state to end the Niger Delta crisis, and thereby
restore some dignity and pride to itself. Furthermore, he therefore examined the nature and
character of the amnesty deal, the rationale behind it with the objective to find out reasons why
the amnesty deal may not work. He proffered solutions that could help sustain and strengthen the
programme for peace to reign in the Niger Delta and Nigeria.
Ibaba (2011) argued that the conditions for violence in the Niger Delta are pervasive, and
that the amnesty programme which removed militias from the creeks could be likened to an
inchoate operation for removing a cancerous part of a body without containing its further spread
or re-emergence. According to the scholar, violence could recur in the region if the frustrations
which support insurgency are not resolve. Resolving these frustrations is therefore a requirement
for peace-building in the region. Accordingly, the scholar averred that escaping the frustrationaggression
trap is predicated on addressing the lack of development, the most fundamental cause
of the violence and dealing with oil induced environmental degradation and corruption in
governance are the two key issues. For him, therefore, ending oil based degradation is a sure way
to improve the living standards, and empower local people through their fishing and farming


based occupation, to have adequate access to health and educational services and facilities. To
achieve this, environmental laws which are presently weak and suffer poor enforcement will
need to be strengthened and enforced adequately. For him, the enforcement of environmental
laws and placement of adequate sanctions on MNCs is a sure way to elicit compliance and thus
protect the environment. Sabotage spills could be contained by responding to the development
challenges of the people, in addition to enforcing the relevant laws dealing with sabotage as an
economic crime. The amnesty programme is defective in this regards, as it has isolated the excombatants
for attention, while neglecting other segments of the population.
Fineman (2010) argued that as part of his determination and desire to put an end to the
agitations and violence in the region, the late President also initiated an Amnesty Programme
with the aim of disarming, rehabilitating and re-integrating militants into their communities with
a promise to tackle head on, the challenges facing the region. The Amnesty Programme was a
huge success as the militants accepted the offer and began coming out of hiding to hand over
their arms and ammunition to the government through the peace committee set up to coordinate
the programme. At present, the rehabilitation centers have been established and the born-again
militants have started the process of rehabilitation. With the amnesty declared a success and the
period over, the post-amnesty period is before us and this period is also significant in bringing
about lasting peace and development to the region. The effort and determination of the
government to achieve these objectives can be seen in the budgetary provisions for the Niger
Delta Affairs Ministry in the2010 budget can benefit from the businesses in the sector. While it
is necessary to ensure a conducive business environment in the area, the development of the
educational Post -Amnesty collaborative effort Programmes captured between the militancy in
the 2010.



Oluwaniyi (2011) argued that deeper analysis indicates that there are challenges
ingrained in the programme itself. Firstly, there was no proper planning for the DDR
programme. More so, the tenets of the technical committee were not adhered to by the federal
government for a bottom- up approach to the programme. Rather, the government collaborated
with ex-militants commanders, who were only interested in their personal aggrandizement and
did not consult with the militants on the ground. Secondly, the indirect money for weapon
approach implemented undermined the quality and success of the programme. Thirdly, much
money goes towards paying ex-militants commanders, managers of the programme and the
surging number of consultants and contractors to extent that the programme itself is now
perceived as being a very lucrative business, rather than a transformational strategy. According
to him, many people now form organizations to benefit from the Largesse. According to the
panel set in January 2010 to review the rehabilitation aspect of DDR, about 80% of the budget
had gone on payments to consultants and contractors, leaving just 20% for the rehabilitation of
ex-militants.
Egwemi (2010) revealed that the almost wholesale embrace of the amnesty by the
repentant militants has been a great relief for Nigerians. For him, the relative peace which the
amnesty programme brought to the Niger Delta region needs to be consolidated and all that is
required to do this is the necessary political will on the part of the Nigeria’s class especially the
executive. Such political will according to him, should ordinarily manifest in the form of
equitable distribution of revenue derived from the region, a determined effort towards massive
infrastructural development, job creation and confidence building measures. Accordingly, such
political will should be demonstrated especially in the post amnesty period in form of enabling
law to backup the post amnesty programmes.


Ogege (2011) argued that whatever benefits that accrue to the people (if at all) only go to
the few youths who accepted the amnesty offer, abnegated militancy and surrendered their arms.
However, it should be noted that those who renounced militancy constitute a very infinitesimal
percentage of the Niger Delta population, so taking them to camp and re-integrating them does
not in any way address the problem of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta. The amnesty is
silent about the plight of the Niger Delta people that caused and reinforced violent agitations in
the region. according to him, the amnesty initiative, though a different and viable approach to the
Niger Delta crisis, is not different from other measures in the sense that it has not been able to
provide satisfactory solution to the problem of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta. The
amnesty initiative addressed only the symptom and not the cause of the Niger Delta problem
At this point, it is obvious that the extant literature is not bereft of attempts by scholars to
examine the implementation of the amnesty programme via demobilization of Niger Delta
militants. However, these efforts, as reviewed above, do not help us to determine whether the
demobilization of Niger Delta militants has reduced the threats to national security in the region.
Did the Reintegration of Niger Delta militants fail to reduce oil pipeline vandalization?
Effiong (2011) wrote that President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by Minister of State
for Niger Delta Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim-Kuchi, declared that the amnesty programme had
succeeded well beyond initial expectations. “I make bold to say that after today’s event, our
great country, Nigeria, will be entering the annals of history as one of few countries in the world
that achieved a successful closure to the disarmament and demobilisation phases of its
Disarmament, Demobilisation and Re-integration ( DDR) programme. Accordingly, the
programme indeed saw some challenges right from inception. Observers recall that though the


presidential amnesty programme had been viewed with some skepticism at the onset, the
situation is quite different today, considering the impact it has made on the circumstances of
youths in the region. As attested to by Jonathan, the core essence of the amnesty proclamation
was to stabilise, consolidate and sustain security conditions in the Niger Delta, as a prerequisite
for promoting economic development in the area in particular and the nation as a whole. Though
Yar’ Adua died in office after a protracted illness, the programme remained on course, being
vigorously prosecuted by Jonathan, his successor. Accordingly, not many believed that the goals
of the programme would be met at some point, recalled Jonathan, who expressed satisfaction that
two years after, the programme had aided speedy return of safety, security and sustainable
development in the region. We have achieved 80 per cent in this amnesty programme. This is the
only DDR programme that is solely funded by the country itself. This is Nigerian-made amnesty.
Pepple (2012) accessed the reintegration of the militants and state that no fewer than 300
ex-militants from the Niger Delta region were yesterday empowered with business set up
materials and finance to start their small and medium scale businesses as part of efforts to
reintegrate them into society. The delegates are beneficiaries of empowerment programmes
initiated by the Presidential Amnesty Office for ex-militants of the region, which include sales of
building materials, electronics, fisheries, super markets. The ex-militants were also urged to learn
how to plough back profits into their businesses. According to him, the empowerment
scheme was aimed at assisting the trained delegates and equips them to be the new generation
of entrepreneur. He recapped the successes of the years past, according to him, over
13,000 delegates, had been deployed to local and foreign training, skill acquisition and other
formal education.


Ogundele (2012) examined the amnesty programme, since its introduction, has proved to
be the panacea for peace in the hitherto restive oil-rich Niger Delta region of the country. The
programme, introduced by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, may not have stopped agitations
in the region but has ended the appalling bloodbath and militancy. To that extent, it will be safe
to term the programme a success. But three years down the line, what was introduced as an ad
hoc measure to tackle a dire security and economic situation has since raised concern by those
who feel it is fast becoming a programme in clear danger of being abused. The concern has been
spurred by a recent announcement by the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme,
Kingsley Kuku, of an approval for a third batch of 3,642 amnesty beneficiaries. Kuku said that
26,328 ex-militants had been fully disarmed and were undergoing various forms of
entrepreneurial training. The latest figure would, therefore, bring the total to close to 30,000
persons. The question however arises as to the direction that the programme is headed and when
it is likely to be brought to an end. Or, has it become a permanent instrument for assuaging the
rage of jobless Niger Delta youths? In fact, questions are also being raised about the huge cost of
running what is becoming an amorphous programme by the Federal Government. These
concerns are largely sensible. Last year’s budget for the amnesty programme was put in the
region of N74 billion and well over N160 billion has been spent since the programme started.
Even if some may say that it is not too much a price to pay for peace, it is nevertheless
substantial. Only the annual budgets of the super rich oil producing states are higher than that.
Kuku (2012) argued that the terms of the amnesty included the willingness and readiness
of the agitators to surrender their arms on or before October 4, 2009, unconditionally renouncing
militancy and signing of an undertaking to that effect. In return, the government pledged its
commitment to institute programmes to assist the disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation


and reintegration of the former agitators. At the expiration of the 60-day grace period on October
4, 2009, a total of 20,192 Niger Delta ex-agitators had surrendered large number of arms and
ammunition to the Federal Government and accepted the offer of amnesty. And pursuant to the
letter and spirit of the Amnesty Proclamation, the Federal Government instituted a Disarmament,
Demobilisation and Reintegration, DDR, package for those who accepted the offer of amnesty
on or before the expiration date, Mr. Kuku said another 6, 166 persons were added in November,
constituting a second phase of the programme and bringing the number of the persons enlisted in
the Presidential Amnesty Programme to 26,358. The presidential aide said the Federal
Government approved inclusion of another 3,642 former militants, totaling 30,000 in October,

  1. He said that out of the 30,000 former agitators, more than 11,525 had been placed in skills
    acquisition/training centres, as well as in formal education within the country and offshore. Of
    this number, 4,929 are being trained offshore, while the balance of 6,382 have either been
    returned to formal education or have been placed in skill acquisition centres within the country.
    “Similarly, 6,067 transformed ex-agitators are currently being processed for deployment to
    reintegration centres (both within the country and offshore) in the fiscal year 2012. The
    presidential aide said that 113 former militants had been assisted in securing employment in
    maritime, welding and fabrication companies at home and abroad.
    Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi- Usman,
    expressed satisfaction with the implementation of the programme. Hear him:
    We came here to assess how deep the amnesty programme
    is. We all know what brought about this programme
    because Nigeria decided to address a fundamental injustice
    to a section of the country. From what we have seen and
    experienced during our interaction with the trainees, I can
    tell Nigerians that the amnesty programme gives us hope
    and we are very proud of these youths. The funds allocated


    to the programme are being judiciously used and we will
    continue to support and expand its scope (National Mirror,
    2012: 3).

    Confirming the position of Abatemi- Usman, his House opposite number, Hon. Warman Ogoriba
    had this to say:
    When amnesty was granted, most Nigerians thought
    nothing good will comes out of it. But now the story is
    different. Our youths are being trained all over the world in
    critical sectors. We are very impressed and my advice to
    these young Nigerians is to continue to be good
    ambassadors of our country (National Mirror, 2012: 4).
    Jegede (2012) argued that the amnesty programme under the direct supervision of
    Kingsley Kuku, Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, remains the most successful
    intervention programme ever run by the federal government in the Niger Delta region since
    independence. It should be seen as the most profound effort to tackling the agitation for fairness,
    equity and development in the oil-rich region. Of recent, I have read several articles on
    unsubstantiated allegations of embezzlement against the leadership of the Niger Delta Amnesty
    Office. Some have even suggested that the programme should be stopped on the grounds that
    Kuku and his team are only enriching themselves from the fund meant for the programme while
    other wrote that there was nothing to show for the allocations they have received since inception.
    Such an argument is obviously illogical and cannot be supported by facts on ground. The truth is
    that today, the amnesty programme has made significant impact in the restoration of peace in the
    Niger Delta region. President Goodluck Jonathan has received commendation and applause for
    deeming it fit to ensure the sustenance of the programme started by his predecessor, Alhaji
    Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.


    Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba (SAN), had in an interview noted that it was
    completely out of place for some Nigerians to be calling for the cancellation of the programme for
    now. On the argument that too much money is being spent on the programme, the three-term
    Senator said: “Let us look at the other side of it. What was the country losing when we have
    militancy? It is easy to do a cost benefit analysis. If what we were losing is far in excess of what it
    cost us to get peace then, I think the amnesty programme is justifiable” (National Mirror, 2012).
    The National chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN), Allen Onyema,
    while speaking to newsmen on the programme, noted that the programme is celebrated the world
    over, as the international community seems to be bemused as to how Nigeria was able to get it
    right from the stage of disarmament, through demobilization to re-integration (National Mirror,
    2012).
    At this point, is apparent that efforts have been made to access the benefits of the amnesty
    programme via reintegration of Niger Delta militants. However, impressive these attempts do not
    help us ascertain if the reintegration of Niger Delta militants has failed to reduce oil pipeline
    vandalization.
    The Gap
    What seem to emerge for the literature are attempts variously made by scholars to
    examine the implementation of the amnesty programme via disarmament of Niger Delta
    militants. Scholars such as Swartz (2009) argued that the amnesty programme lacked a definite
    post amnesty plan arrangement for the region. Olatoke and Olokooba (2012) questioned the
    legality of the programme arguing that it is yet to be passed into law and as such
    unconstitutional. Etekpe (2012) argued that the amnesty is mismanaged by people who lacked
    the experience and capacity for negotiation and mediation. However, these efforts, as reviewed



    above, do not really help determine whether the disarmament of Niger Delta militants has
    increased crude oil production in Nigeria.
    With reference to the second research question, the review of the extant literature
    demonstrated that scholars like Ibaba (2011), and Egwemi (2010) argued that, the amnesty
    initiative via demobilization of Niger Delta militants, though a unique approach, does not have
    what it takes to answer the Niger Delta question. Aluede (2012) argued that the huge investment
    approach of the amnesty programme was not in the best interest of Nigerians because it has been
    implemented to cost several billion naira to benefit a few people who have committed crimes
    against the state is wrong. However, these efforts, as reviewed above, do not help us to determine
    whether the demobilization of Niger Delta militants has reduced kidnapping in the region.
    Finally, despite the efforts of scholars, it is evident that a systematic update of persistent
    threats to national security in spite of the amnesty programme is timely. This present study,
    therefore, is an attempt to generate and analyze relevant data and by so doing fill this gap in the
    literature.


Get Complete Materials

Learn ICT SKILL @ ABIOLIAN SOLUTIONS ENTERPRESEhttps://abioliansolutions.com.ng
Learn ICT SKILL @ ABIOLIAN ONLINE ACADEMYhttps://onlineabiolian.com.ng
Abiolian VTU SHOPhttps://abiolianshop.com.ng
Our Market – Abiolian Online Storehttps://ourmarket.com.ng
LETHOSTNOW Classified ADShttps://easyads.com.ng
Abiolian Jobs Portalhttps://jobsportal.com.ng
HOST Your Website @ LETHOSTNOWhttps://lethostnow.com
Send Bulk SMS @ Abiolian Get Bulk SMShttps://getbulksms.com.ng
Get Final Year Project @ Project Gist Internationalhttp://projectgist.com.ng
Comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy