Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has announced the reinstatement of the controversial amnesty program for militants in the Niger Delta region to stem attacks that have threatened oil production.
The announcement was made in a televised speech marking his first year in office, a turnaround from February this year when his government pledged to end the scheme by 2018.
I believe the way forward is to take a sustainable approach to address the issues that affect the delta communities. Re-engineering the amnesty programmes is an example of this.
“On the Niger Delta, we are committed to implementing the United Nations Environment Programme report and are advancing clean-up operations, I believe the way forward is to take a sustainable approach to address the issues that affect the delta communities. Re-engineering the amnesty programmes is an example of this.”
Adding that “the recent spate of attacks by militants disrupting oil and power installations will not distract us from engaging leaders in the region.”
The recent wave of attacks by militants on oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta put pressure on the government to restore the amnesty program which had been scheduled to end in 2018.
The amnesty program was introduced in 2009 after years of militant groups using violence to demand a better share of the oil wealth. The program pays monthly stipends to former militants as well as offering them training opportunities.