Nigeria’s government has almost tripled the budget for an amnesty programme for militants in its oil producing Niger Delta region.
In a statement released by the presidency, an additional 30 billion naira ($98.47 million) would be released for the former militants and an extra 5 billion naira added at some later stage.
This is viewed as a key factor in maintaining peace in the restive oil rich heartland where militants cut crude out put by as much as a third last year, by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to about 1.2 million bpd, from a high of about 2 million bpd.
Under the 2009 amnesty programme, each former militant is entitled to 65,000 naira a month plus job training. But in March a special adviser to Nigeria’s president said the programme was facing a cash crunch.
“Currently the Amnesty Office has now paid up all ex-militants backlog of their stipends up to the end of 2016,” the statement added.
This comes even observes wonder for how long calm in the region will last as sporadic incidents of attacks by militants continue to happen.