What is post amnesty programme in Nigeria? Learn more about Delta crisis and other key events of this country.
Throughout history, Nigeria has faced many challenges and crises. Post amnesty programme in Nigeria is a result of one of them. However, to understand it better, you need to know more about the background of this very crisis and its development.
Post amnesty programme in Nigeria is strongly connected with Niger Delta crisis. Let’s find out more about its history and affects.
Nigeria situation and background of crisis
Geographically, Niger delta region is situated in the south of the country and includes several states:
- Cross River,
- Akwa Ibom,
Besides, plenty of different ethnic groups live there, among which:
This region has always had certain problems, such as environmental degradation, absolute poverty, dearth of socio-economic infrastructure, widespread unemployment, and so on. Moreover, because of the prevalent oil industry, people haven’t had any opportunity for agriculture. It’s also important to mention that oil exploration has led to greater pollution, erosion, acid rains, deforestation, and destroyed farmlands. Thus, it was a background for confrontation between oil corporations and tribes.
The tension began in 1990s. Ethnic groups were competing for oil wealth, which provoked lots of violence. Then, police forces and Nigerian militants were engaged into the conflict. Besides, tribes were also militarized.
Post amnesty rehabilitation and reintegration programme in Nigeria
The definition of amnesty is given by an international law. It is about effacing and forgetting past offenses. It’s granted by the government to those people, who have been guilty of neglect or crime. It mostly concerns rebellions acts against the state. Such decision can be made for sustaining peace.
In Nigeria, post conflict situation led to amnesty, which was declared by former President, Late Umaru Yar’dua, in the year of 2009. It was given to various militant groups in the Niger Delta Region, whose social vices have bridged peace of this land and the nation. Among those groups there were:
- Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force,
- Niger Delta Liberation Front,
- Ijaw Youth Council,
- Nigeria Niger Delta Vigilante,
- Movement for the survival of the Ogoni People,
- Joint Revolutionary Council,
- Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.
The main reason of such declaration was to restore stability and normalcy in oil producing area. The total budget for that purpose was 50N billion. It was prepared for 20,192 militants (their number reached 30,000 in 2012). Amnesty included training and rehabilitation. Special centers and institutions were built in Nigeria and abroad. One of the first was open in Obubra, Cross River. By the year of 2012, about 11,500 ex-militants were registered for various training programmes. It’s important that the majority of them were connected with oil and gas industries. By 2013, half of that number had graduated.
Moreover, all the militants registered for the programme, got allowances of 65,000N every month.
Advantages of Nigeria amnesty programme:
- it provides opportunities for dialogue,
- it provides peace between the militants and residents,
- it reduces the circulation of illegal weapons,
- it helps to increase oil production,
- it involves mass media and makes people well-informed.
Along with the positive effects, there are several constraints of Niger Delta amnesty programme. They include:
- the plans were changed after the President has fallen ill and left the country,
- some of the victims may feel cheated, because the militants won’t be punished (they can even plan a revenge),
- there was lack of transparency (some people who weren’t militants signed for the programme, while some militants didn’t give up arms),
- the common idea might appear that the pardon for crimes will always be granted.
Despite of the existing problems, the amnesty programme has achieved certain results.
- Peace and security rates grew higher. Criminalization ceased, which was displayed in the levels of kidnapping and killing. Thus, the programme was useful for the beneficiaries, as they could finally feel safe.
- Economic benefits. Oil production and business were back, people got an opportunity to work (especially those, who were trained). Most of the young people managed to get a good job. Thus, unemployment rate became lower.
- Environment. The government has some strong prospects to improve the situation. Environment should be cleaned, as the region is biologically rich.
- Educational opportunities. There have been several approaches to the problem of Niger Delta region. However, this very programme gave younger generation an opportunity to get good education (some of them were even sent to the universities abroad).
- Long-term decision. Unlike many other approaches, it is not a temporary thing. It allows continuing changes for the better and gives people necessary hope for the future.
Post amnesty militancy
While the majority of militants gave up their weapons, there were those who didn’t. This fact led to the existing post amnesty militancy in the region. It mostly concerns the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. They were sure that the infrastructure development was too slow and the programme itself wasn’t effective. This very group was responsible for bomb explosion at the venue of Vanguard’s Post Amnesty conference in Warri. They still thought that plenty of resources were distributed among the people living in the north of the country, while southern residents could barely survive. All these things make the government address the specific demands of those people and change the programme. Some of the members of post amnesty Committee claimed that it showed the failure of the process, because the bomb in Warri wasn’t for hurting people, but for displaying the unrest and ineffectiveness.
According to the existing data, even in the training centers there were several protests.
Many people are sure that a conference of ex-militants must be created. They can let people know how the programme develops and which steps should be made in order to make it more effective.
Thus, nowadays there are people who consider Amnesty Programme to be just the means to continue mining resources. However, we shouldn’t also forget about the positive effects.
Amnesty Programme in Nigeria in strongly connected with Niger Delta region and its crisis. It involved several states of this zone. The programme was directed to sustaining peace. However, it also concerns environmental and petroleum issues, as this land is very rich. Plenty of ex-militants have been trained. It will help to reduce unemployment and give people opportunity to earn. However, there is still some uncertainty about it. Consultations must be conducted in order to find out the effectiveness and create necessary steps for improving the situation.