EFFECTS OF THE AMNESTY PROGRAMME ON NIGER DELTA MILITANTS, 2009 TO 2015

RESEARCH PROPOSAL Chapter One: Introduction             Thousands of militants, grouped under different names such as The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Ijaw Youth Council (lYC) and Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), and recently Niger Delta Avengers, etc, have over the years carried out multiple attacks on strategic oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region. Niger Delta transverses nine of the thirty six states of Nigeria, namely: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers (Obi, 2005). Most of the oil exploration so far had been at the core Niger Delta states of Beyelsa, Delta and Rivers. These three states had witnessed the major crises in the region. However, on 26 June 2009, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced that it would grant an amnesty and unconditional pardon to militants in the Niger Delta. A 60-day period was allowed for armed youths to surrender their weapons in return for training and rehabilitation by the government. The Amnesty officially resulted in the demobilisation of 30,000 militants, paying them allowances and providing training for a smaller number. It has markedly reduced conflict in the region. Patterns of militant attacks on oil installations, hostage taking and direct confrontations with Nigerian security agencies have drawn both local and international attention to their deplorable situation through their restiveness. The Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), founded by Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, and the Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV), created by Ateke Tom, led more than 100 other smaller armed groups to violently engage the Federal Government and multinational oil companies in a ‘war of attrition’(Ojakorotu & Olawale, 2009). Asari’s NDPVF launched a series of attacks on oil wells and installations, disrupting oil production. The militant groups also attempted to control oil resources through oil bunkering, an exercise that involves tapping pipelines. All of these have had damaging effects on oil production in the region and eventually led to shutting down of the Warri refineries several times (Akpabio & Akpan, 2010). 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”. 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

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