AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT AMNESTY PROGRAMMED IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION

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Abstract

Amnesty Programmed was set up by the federal government of Nigeria under president Umaru Yar‟adua administration to address many years of conflict that characterized the Niger Region. In its formulation, the programmed has three core focuses which are Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration. This work focuses on the rehabilitation and Reintegration part of the programmed with a specific attention on training, job creation and constructive engagement. This research therefore examines the performance of the programmed in these three areas. The significance of this study is that it brings to fore through am empirical study the actual impact of the amnesty programmed on the peace process in the Niger Delta. The study employed both the Conflict Transformation and Incremental theory; the former to explain the nature of conflict in the study area, the latter to explain the amnesty programmed as a public policy built on several previous policies in that region. Three instruments were employed to derive the data for this study namely; in-depth interview; structured and unstructured questionnaires; as well as documented materials on the programmed as well as the conflict. The study was able to establish that greed, pollution, resource control, infrastructural deficits, unemployment, poverty, marginalization, corruption, economic exploitation, are all causes of the Niger Delta conflict, also the research found out that the amnesty programmed has trained several ex-militants in various areas such as vocational training, training in science and technology as well as in the humanities both within and outside the country however only few of them had received job after this training. This research further reveals that the level of infrastructural development is poor and constructive engagement is lacking. The research hence recommends that this programmed be broaden to accommodate other victims of environmental degradation suffered in the Niger Delta because restricting the programmed to only ex-militant only maginalises others who had also being affected but had not taken up arms. Also, the government should make frantic efforts to provide job opportunities for those that had being trained so as to prevent them being drawn into taking arms again.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

The people of the Niger delta in Nigeria are historically known for their enterprising nature as indicated by their artistry in canoe making, fishing, peasant farming, as well as trading. It is a home to Nigeria’s oil and gas resources. It is also the wealthiest region in West Africa. The Niger Delta is the source of about 90% of Nigeria’s export earnings(Okonta,2002). It is one of the largest wetland in the world after the Pant Anal in South America and Mississippi, in North America. It has a land area of 112,110 sq.kms, 20,000 sq.kms of natural deltaic plain and population of 31.2million people made up of about 40 different ethnic groups who speak 250 languages and dialects(Ikein, 1990). It comprises nine States and 185 local Governments Areas. Oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in 1958 by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Oloibiri. The Multi-National Oil Companies (MNOCs) operating in the region, especially, SPDC, Texaco-chevron, and Nigeria Agip Oil Company limited, indulged in degrading the environment by polluting the air, rivers and surrounding lands in a manner not found in other oil and gas producing regions of the world (Ikein, 1990)

The region contains the largest oil deposits in Africa and one of the highest quality oil in the world. Its oil resources, unprecedented economic and geo-strategic significance and contribution are without question the mainstay of the Nigerian economy (Ikein, 1990). The region generated 600 billion US dollars from oil exports between 1956 and 2002 (Okonta, 2002) yet the region is home to some of the poorest people in the world.

The enactment of laws by the Nigerian State including the Oil Pipe lines Act of 1956 and the Federal Environmental Protection Act of 1988 are designed to support the Federal Government.