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AMNESTY PROGRAMME IN NIGERIA: THE IMPACT AND CHALLENGES IN POST CONFLICT NIGER DELTA REGION

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AMNESTY PROGRAMME IN NIGERIA: THE IMPACT AND CHALLENGES IN POST CONFLICT NIGER DELTA REGION

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    BACKKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The Niger Delta crisis has been a major threat to both socio-economic activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. At present, the amnesty programme is six years since it implementation in the Niger Delta as the Federal Government of Nigeria through the amnesty package had good intentions for granting militants amnesty with the hope that the gesture would effectively put an end to youths restiveness in the region. Amnesty therefore is a guarantee of exemption from prosecution and pardon from punishment for certain criminal, rebel and insurgent actions hitherto committed usually against the state. It indemnifies affected persons in terms of safety and protection from punitive actions, retributions and associated losses. An amnesty most often time is usually within a specific time within which offenders admit crime and take advantage of the general pardon (Ikelegbe, 2010: 6-7).

It is on this note that in 2008, following the submission of Ledum Mitee reports with other recommendations the Federal Government after consultation with the council of States and in pursuant with section 175 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria granted unconditional pardon to all persons who have directly or indirectly participated in the commission of offences associated with militants activities in the region. The amnesty was proclaimed on 25th June, 2009 included forgiveness and automatic freedom from any form of prosecution whatsoever which was expected to run for a 60 day period from August 6th to October 4th, 2009, (Idonor, 2009, Ikelegbe & Umokoro, 2014). During this period, opportunity was given to ex-agitators to surrender their arms and ammunitions in exchange for presidential pardon.

The declaration of the Federal Government amnesty was welcomed by a large section of the society and groups, including several international bodies pledge their supports for the programme. Thus securing lasting peace in the crisis prone region has not been easy as several peace-building efforts aimed at resolving violent agitations in the Niger Delta have failed. But as part of his efforts, Late President Musa Yar‟ Adua offered state pardon to the militants in a nationwide broadcast that:

The offer of amnesty is predicated in the willingness and readiness of the militants to give up all illegal arms in their possession completely renounce militancy in all its ramifications unconditionally, and depose to an undertaking to this effect. It is my fervent hope that all militants in the Niger Delta will take advantage of this amnesty and come out to join in the quest for the transformation of our dear nation: (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2009).

Also, the Federal Government proclamation of unconditional amnesty for Niger Delta ex-agitators included the willingness and readiness for them to surrender their arms and ammunitions on or before the expiring date October 4th 2009. So far, 30,000 ex-agitators have accepted the FG amnesty programme. In pursuant to the letter, the FG also instituted a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) package for those who embraced amnesty before the deadline with a #65,000 monthly stipend being paid to ex-militants who accepted the offer of amnesty (Kuku, 2012).

Prior to this time there was violent agitation by the people in the Niger Delta region as a result of resource distribution and environmental insecurity emanating from oil exploitation. However, regardless of the wealth from the oil bearing area, the Niger Delta still remain one of the poorest and underdeveloped region in Nigeria (Ereibi, 2011). Also, the people of the region lacked basic amenities such as provision of potable water, good roads, health facilities and electricity. The inhabitants also felt neglected, marginalized and their resources being exploited without any compensation or meaningful development for their God given mineral wealth. As a matter of fact, the Federal Government taking into consideration the socio-economic development of the area, engage ex-militants in gainful employment, training and skills acquisition as well as other meaningful activities that will help improve their living condition. With the amnesty programme there is relative peace as sustainable peace in the crisis bearing region is sine qua non to stable growth and development. Thus a major expectation of the program is to ensure the promotion of peace in order to facilitate socio-economic development in the region.

Nonetheless, six years now into the amnesty programme there are fears bearing in mind the method of implementation that sustainable peace may not be realized when the programme comes to an end. However, the post-conflict era of the Niger Delta region has witness various kinds of social unrest which has hampered development ranging from kidnapping, illegal oil bunkering, piracy, bombings, disruption of pipeline facilities and other crimes (wikiperdia.org). Therefore, this paper seeks to examine the amnesty programme in Nigeria, the impact and challenges in post conflict Niger Delta.

1.2   OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

This study seeks to investigate the amnesty programme in Nigeria within the context of exploring the following:

Impacts of Amnesty on National security

Post-conflict Niger Delta Challenges

1.3    Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.

1.4     Scope/Limitations of the Study

This study is on immorality in churches will cover all forms of immoral activities that exist in churches today with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem.

Limitations of study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

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