Nigeria To Resume Amnesty Payments to Niger Delta Militants

Mark Babatunde August 03, 2016
The renewed activities of armed militants in Nigeria's oil producing region has forced the government back to the negotiating table. TVC news


President Muhammadu Buhari has reversed his decision to stop the payment of money to ex-militants in Nigeria’s oil rich Delta region. On Sunday, Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme Paul Boroh announced to agitators of the Niger Delta region that payment of their allowances would resume beginning on Monday.

The amnesty payments were agreed upon under a 2009 peace deal with the militants by the regime of the then-President Umaru Musa Yaradua. The amnesty payments were meant to end a wave of militant attacks on oil and gas facilities in Nigeria’s oil-producing communities. Under the amnesty deal, some 30,000 ex-militants would avoid state prosecution and receive monthly stipends if they gave up their weapons.

President Buhari had stopped the payments to the militants in February, suggesting that the program had run its course. Buhari had initially insisted on cutting the amnesty payments by two-thirds and limiting cash payments in the face of dwindling revenues.

President Buhari’s decision to stop payments, however, did not go down well with the ex-militants, and in the months following the halt of the amnesty payments, Nigeria experienced an upsurge in armed militancy in its oil producing Niger Delta region, recording more than 4,000 new cases of pipeline vandalization activities that effectively crippled the country’s oil production capacity.

Consequently, Nigeria’s oil production fell from about 2.2 million barrels per day before the attacks to less than 1.6 million barrels.

Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu said the activities of the militants were costing Nigeria between 700,000 to 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day, leading to a shortfall in expected revenue.

Under the reinstalled amnesty payments, each former militant is entitled to N65,000 (or $220) monthly (over three times the country’s minimum wage) in addition to on-the-job training, while those who enroll in school receive scholarships.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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