International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Niger Delta Crisis: Taming Violence beyond the Amnesty
Moses U. Ikoh, Ebebe A. Ukpong

The declaration of Amnesty to the Niger Delta Militants by the Federal Government of Nigeria was acknowledged as the needed roadmap to the Niger Delta crisis. It was expected to draw out the militants from the creeks for skill acquisition training and rehabilitation, end violence and pave the way for a comprehensive development of the long neglected Niger Delta Region (NDR). Despite the seemingly overwhelming acceptance of the package by the militants, trademarks of violence reminiscent of the pre-amnesty era are still the lots of the NDR. Against this background, this study was undertaken with the objective of investigating the factors that are responsible for the renewed violence in the region with a view to finding solutions. Using a survey design, we administered questionnaire on 293 ex-militants to elicit information on their socio-demographic background, belief in amnesty, fear about amnesty, perception of amnesty by deserters, as well as the push and pull factors to militancy. Our results indicate a high mean rating of the amnesty package, but with fear about its comprehensive implementation. The fear was derived from lack of trust and confidence in the politicians handling the implementation of the amnesty package, and failure of previous government empowerment programmes. Such fear informed the decision by some militants to withhold their arms and ammunitions, as well as the outright rejection of the amnesty. Given the commodification of violence in the region, arm ownership became a pullfactor in deserting amnesty and in encouraging the emergence of splinter groups whose mission is pecuniary and criminalistic. Allegiance to ex-militants leaders was very strong. Surprisingly, respondents’ opinion that the amnesty will not result in the overall development of the NDR was widely shared. Based on these findings, we recommend a supervised financial empowerment to graduates of the amnesty skill acquisition, training and rehabilitation for the purpose of establishing their small scale businesses or outright employment; the moppingup of arms in the region, the involvement of militant leaders in the negotiation to bring back amnesty deserters, and the extension of empowerment benefits on skill acquisition training to non-militants youth as a part of the comprehensive package on the human and infrastructural development of the NDR, among others.

Full Text: PDF