Akeem Ayofe Akinwale
The Niger Delta of Nigeria has become increasingly famous due to massive oil deposits and escalation of violence in the region. The emergence of deadly militant groups embodied oil pipeline vandalisation, hostage taking, massacre, and assassination. Unfortunately, the Nigerian government’s top-down measures for alleviating the spate of violence in the region have not yielded desired results. This paper examines amnesty and human capital development agenda, using content analysis of relevant secondary data, with insights from the Habermasian Social Movement Theory and the Althusserian State Apparatus Theory. The paltry financial rewards granted to ex-militants are incomparable with huge amount of money they realised illegally. Thus, a resurgence of violence may occur in the region except the undesirable socio-economic situations that fuelled militancy are addressed. While amnesty is a good step towards peace building in the region, a holistic approach to human capital development must be taken to compliment it. Fundamentally, ex-militants’ endorsement of the amnesty without proven records of improvement in the Niger Delta situation is inappropriate. Also, the Nigerian government’s adoption of amnesty without ensuring accelerated empowerment within oil-endowed communities negates popular demands in the region. The amnesty programme should therefore be complemented by other innovative measures such as wide consultation with various stakeholders and inclusion of all youths in the training programmes that will cater for essential needs of the majority in the region.
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