Amnesty as a mechanism for conflict resolution : a study of the Niger Delta conflict in Nigeria.
Moshood, Abdul-Wasi Babatunde.
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This study, through extensive field work interrogates the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta, and demonstrates how amnesty has impacted on peace. The Niger Delta region has suffered neglect from successive governments. The unbridled exploration for oil by multinationals, and neglect by the government has led to the conflict becoming intractable. In previous years, efforts at resolving the conflict in the Niger Delta included both the use of force and pacification, an approach that was a mixture of both force and dialogue. Little success seems to have been recorded using these initial mechanisms. The introduction of amnesty, however, seems to provide a palpable solution to the intransigent conflict, but has received criticism. Scholars have diverse views on the introduction and implementation of the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta conflict. Some of them opine that the programme should not be considered as a “silver-bullet”, but rather a temporary palliative to ensure peace in the region. Others argue that amnesty is just a process employed to buy peace, to ensure unhindered access to crude oil production in the region, and not a process informed by the need to achieve sustainable peace in the region. The need to engender sustainable peace in the Niger Delta is central to any future socio-economic development. This need is key to the introduction of the amnesty programme. Since the introduction of amnesty, the region has enjoyed stability, there has been an increase in the production of oil, and many Niger Delta people (including ex-militants) have been provided with the opportunity of capacity building and training in a peaceful coexistence. The study claims that amnesty as a home-grown conflict transformation mechanism could be used to achieve a sustainable peace in the oil rich region.
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