The President Muhammadu Buhari led government has resumed payment of N65, 000 per month to ex-Niger Delta militants – as agreed under a 2009 amnesty programme – as it seeks to end vandalism in the Niger Delta region.
Reuters quoted Piriye Kiyaramo, an officer in the government’s Amnesty Office as saying that:
“Two months of the ex-militants’ stipends were paid yesterday … The rest of their stipends will be paid later in batches by (central bank) CBN.”
Kiyaramo was quoted to have added that the paid stipends covered August and September.
Each former militant is entitled under the amnesty to 65,000 naira ($206.68) monthly plus job training.
The spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Eric Omare, which represents the Delta’s biggest ethnic group, said former militants had complained to the region’s top negotiator handling talks with the government about payment delays.
It would be recalled, President Muhammadu Buhari had met Niger Delta leaders and representatives for the militants in November to discuss their demands but little progress has emerged publicly since then.
The militants and residents who sympathise with them say they want a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth to go to the impoverished region.
The president had also slashed the allocation to the amnesty programme in the controversial 2016 budget, but he tripled the allocation in the 2017 budget following unrest and negotiations in the region