In Nigeria, the presidential advisor for the volatile Niger Delta region said the federal government will re-launch the amnesty program for militants who turn in their weapons.
Timi Alaibe said, starting the first week in June, the government will also begin to rehabilitate former militants to ease their eventual re-integration into society.
He said under the rehabilitation program, ex-militants will be given vocational training as well as monetary assistance to set up businesses.
“The rehabilitation will entail, first all, the nonviolent training and education to ensure that there is maintenance of civil behavior in the Niger Delta. It will also involve career guidance and counseling where these militants will now make their own decisions in terms of what careers or skills they want to acquire,” he said.
Alaibe said those militants who want to go into business will be given micro-credit to fund their businesses.
He said the federal government will also make it possible for former militants to have the opportunity to go back to school or get job training.
Presidential advisor Alaibe said former militants should have no fear that the federal government will meet its obligation because both he and President Jonathan are from the Niger Delta region.
“The reputation of the driver is also one key point. I have done it before when I was managing director of NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission). I brought militants from the camps and trained them. And interestingly, the present president (Jonathan) is from the Niger Delta. So, there is no excuse as to commitment,” he said.
Alaibe said the amnesty program has been successful in that, since its introduction, it has led to the reduction of violence and an increase in the production of oil from the Niger Delta.
“Immediately after the amnesty declaration and the retrieval of arms, you will recall that there was a reduction in violence. There was also drastic reduction in oil theft. Also, you will recall that there was an increase in the production of oil, from the low of about 700 barrels per day to about 2.3 million barrels per day. Some of the construction work that was stopped during the period of the crisis are now ongoing. And, also, there was general restoration of confidence and business activities,” Alaibe said.
A year ago, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua offered amnesty to Niger Delta militants if they would give up their arms and unconditionally renounce militancy.