In Nigeria, the
government of Rivers State in the Niger Delta has offered amnesty to
several militant groups operating in the oil-rich area, if they stop
attacking government facilities. In reply, the militants asked the government
to withdraw its security forces from the areas under their control as a
condition for peace.
Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw represents Cross Rivers South,
part of the Niger Delta region. He says the offer of amnesty is necessary to
begin the process of bringing permanent peace to the region. "I think it is a
good idea, I think anything that would bring peace to the Niger Delta region is
a good idea and if the people are willing to lay down their arms and this
criminality, it will clear the way for progress and development of the area. It
will also remove all the impediment from production of crude (oil) and other
things that are taking place in the area."
says it would be a mistake for the militants to assume the government made the
offer because it cannot sustain its present military operations against the
groups. "I think the militants themselves have been under tremendous amount of
pressure. So if it is possible in offering this gesture the militants can be
re-integrated into the society and there is peace in the area, I don't think
there is anything wrong with it at all and I would encourage it."
says, "One can understand the feeling of bitterness if you have been attacked
and if you have suffered in the process of the attack." But he says all those
who have been adversely affected by the actions of the militants will have to
be willing to forgive their excesses (in order to achieve) peace.