Niger DeltaI just heard that the Nigerian authorities are offering amnesty for the Niger Delta militants as a way of resolving the current crisis that has crippled the region and the productivity of the whole nations as well. The Federal Government is hoping that in two months about ten thousand militants will turn in their weapons and go in for a rehabilitation program in which they will be paid a $433 monthly allowance. After reading on a BBC website, all I could scream out was “are you kidding me?” Is this the last desperate effort of a government that has run out of ideas on how to deal with a situation that they have allowed to become more complicated? I had written a piece some months ago on why I think this conflict could as well result in a civil war if not managed properly. I guess now that these militant are having the ‘liver’ to go as far as the Atlas Cove in Lagos to cause havoc, it is becoming clear the magnitude of threat which their continued existence poses to the security of the nation. In any case, I have a few things to say about this.

How sensible is it for a country like Nigeria to negotiate with terrorists? You mean a few young men supported by some parachute wearing politicians sitting in Abuja and secretly manipulating the events in the Niger Delta can hold a whole nation to ransom and yet we claim to have a strong military? There is something terribly wrong here. We have paid them ransoms severally, and none of that money has been spent to settle what causes they claim to be fighting for; the emancipation of the region. How many of these militants have built a school or constructed a road? It is obvious they are fighting for their bellies under the disguise of a just cause, yet we are negotiating with people who have killed innocent Nigerians. If a whole nation can be brought to its knees to negotiating with those that bully its citizens and its very existence, then something has gone wrong.  Do we not think that we are legitimizing these criminals?

Who is deceiving who here? You think these hardened men will go and turn in their weapons for a meager salary? This is a huge joke. I myself will not be that stupid when I have no assurance that the government will not rescind on their promise and go for a crackdown. We seem to have forgotten in a hurry that former Governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, once paid out over 200,000 naira for every weapon which a militant gave up. Did that solve anything? They will simply drop their worn out armory and get paid for it, while their illegal bunkers bring in fresh supplies of sophisticated armed consignments. It is reported that these militants are supported by some government officials in their oil bunkering business, which brings in about $50 Million daily. How on earth will they abandon such beauties for the impoverishments the government is offering them? There are high officials who are enjoying from the spoils and I believe even some at the State level are heavy beneficiaries of such largesse.

So there is something wrong with our approach as a country in solving this crisis. At times like this you really wonder if all this would or could have happened under a military regime. I doubt this. I am not advocating for a militocracy anymore, their excesses have almost bedridden us, but I am strong proponent for a hard stance against terrorism. I cannot imagine what could have happened if the US government went about negotiating with the Somali pirates. I have always ask what our Navy doing that they cannot create a water barricade to make sure no illegal bunker carries oil out and carries guns in. They can effectively dry out the arms supply of these evil men. I know that the solution is not farfetched and I have heard even military personnel concur to this.

So what’s the issue? We are simply playing politics with a dangerous situation, until we create monsters of young boys and innocent citizens continue to die. We must realize that once these men have been trained in arms bearing and gun totting, recovery into a normal life is a difficult process. What will make it even worse is the point that you can’t pay them what they earned and you can’t guarantee the quality of life they had as terrorist. These are men that must be removed from society and kept under close watch.

So amnesty for terrorist? If so the terrorists in the North should also be granted amnesty and retrained as well, so we know that this is a national policy. Big Joke!

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  1. Negotiating with terrorist spells more trouble, it is never done. I wonder if the authorities had tpeople in mind before making such decision.

    Brace yourself for the worse because our decision makers are serving their interest in the loop at our expense. Casualties will increase and terrorist will keep having their way. I am not speaking doom, the end to this is when we wake up from our long sleep, stop thinking we can pet criminals, take actions and stop compromising standards.

    Nice Piece.

  2. Emmanuel says:

    its a sham!!!….
    amnesty is given to an enemy that cant fight anymore!!!…..
    Nigeria get ready for genocide on a level never seen before!!!…..
    u don’t give amnesty b4 but after the victory!!!…these politicians are saving their boys!!!….
    their thugs!!! for 2011 elections…..
    when will nigerians get off their backsides and revolt!!!

    • Emma you have struck the right cord and I hope someone is listening. I was really wondering how amnesty could be granted to a warring sect when victory has not be achieved over them. These are hardened criminals hiding under the guise of emancipating the Niger Delta, and our government is being diplomatic with them. Like you said, I perceive it is the manipulation of some politicians saving their thugs.

  3. Aaron M. says:

    It helps those looking for a way out and decimates the number of enemies the govt has in the area. If You think that the boys fighting in the creeks are getting this money you’re talking about then you’re sorely mistaken. There are heirachies involved. You think footsoldiers are making that much money?

    • So the case then Aaron will be recover poor militants and allow the rich militants recruit fresh young men into their squads. As long as the money furnishes them, there is no limit to what they can do. Until we cut out their supply, forget about any negotiations.

  4. Ngee says:

    Reggie, its naija now! yr u surprised? But wait you said you hope ‘someone’ is listening….so does every other Nigerian. I am sorry to say that we Nigerians are just a bunch of lazy people who r quick to give an excuse and slow to lift a finger. I will keep saying it we need to take a leaf from Iran. Right now everybody (including me and you) is waitin for someone who is waiting for anyone and at the end of the day no-one steps forward. We’ve heard the story many times. We all need to stop waiting and start acting. Not necessarily going to war but we can all do our little to make things better. I may not have the liver to confront but why not make enough money and build a shelter for the homeless? or become influential enough to turn around some of these stupid policies (this one is a very perfect example)? We are all different parts of the same body. The hand cannot do the same thing as the eye but if he does his part and the eye does hers, the body functions. Tell me, avnt u seen people with brain/ heart problem? if they r not healthy can they be operated on? Nope, until we make evry other part of the nation healthy starting form our minds and families our leaders cannot be ‘healthy’ because they come from us.

    Oh, and Aaron, everything not just naija or Africa has a political agenda behind it, Iraq war? fuel, religious riots? disunity, no lights? generator sales… these people r used as a cover up. Poor? ha. I wager they cld pay school fees for Harvard!

  5. Brume says:

    This country needs ‘thinkers’, i feel sorry to say that we are a country of people with 20/20 vision being led by the blind. I concur with Ngee, the people who need 2 be listening are somewhere else eating this illegal monies. Yeah the footsoldiers still have to be @ work to keep the cash flow for their superiors in Abuja, but these superiors are the people whom the American government in their own politics consider as ‘special interests’…….(a sect that Obama is trying his best to neglect), this shows that it is possible to do so and still be the leader of the nation. All we need are just people who can ‘think to lead’, because obviously, we are standing in one position, the world is moving past our eyes giving the illusion that we are moving forward. I close with a proverb my granddad told me when I was little “Because breeze blows trees past a man does not mean the man is moving forward”

  6. daimen says:

    We keep complaining about all these policies they come up with, yet we cant do anything about it. Instead of writing your thoughts here, where only those that cant really do anything read about it, why not go to aso villa and talk to someone that will pass your message to Yar’Dua. complaining here will not help and cannot help at all.

    • Mena, writing here is one way of contributing to a large discussion, besides we must hold our government accountable to every decision made. Everybody can not talk to Yar’Adua or can they? As a man from the Niger Delta myself, I have a stake in what’s going on and is disappointed by the President’s move on the issue since he came to power. This is my own forum for raising concerned voices, and it is from such fora that the government generally perceives where public opinion lies. Thanks.

  7. omolola says:

    hmmm papa reggie infact ehn if u hear the full gist mehn i am not gonna write it here oh coz i ve been cautioned from speaking publicly but when i see u online i wud give u some shocking gist u wud be in terrible shock i tell you this country just needs a revolution period and nigerians re not ready for that i wish i could just say all i want to say here but i cant
    my heart bleeds for this nation

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