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Questions are raised over Niger Delta amnesty funding

Nigerian lawmakers are investigating an alleged lack of funding for the amnesty programme for Niger Delta ex-militants that many believe has discouraged support for insurgent groups in the country's oil-producing zone,  writes Barry Morgan.

The Nigerian House of Representatives has urged the Finance Ministry to release about $50 million set aside under the 2016 budget to facilitate stipend disbursements and job training, despite earlier presidential insistence that the amnesty was adopted as an interim measure to reduce conflict.

Activist demands accepted by analysts and key figures, including traditional leader and former senator and chief Edwin Clark, require a greater degree of resource control by the oil producing states and host communities of the Niger Delta.

“The practical solution is to grant the region and its communities rights to the mineral resources, and allow them to produce a legal document to guide their business and governance under fiscal federalism," said a report issued last week by US risk consultancy Stratfor’s Nigerian affiliate SBM Intelligence. 

“That way the burden on the centre will drastically reduce and starve off future conflict,” it added.