1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Youth militancy has been a major problem to both socio-economic activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. At present, the amnesty program is six years since it implementation in the Niger Delta as the Federal Government of Nigeria through the amnesty package had good intentions for allowing youth militants amnesty with the mind that the gesture would perfectly put an end to youths impatience to calm in the region. Therefore amnesty is a assurance of exemption from prosecution and pardon from punishment for particular criminal, rebel and insurgent actions hitherto committed usually against the government. It gives affected persons indemnity in terms of safety and protection from punitive actions, retributions and associated losses. An amnesty mostly is usually within a specified time frame within which offenders accept crime and take advantage of the general pardon (Ikelegbe, 2010). It is on this note that in 2008, following the submission of Ledum Mitee reports with other recommendations the Federal Government after consultation with the council of States and in pursuant with section 175 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria granted unconditional pardon to all persons who have directly or indirectly participated in the commission of offences associated with militants activities in the region. The amnesty was declared on 25th June, 2009 included forgiveness and automatic freedom from any form of prosecution whatsoever which was expected to run for a 60 day period from August 6th to October 4th, 2009, (Idonor, 2009, Ikelegbe & Umokoro, 2014). While in this period, privilledge was given to ex-agitators to surrender their arms and ammunitions in exchange for presidential pardon. The declaration of the Federal Government amnesty was welcomed by a large section of the society and groups, including several international bodies pledge their supports for the program. Thereby securing lasting tranquility in the region prone to crisis which has not been easy as several peace-building efforts aimed at calming violent agitations in the Niger Delta have futile. But as part of his efforts, Late President Musa Yar‟ Adua gave state pardon to the militants in a broadcast nationwide that: The offer of amnesty is envisaged in the preparedness and readiness of the militants to surrender all illegal arms in their possession completely renounce militancy in all its ramifications unconditionally, and aver to an undertaking to this effect. It is my fervent hope that all militants in the Niger Delta will take advantage of this amnesty and proceed to join in the quest for the change of our dear country: (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2009). Also, the Federal Government proclamation of unconditional amnesty for Niger Delta ex-agitators added the willingness and readiness for them to drop and hand over their arms and ammunitions on or before the expiring date October 4th 2009. So far, 30,000 ex-agitators have accepted the FG amnesty program. In pursuant of the program, the FG also instituted a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) package for those who embraced amnesty before the deadline with a #65,000 monthly stipend being paid to ex-militants who agreed to the offer of amnesty (Kuku, 2012). Prior to this time there was violent agitation by the people in the Niger Delta region as a result of resource distribution and environmental insecurity emanating from oil exploitation. Nevertheless, despite of the wealth from the oil bearing area, the Niger Delta still remain one of the poorest and underdeveloped region in Nigeria (Ereibi, 2011). Also, the indigenes of the region lacked basic amenities such as availability of potable water, good roads, health facilities and electricity. The inhabitants also felt neglected, marginalized and their resources being exploited without any benefit or reasonable development for their God given mineral wealth. As a matter of fact, the Federal Government taking into consideration the socio-economic development of the area, engage ex-militants in gainful employment, training and skills acquisition as well as other meaningful activities that will help improve their living condition. With the amnesty program there is relative peace as sustainable peace in the crisis bearing region is sine qua non to stable growth and development. Thus a major purpose of the program is to ensure the promotion of peace in order to enhance socio-economic development in the region. Nonetheless, some years now into the amnesty program there are fears bearing in mind the method of implementation that sustainable peace may not be realized when the program comes to an end. However, the post-conflict era of the Niger Delta region has witness various kinds of social unrest which has hampered development ranging from kidnapping, illegal oil bunkering, piracy, bombings, disruption of pipeline facilities and other crimes (wikiperdia.org). Therefore, this paper seeks to examine the implications of youth militancy and the amnesty program in Warri metropolis, Delta state.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Researchers agree that despite the huge oil revenue derived from the region that sustains Nigeria economically, it is still characterized by abject poverty, ecological destruction, polluted environments, impaired health, cultural destabilization, economic impoverishment, exploitation, dearth of serviceable infrastructure, inadequate provision of functional educational system, deprivation, destroyed source of livelihoods, and total neglect of the region by the Federal Government of Nigeria (Anele and Omoro, 2012; Badmus, 2010; Idowu, 2012; Ogbodo, 2010; Ogege, 2011; Okpo and Eze, 2012; Paki and Ebienfa, 2011). The implication is that the initial struggle for developmental and environmental justice later metamorphosed into youth militancy with its attendant consequences. The youths in Niger Delta resort to violence in order to attract attention to their views, cries and agitations for social justice, economic equality, and share in the resources of their region. Such violent tendencies include kidnappings, hostage taking, oil bunkering, and attacks on oil installations (Ogege, 2011). Therefore, this paper seeks to examine the implications of youth militancy and the amnesty in Warri Metropolis, Delta State.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the implications of youth militancy and the amnesty in Warri Metropolis. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of amnesty on youth militancy in Warri metropolis.
H1: There is a significant impact of amnesty on youth militancy in Warri metropolis.
H0: There is no significant relationship between youth militancy and amnesty in Warri metropolis.
H1: There is a significant relationship between youth militancy and amnesty in Warri metropolis.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is important in such that
The study is restricted to the implications of youth militancy and the amnesty program in Warri metropolis, Delta state.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Militancy: The word “militancy” can be understood as the acts of individuals, groups or parties displaying or engaging in violence, usually for a cause, whether religious, political, ideological, economic, or social. Nowadays, the term militant is synonymously used with the term „terrorist.‟
Amnesty: In the general sense, is a political tool of compromise and reunion granted by a sovereign to individuals that have committed acts against the State; usually treasonable offences and/or rebellion.
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