Publisher: University of Port Harcourt

Small Arms Proliferation: Threat To Niger Delta Amnesty Programme

Eddy Akpomera
KEYWORDS: Small Arms Proliferation, Threat, Niger Delta, Amnesty Programme


The applaud that greeted the Amnesty offer by the Federal Government to armed militants in the crude oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria was understandable. The vast wetland that domesticates rich bio-diversity ecosystem is both the economic resource base of the country and the epicentre of hostilities from ethnic militias and cult groups. The Amnesty Programme, which was meant to forgo criminal prosecution of the militants for the economic crimes and other criminal acts on hapless foreigners and citizens, yielded 20,191 militants who accepted the offer and surrendered their small arms and light weapons that shocked the nation. This paper puts in perspective the Amnesty Programme, and highlights the strong threats that the continued proliferation of small arms and light weapons poses to the fragile peace in the economic treasure base of Nigeria with some arrowheads in the militancy refusing to surrender their weapons, and illegal bunkering still unchecked which provides the financial muscles for arms acquisition. Added to these scenarios is the foot-dragging of the government and other development agents to address the core issues of the 50-year infrastructural under-development, environmental degradation and human security which constitute a short fuse for relapse into fresh armed violence by aggrieved militants.

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