Payment of stipends to former Niger Delta Militants who were captured in the 2009 Presidential Amnesty Programme of the federal government has resumed.
Piriye Kiyaramo, an officer in the Amnesty office, told journalists on Thursday that the ex-militants started receiving two months arrears of their stipends on Wednesday.
Recall that the federal government had initially slashed the budget allocation for cash payments to militants as part of efforts at fighting corruption but had to resume the payments following series of pipeline attacks in the region.
There have been talks in recent times between the government and representatives of the Niger Delta with the aim of stopping the attacks which had reduced the nation’s oil output by 700,000 barrels a day for several months last year.
Kiyaramo said: “Two months of the ex-militants’ stipends were paid yesterday … The rest of their stipends will be paid later in batches by (central bank) CBN.”
He added that the paid stipends covered August and September 2016.
According to the amnesty deal, each former militant is entitled to N65,000 monthly plus job training.
The ex-militants had in late 2016 protested the non-payment of over five months arrears of their Stipend, calling on the head of the Amnesty Office, Paul Boroh, to live up to his responsibility.
Eric Omare, spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, had also complained on behalf of the former militants about the payment delays.
Stakeholders in the oil-rich Niger Delta region want more control of the resources available in their domain, saying that the federal government has not paid adequate attention to the sufferings of the people in the area, which were largely caused by oil exploration activities.
The Niger Delta has witnessed high level of environmental degradation following series of oil leaks in the region.
Water bodies have been contaminated and arable lands rendered un-cultivatable, leading to hunger, disease and death in the region from where flows the resources on which Nigeria largely depends.