The amnesty purportedly offered militants in the Niger delta area of Nigeria is a total misnomer. This is because amnesty can only be granted to a convicted criminal. The militants in Niger Delta Nigeria are not criminals, but simply freedom fighters.
With the level of environmental degradation and endemic poverty that characterize the region, those involved in militant activities cannot be blamed at all. How can a rational human being remain docile when his resources are looted with impunity. According to Wole Soyinka in his book (The Man Died), ‘The Man is dead in him who keep silent in the face of tyranny’.
To be candid, who actually need amnesty in the Niger Delta? The militants that are fighting for development in their land, or the federal government that has neglected and marginalized the region for decades. My simple submission is that it is the Niger Deltans that should be thinking of granting the government amnesty for the atrocities and total disregard for human right and rule of law committed in the region. The killing of innocent villagers and destruction of their habitat in Choba, Ogoni land, Tombia, Kaiama, Odi, Agee, Gbaramatu, Oporoza, etc. shows clearly that the federal government has no moral justification to talk about amnesty. How can a government that deploys jet fighters to bomb innocent villagers talk about amnesty? A sinner can never forgive God, it is impossible.
The federal government is raising the issue of amnesty because they want to reconcile with the criminal militant elements they used to rig the 2007 election as 2011 draws near. If all militants are really criminal and top government functionaries have nothing to hide, then why not compel them to face the laws of the land. Amnesty is not and can never be the solution to the Niger Delta crisis. The solution is massive and aggressive infrastructural development of the region.