Offers of amnesty is part of the prerogative of mercy which the federal government can dispense, but the circumstances prevailing in the region as perpetrated by the militants, deserves thorough thinking and the application of the rule of law as espoused by the current regime. The activities of the militants is a gross crime to the state, because means and avenues for channelling grievances and seeking for a redress for injustice and dissatisfying conditions were overlooked by the militants who rather resorted to violence, threatening the survival of the whole nation.
The activities of the militants have contravened the provisions of the constitution which says that the State should: a) harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self-reliant economy; b) control the national economy in such a manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity; c)without prejudice to its right to operate or participate in areas of the economy, other than the major sector of the economy, protect the right of every citizen to engage in any economic activities outside the major sectors of the economy.
However, a critical look at the unfolding circumstances in the Niger-Delta shows that the above provisions are checkmated with the militants attacks on oil exploration companies, therefore making the State unable to harness its resources and protect the right of every citizen engaged in that sector of the economy; yet it is these set of people that enjoy amnesty.
Amnesty in the current circumstances can otherwise be construed as an acknowledgement of guilt by the leadership of the country, for with the discoveries made by the Joint Task Force after penetrating Tompolo’s camp where documents were found incriminating very important Nigerians in the Niger-Delta debacle, it could set the motion for their prosecution by the law.
Moreover, the formation of the Niger-Delta ministry is another duplication of services that would not auger for addressing the issues in the region, but rather can culminate into an overriding sectional issue that will affect national integration.
Issues and demands in the region can be addressed by ministries saddled with the tasks of affecting the whole nation, such as the ministries of environment, labour and productivity, youth and social development and many others. The Niger-Delta Development Commission can address urgent and specific issues affecting the region that requires emergency.
Moreover, the inability of the system to utilize its judicial institutions in resolving issues of national interest is further making the citizens develop the culture of lawlessness in all their endeavours. This should stop.
Suleiman Nagarba F.C.E (T) Bichi, Kano. s_nagarba@yahoo,co.uk