Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to rebuild the troubled but oil-rich Niger Delta region and called for patience and understanding from citizens.
Despite the presence of oil, the Delta region is plagued by poverty and instability. A militant group, dubbed the Niger Delta Avengers, last month continued its attack on the region’s oil producing infrastructure, exploding a pipeline belonging to Nigeria’s oil production company.
The militants are thought to be motivated by a sense of injustice that the revenue generated from the Delta’s oil has been squandered, while its people continue to live in poverty.
Attacks first began in the early 2000s, but were abated through a government-funded amnesty programme, which paid the militants stipends and provided them with training. However, this programme has been significantly cut back by Buhari since he took office last year and militant action has resumed.
Last week Buhari received a delegation from regional leaders via the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group. He promised that the entire country would “witness judicious utilisation of resources”.
“We intend to rebuild this country; so that our children and grand-children will have a good place they can call their own. A lot of damage has been done, so I want you to tell the people to be patient,” the president said.
On the amnesty, Buhari said the situation was being studied and any outstanding issues would be addressed.
King Alfred Diette-Spiff, leader of the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group, said the group was dedicated to peace and stability in the region.
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