The Amnesty to Niger Delta Militants which expired on 4th October, 2009 has ushered in the cessation of arms conflict, the wanton destruction of lives and properties and other forms of criminality in the region with recorded improvement
in the economic sector and the barrel of crude oil jumping to 1.84 million per day from 1.3 million barrels within the space of time.
This development as at the time the Korean National Oil Company signifies its intention to pursue an out of ciourt settlement over a disputed oil propecting licence (OPLs 321 and 323).
The Defence Minister and Chairman of the implementation Committee on the Amnesty for Niger Delta Militants, Major General Godwin Abbeh (Rtd) made the disclosure at a Media Session on the implementation of post-amnesty programme to the militants in the Niger Delta in Lagos.
General Abbe further disclosed that the cessation of hostilities in the Niger Delta region is now having a positive effect in the nation economically, socially, politically and even in the nation’s image abroad.
As regards the implementation of Amnesty to the Militants, Post amnesty phase and government’s plans for the region, the chairman of the implementation Committee and the Minister of Defence, Major General Godwin Abbeh (Rtd) gave an in depth analysis of the Niger Delta crisis which he attributed to acts of omission and commission of successive administrators at all levels of government. These lapses led to some groups and individuals to take up arms against constituted authorities and in the process committed crimes against humanity and the government.
The Defence Minister equally stated that the consequences of the said developments in the Niger Delta Region on the nation’s economy were staggering, but added that despite this unpleasant situation, the President in his magnanimity decided to grant amnesty to all those involved in order to restore law and order in the troubled area and generate the enabling environment to accelerate the development of the region and the nation in general.
General Abbe said that it was against this back drop that the Presidential Committee on Amnesty was set up to prepare a step-by-step framework for amnesty and complete disarmament, demobilization, re-integration and rehabilitation in Niger Delta with time lines.
The Highlights of the Amnesty Implementation plan as given by the Defence Minister are: Disarmament, Rehabilitation and Re-integration, Training/Skill acquisition for the Ex-Militants, Infrastructural and Economic Development of the Niger Delta Region, Dialogue/Continuous Engagement, the Oil majors involvement and Final Re-integration into society.
Meanwhile, in line with the Federal Government objective of developing the nation’s abundant hydrocarbon reserves, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, H. Odein Ajumogobia SAN has welcomed the decision of the Korean National Oil Company to pursue an out of court settlement over the disputed oil prospecting licence (OPLs 321 and 323) stating that the Federal Government was open to any proposal that would help resolve the problems which led to the dispute in the first instance.
Ajumogobia made the remarks when officials of the KNOC paid him a courtesy visit in his office where they declared their intention to opt for an out court settlement despite having recently received judgement in their favour at the Federal High Court in Abuja where they had instituted a legal action against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Honourable Minister speaking further expressed the readiness of the Federal Government to consider the proposal from the South Koreans if it will lead to a mutual settlement of the disagreement noting that ‘the worst out of court settlement is better than any best judgement’. He thus said that he believed s
uch reconciliation should help solve existing problems and boost the relations between the Federal Government and the South Korean Company. The Minister further commended the initiative of the Koreans saying it will inspire a new spirit of cooperation between Nigeria and South Korea adding that the Federal Government has a high regard for their country.
Mr. Ilkwon Cho who led the delegation of the Korean National Oil Company to the Minister informed him that his Company was ready to settle the dispute out of court in order to allow the two parties address the areas of contention amicably. He stated also that his Company wants to concentrate on developing its present investment and wish to possibly explore new areas in its exploration and production drive in the oil and gas sector of Nigeria’s economy.
At the meeting with the South Koreans were Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Elizabeth Emuren.