5th October, 2010
Nigeria has rehabilitated more than 5,000 former militants from the oil-rich Niger DeltaÂ who embraced a government amnesty last year, an official said on Monday.
The presidential adviser on the restive region, Timi Alaibe, told reporters that 5,295Â ex-oil â€œrebelsâ€ who were retrained at a camp set up for them in July are â€œcertified asÂ having imbibed the principles of non-violence.â€
They are now being sent for vocational training in Nigeria and abroad, said Alaibe in aÂ speech marking the first anniversary of the amnesty offer.
Former president Umaru Yarâ€™Adua granted unconditional amnesty to more than 20,000 formerÂ militants from the Niger Delta.
Alaibe said that in â€œjust one year after the proclamation of amnesty…the region hasÂ become the safest zone in Nigeria.â€
â€œWith peace restored in the Niger Delta, oil companies and associated companies reopenedÂ shut-in wells. Nigeriaâ€™s oil production increased,â€ he said.
Militant activity in the region, which included kidnappings and attacks on oilÂ installations, lowered the countryâ€™s oil production from 2.6 million barrels a day toÂ about one million at the peak of the unrest.
Nigeria currently produces around 2.1 million barrels daily.
Nigeria is among the worldâ€™s largest oil producers, but its government has been unable toÂ provide basic services to millions living in dire poverty.
The amnesty deal has led to a sharp decline in attacks, but some observers fear a returnÂ of unrest if the programme is not followed through.