30 June 2011
By the end of the amnesty proclaimed for Niger Delta militants on October 4, 2009, virtually all the known leaders had surrendered their camps to the federal government along with 287,455 different types of ammunitions, 2760 assorted weapons, 18 gunboats, 1090 dynamites and 3155 magazines. But there remained the issue of redressing the problem of decades of neglect which, in the first place, led to the violent agitation.
Given that the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had made it clear that he preferred a new outlook that downplayed constitutional issues in favour of a funding regime that would directly impact oil communities, he was at odds with the Niger Delta Governors and many stakeholders within the region who canvassed increasing the percentage of derivation fund from 13 percent to as high as 25 percent. As he argued, it would be practically impossible to sell such agenda to the states most of which were already finding it difficult meeting their obligations. His own proposal was to give oil communities some form of stake in the ownership of petroleum assets while embarking on massive infrastructural development in the region.