Govt resumes payments to former Niger Delta militants

 05 Jan 2017 - 23:17


Yenagoa: Nigeria has resumed payments of cash stipends to former militants agreed under a 2009 amnesty in the country's Niger Delta oil hub, a government official said.
The government has been holding talks with militants to end attacks on crude pipelines which reduced Nigeria's output by 700,000 barrels a day for several months last year.
Authorities had originally cut the budget for cash payments to militants to end corruption but later resumed payments to stop pipeline attacks crippling vital oil revenues.
"Two months of the ex-militants' stipends were paid yesterday ... The rest of their stipends will be paid later in batches by (central bank) CBN," said Piriye Kiyaramo, an officer in the government's Amnesty Office.
Each former militant is entitled under the amnesty to $206.68 monthly plus job training.
Eric Omare, spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), which represents the Delta's biggest ethnic group, said former militants had complained to the region's top negotiator handling talks with the government about payment delays.
President Muhammadu Buhari met Niger Delta leaders and representatives for the militants in November to discuss their demands but little progress has emerged publicly since then.