The Niger Delta Amnesty – An Amnesty in Search of a Legal Legitimacy

Eje Adakole Odike


On the 6th of August 2009, the former President of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, (now late), declared amnesty for militants of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria (here in after called “the Niger Delta Amnesty”) based on the recommendation of the Presidential Technical Committee on the Niger Delta. The paper uses doctrinaire approach to appraise the Niger Delta Amnesty touted as a “home grown” amnesty. Based on statutes, case laws, opinions of legal text writers, newspaper comments and internet sources, it disappointedly finds out that the Niger Delta Amnesty, unlike many other amnesties, is not anchor on any known Nigeria law. It is the contention of the paper that such an important public proclamation should be anchored on a constitutional provision or an Act of the National Assembly. In the absence of such a legal validity, the paper recommends that the President of Nigeria should, as a matter of public importance and urgency, package the Niger Delta Amnesty Program in form of Executive bill and forward the same to the National Assembly for enactment as a law. This, the paper believes will guarantee its longevity and secure it from being used as a political tool.

Keywords: amnesty, pardon, clemency, militants, militancy, impunity, legitimacy

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/101-06

Publication date:September 30th 2020

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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