Consolidating or Corrupting the Peace? The Power Elite and Amnesty Policy in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

Chinese Political Science Review, Mar 2018

After granting unconditional amnesty to militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta region in 2009, the Nigerian federal government launched a comprehensive peace-building program anchored on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) in a bid to arrest violent attacks on oil infrastructures. Puzzlingly, nearly a decade of costly DDR programming has not engendered sustainable peace in the region. This study, which draws on both primary and secondary sources of data, examines the resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta by problematizing the informal relations between power elites and youths. Analysis of responses from in-depth interviews with various stakeholders in the peace process reveals that politics in the region is embedded in and governed by the informal logic of patron–clientelism and corruption. As a result, the post-conflict peace-building mechanisms of amnesty and DDR programs designed to build peace through youth empowerment have been captured and corrupted by power elites. In their do-or-die struggles for power positions and oil revenues, the elites have criminalized some ex-militants by mobilizing them as thugs, kidnappers, and oil thieves, thus posing a huge threat to sustainable peace and democratic consolidation in the region. The study indicts political desperation, systemic corruption, poor policy execution, and weak public institutions for the impunity of the elites and criminalized youths. It recommends value re-orientation and strengthening of public institutions to mitigate corruption and social violence among leaders and followers alike.

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Consolidating or Corrupting the Peace? The Power Elite and Amnesty Policy in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

Consolidating or Corrupting the Peace? The Power Elite and Amnesty Policy in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria Ndubuisi Nwokolo 0 1 Iro Aghedo 0 1 0 Department of Political Science, University of Benin , Benin City , Nigeria 1 School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham , Birmingham , UK After granting unconditional amnesty to militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta region in 2009, the Nigerian federal government launched a comprehensive peace-building program anchored on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) in a bid to arrest violent attacks on oil infrastructures. Puzzlingly, nearly a decade of costly DDR programming has not engendered sustainable peace in the region. This study, which draws on both primary and secondary sources of data, examines the resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta by problematizing the informal relations between power elites and youths. Analysis of responses from indepth interviews with various stakeholders in the peace process reveals that politics in the region is embedded in and governed by the informal logic of patron-clientelism and corruption. As a result, the post-conflict peace-building mechanisms of amnesty and DDR programs designed to build peace through youth empowerment have been captured and corrupted by power elites. In their do-or-die struggles for power positions and oil revenues, the elites have criminalized some ex-militants by mobilizing them as thugs, kidnappers, and oil thieves, thus posing a huge threat to sustainable peace and democratic consolidation in the region. The study indicts political desperation, systemic corruption, poor policy execution, and weak public institutions for the impunity of the elites and criminalized youths. It recommends value re-orientation and strengthening of public institutions to mitigate corruption and social violence among leaders and followers alike. Niger Delta · Conflict · Amnesty · Peace building · Elite · Youths 1 Introduction It is not enough to end the war; we must build the peace; it is not enough to reject the dark past; we must build a bright future—President Clinton at Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzogovina, July 30, 1999. Though efforts aimed at securing peace in the troubled Niger Delta region of Nigeria have been on for decades, it is only recently that such peace-building strategies have started to receive the sustained attention and importance that they deserve. Since the country returned to democratic rule in 1999, the revenue allocations to Niger Delta states have been increased, a Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) established, a new Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) created, and an unconditional amnesty declared for Niger Delta militants. This is a response to the region’s agitation for political inclusion, socioeconomic distributional equity, environmental security, and sustainable peace and development which the inhabitants of Nigeria’s oil-producing region have been denied for years. Despite the ubiquity of violent conflicts across Nigeria such as the Boko Haram terrorism, ethnic militancy, farmers-herders’ clashes, and a burgeoning industry of ransom and ritual kidnapping, the Niger Delta conflict has remained one of the most protracted in the country (Aghedo 2017) . Following the implementation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) in the Niger Delta since 2009, the hitherto ‘oil war’ between armed Niger Delta militants and state security agents and among several communal youth gangs themselves reduced considerably. The cessation of hostilities aided the homecoming of internally displaced persons (IDPs), the return of oil companies to their abandoned oil wells and sites, and an increment in oil production for both local consumption and export. From average oil production of 700,000–800,000 barrels per day at the peak of the conflict in 2006–2008, the current production estimate is between 2.4 and 2.6 million barrels per day (Ebiede 2017) . However, these modest achievements of the PAP have come under intense security threats in recent months on account of the resurgence of violent youth hostilities in the Niger Delta. The last 2  years have witnessed the re-emergence of militant groups such as the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta (REBND), Adaka Boro Avengers (ABA), Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC), and the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (MDGJM), among others (Abutudu and Aghedo 2015) . The youth groups whose membership comprise some hitherto law-abiding youths and ex-militants have bombed and destroyed a number of oil pipelines in the region, posing a huge threat to human lives, livelihoods, and critical economic investments. Since oil accounts for over 40% of Nigeria’s GDP, 95% of its export, and 83% of government revenues (Idemudia 2017: 9) , the resurgence of conflict therefore threatens the amnesty program, the country’s economy, and even the prospect of democratic consolidation. Thus, this article examines the efficacy of state-led peace building in one of Africa’s resource rich and most volatile regions. It is aimed at shedding light on two inter-related questions: Why have government efforts failed to produce sustainable peace in the Niger Delta? What roles have the elites played in undermining the PAP and the peace process in general? In the examination of the intricate relations between youth groups and power elites, the article reveals how the private agendas of these varied actors diminish the cost of violence and increase the lucre of violence in supposedly peacetime. The article argues that the amnesty deal is incapable of producing sustainable peace and development in the region, because many of the power elites in the area have become cogs in the wheel through their activities which are inimical to durable peace building. Thus, the article shakes up the wholesale adoption and implementation of international packages for peace, such as amnesty and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) without a proper scrutiny of contextual developments and politics on the ground. Yet, as the Nigeria’s PAP exemplifies, otherwise international best practices in peace building and post-conflict reconstruction can be co-opted and reinterpreted to promote the entrenched self-interests of the elites. The article draws on both primary and secondary sources of data. Both authors had earlier conducted a number of interviews with several stakeholders in the Niger Delta including militants and political actors. Also, one of the authors hails from the Niger Delta and teaches in a university located in the area, and thus has had wide-ranging interactions with some of the conflict actors as well as witnessed political developments in the area directly. However, the in-depth interviews used in this study were conducted with conflict experts including ex-militants, security agents, academics, civil society, and politicians. The interviews were conducted by one of the authors in August 2015 in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, December 2016, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and February 2017 in Warri, Delta State. Structurally, the article is organized into six sections. Immediately following this introduction is the conceptual and theoretical section which exposes the main concepts used in the discourse and explains the rentier theory deployed in the analysis. The third section maps the tortuous trajectory of conflict-to-peace transition in the Niger Delta and discusses the rationale, phases, as well as the challenges of the PAP. The fourth section unravels the political strategies employed by the elites in their relations with the youth cohorts to promote their selfish interests, thereby undermining the peace process. The fifth section explains the implications and drivers of the elites–youths’ interactions, while the sixth and final section concludes with some recommendations. 2 Rentier Elite: Conceptual and Theoretical Discourses The clarification of the concepts of ‘amnesty’ and ‘peace building’ is crucial to a good grasp of this discourse. As used in this article, the term ‘amnesty’ refers to “a guarantee of exemption from prosecution and pardon from punishment for certain criminal, rebel and insurgent actions hitherto committed usually against the state” Ikelegbe (2010: 3–4). The pardon is usually backed by law and granted within a given time frame during which the recipients admit their crimes and submit their weapons. For instance in Nigeria, Section  175(1–3) of the 1999 Constitution empowers the President to “grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offense created by an act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions” (Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999). In contrast to the narrow, superficial, and state-centric conception of peace building as a means of avoiding outbreak, recurrence or prolongation of violent conflicts [e.g., see Hassan (2009 : 119)], the term is used more broadly in this article not only to denote the absence of physical violence such as war and terrorism, but also the conditions that predispose them including poverty, repression, injustice, and other deprivations (Ikelegbe 2010: 6) . Conceived this way, peace building comprises both hard approach (establishment of physical security) and soft approach (elimination of conditions which undermine human wellbeing) as it can take a short, medium, or long term to execute. On account of these varied dimensions, Lederach (1997 : 20) argues that peace building “encompasses, generates and sustains the full array of processes, approaches, and the stages needed to transform conflict toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships”. Also, since oil is the life wire of the Nigerian economy and the fact that the resource occupies a critical conjecture in Niger Delta’s social existence, this article was anchored on the rentier theory which is a twenty-first century variant of the classical elite theory. The rentier elite theory has been developed and used in explicating the debilitating crises bedeviling natural resource states and regions. A number of scholars have come up with empirical evidences to show that states which rely mainly on external rents derivable from natural endowments such as oil, gas, diamonds, and timber are vulnerable to poor governmental accountability, corruption, leadership power tussles, civil conflicts, and authoritarian rule (Ross 2001; Auty 1993; Karl 1997; Collier and Hoefter 2005) . In developing the theory, Mahdavy (1970: 428) conceptualized a ‘rentier state’ as one that depends substantially on rents emanating from external sources. By extension, those at the helm of governmental affairs in such a state are ‘rentier elite’. In his elucidation of the theory, Beblawi (1987) argued that a rentier state depends on rents which are paid by external actors and that such rents are accruable directly to states. In his contribution, Ross (2001: 3) opined that such rents are usually generated by a few minorities, while the majority is only involved in its distribution. Though initially applied exclusively to the Arab Middle East States, the rentier thesis has now gained wide usage in the study of mineral-producing states and areas in Asia, Latin America, and Africa (Yates 1996) . Following this development, Karl (1997) argued that since most rentier states and their elites depend mostly on a single natural resource, this leads to the emergence of capital-intensive enclave industrial sector which relies on finite primary commodity rather than agricultural cash crops. The ability of the resource, especially oil, to generate unprecedented rents and the accrual of such huge ‘unearned’ rents in the economy spurns a myriad of unwholesome effects for the people, government, and the states at large. For instance, the enormous inflows of mineral rents into the domestic economy leads to appreciation of the exchange rate which consequently renders the agricultural and manufacturing sectors uncompetitive—a process known as the ‘Dutch disease’ (Auty 1993: 3, 5) . Furthermore, the inflows of such rents into the state coffers obviate the need for taxation, making the governments maintain a relative degree of autonomy from the society. In most resource-rich developing countries such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, the governments hardly tax their populations, thereby making it less likely for the citizens to demand accountability from their representatives or governments, thus precluding a major mechanism for checking corruption in governmental institutions (Ross 2001) . Yet, as Charles Tilly (1985) has noted, the present efficient public administration system in modern European states is largely traceable to the tax regime engendered by the need to extract fiscal resources to finance the war and state-making efforts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The absence of such corruption check mechanisms in resource-rich states has predisposed rentier elites to (ab)use the huge availability of ‘unearned rents’ on patronage, buying off opposition, and financing conflicts to consolidate power as exemplified by the Niger Delta experience. Added to these, the struggle to capture political power in such a rentier context becomes fierce, making machine political actors stop at nothing in the quest for fiscal resources. As a result, elite political competition has assumed a frightening dimension where the use of thugs, kidnapping, and assassination of opponents has become instruments of the game, making politics “so intense, anarchic and violent” (Ake 1996: 24) . This has made the African political landscape replete with electoral violence and democracy by force (Murunga 2011) . As rightly noted by Allen (1999 : 376), the “internal dynamics of spoils politics” is at the core of the African state crisis and the inability of the elite to ensure peace in much of the troubled continent. However, though many anti-state groups foreground a discourse of grievance against the state and its rentier elite, many of them are easily co-opted, corrupted, and hijacked by the elite whom they claim to be fighting, owing to the groups’ poverty, political patronage, and ideological deficits (Frederiksen 2010) . No doubt, it is formidable building peace in such a rentier context where “political elites rely on criminal networks to finance their wars, while criminal gangs benefit from the lack of law and order, accountability, and transparency that sustains their ‘business’ and keeps these elites in power” Wolff (2006 : 165). Efforts aimed at breaking the alliance between such elites and gangs with vested interests in conflict often lead to renewed violence because of the threat of peace that would offset their wartime gains. Labonte (2012 : 7) uses the phrase ‘elite capture’ to describe such situation when “elites control, shape, or manipulate decision making processes, institutions, or structures in ways that serve their self-interests and priorities, typically resulting in personal gain at the expense of non-elite and community interests and priorities”. 3 Tortuous Trajectory: Conflict and the Struggle for Peace in the Niger Delta The Niger Delta is one of the largest wetlands in the world, with its mangrove forests extending over 3750 square miles in its location around the tributaries of the River Niger in Southeastern Nigeria. The region contains over 95% of Nigeria’s known oil and gas reserves. Its populations of about 33 million are spread over the nine oilproducing states of Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers (Naanem 2007; Obi 2014) . The Niger Delta has been embroiled in one conflict or the other for several decades. Prior to Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the region and some other ethnic minority groups expressed fear of likely domination by larger ethnic groups after independence. The discovery of oil in Oloibiri in 1956 and the export of crude oil a few years later did not only launch the Niger Delta into the capricious global energy political economy, but also brought the region under the muzzling influence of transnational oil companies (TNCs) and local voracious elites (Tuodolo 2008). Thus, the Niger Delta conflict involves several actors and stakeholders. The conflict trends and trajectory have been driven mainly by poor response to local grievances. The inhabitants of the region accuse the national government of marginalizing the Niger Delta in the sharing of revenues from the Federation Account. Consequently, they agitate for a larger chunk of the rents since the oil is sourced from their homelands. They blame the larger ethnic groups (Hausa-Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba) who dominate political power for what they see as inadequate revenue allocation to oil-producing states and the enactment of obnoxious laws to dispossess the local people of their lands (Sagay 2004; Suberu 2001; Frynas 1999) . Also, the agitators have accused the TNCs including the global oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company, of environmental degradation and poor corporate responsibility because of the negative externalities of oil exploration especially gas flaring and oil spillage (Omeje 2006) . Besides the damage to human health, ecosystem, and local livelihoods such as farming and fishing, the monetary value of the flared gas is estimated at US$2 billion a year (Jack 2017) . Also, out of the estimated 387,168.87 barrels of oil spilled between 1976 and 1996, only 118,387 barrels were recovered (Jack 2017) . In addition, people agitate over the poor social services and terrible rates of unemployment and poverty in the region, which are believed to be higher than the national average (Oyefusi 2008) . Essentially, the inadequate state and corporate responses to these grievances have fueled a wave of mass mobilization for resource control and later self-determination, beginning in the 1990s (Eberlein 2006) . Even though the protests were largely peaceful, they attracted repressive reactions from the government including arbitrary arrests, detentions, assaults, rapes, and even extra-judicial killings (Isumonah 2013) . State highhandedness came to a head in 1995 when the renowned writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight Ogoni environmentalists were hanged by the Sani Abacha regime after a widely condemned trial by a military tribunal. This was followed by the destruction of communities accused of harboring militants by state security agents as was the case at Odi in 2000 (Okonta 2008) . These led to the emergence of insurgent groups with different motivations and a radicalization of the conflict from the mid-2000s. In February 2006, Jomo Gbomo (spokesman for the umbrella insurgent organization MEND) warned: All pipelines, flow stations, and crude loading platforms will be targeted, for destruction. We are not communists, just a bunch of extremely bitter men (Shaxson 2007: 205) . Truly, in a show of growing sophistication, MEND detonated car bombs with remote control in 2006 to warn the Chinese government against the oil deal with Nigeria. The group deployed Ak-47 and other deadly weapons including rocketpropelled grenades. This was followed by the targeted shooting of security agents, bomb attacks on oil infrastructures, and kidnapping of expatriate oil staff for huge ransoms. Insurgent assaults on oil installations and horrendous theft of crude oil cost the government $6.8 billion losses in revenue between 1999 and 2004 and increased dramatically to about $60 million per day (roughly, $4.4 billion per annum) in damages and lost revenues in 2007 (Watts 2007) . Similarly, over $1billion ransom was paid out to militants between 2004 and 2007 to secure the release of kidnapped oil workers (Campbell 2013) . At the peak of the insurgency in 2008, the Niger Delta renewed conflict had resulted in almost 1000 deaths (Onapajo and Moshood 2016) . As a result of the huge costs of insurgent violence on Nigeria’s rentier economy, the government was forced to set up a number of interventionist agencies to develop the impoverished Niger Delta region. Some of the agencies included the Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1992, the NDDC in 1999, and the MNDA in 2008. Several peace committees and commissions were also empaneled to ascertain both the immediate and remote causes of the conflict and recommend strategies for building peace. Unfortunately, most of the agencies were inadequately funded by government, badly managed by its officials including Niger Delta elites appointed to the boards, and the revenues allocated to the agencies were embezzled and hence they failed to realize their mandates and mitigate underdevelopment and conflicts (Omotola 2007) . Some Niger Delta governments, especially Delta and Rivers states, established reconciliation commissions between 2004 and 2007 with the aim of disarming militant youths and providing them with legitimate sources of income. But the reintegration phases of these programs failed and the arms for cash peace deals aggravated the conflict as the monies given to militants were used to buy new weapons (Africa Development Report 2008/2009) , hence the need for more concrete peace-building strategies. 3.1 The Presidential Amnesty Program Following the effect of dwindling oil production on the Nigeria’s rentier state coupled with the failure of using a repressive strategy to quell the Niger Delta rebellion, the Musa Yar’Adua administration on June 25, 2009 announced an amnesty package for militants in the Niger Delta. However, the state pardon was not without some historical developments. Three fundamental incidents resulted in the amnesty. First, the South-South Legislative Retreat organized by the Vanguard Newspapers in conjunction with the South-South governors in 2008 had suggested in its communiqué that amnesty should be granted to the militants. Second, the Security and Peace Committee chaired by then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan had visited the militant camps in the Niger Delta between 2007 and 2009 to encourage the militants to shun hostilities and embrace peace. Third, the Niger Delta Technical Committee headed by Mr. Ledum Mitee had also recommended the use of amnesty to mitigate youth restiveness in the region (Ikelegbe and Umukoro 2016) . In a show of sincerity of the amnesty, the government set up a Presidential Amnesty Implementation Committee headed by retired Major General Godwin Abe to oversee the program and approved a grant of ₦50 billion for its take off. The Niger Delta militants were given between August 6 and October 4, 2009 to surrender their weapons and accept the peace deal. For those in detention such as MEND leader Henry Okah, the government entered into a ‘nolle prosequi’ (no case). Thus, Okah who was standing trial for a 62-count charge was released. Probably because of government’s highhandedness in the past, a few militant leaders who were on the ‘wanted list’ of the government remained skeptical and were reluctant in accepting the amnesty. Such militant leaders included Ateke Tom of the Niger Delta Vigilante Service (NDVS) and MEND commander Government Ekpemukpolo (popularly known as Tompolo). It took the intervention of some local politicians before the duo and thousands of their foot soldiers were convinced to accept the amnesty on October 3, 2009. They had thought the amnesty was a government strategy to lure them out of their camps in the creeks for eventual prosecution (Aghedo 2013; Ushie 2013) . Thus, the Nigeria’s Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP) which was based on a DDR mantra was, however, unique in several respects. Unlike what was obtained in some other African countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, and Sudan where the DDR emerged as a contract between warring factions or as a condition for conflict resolution upon the attainment of victory by one side to a conflict (Carames 2009; Sanz 2009) , the Niger Delta case was different. The PAP was neither the outcome of outright war situation nor a bargain between warring factions. Also, unlike the other African experiences, the amnesty extended to Niger Delta militants did not involve the United Nations Organization, any of its specialized agencies, or any other international group for that matter. Therefore, it was seen as a ‘home-grown’ solution to the perennial Niger Delta conflict. Yet, in line with recognized international standards of DDR programming, the Nigerian experience was organized and implemented in phases as discussed below. 3.2 Disarmament As typical of most DDR programs, the disarmament phase involves the surrender of arms, arms control and monitoring, and arms destruction. In the Niger Delta, the surrender of arms by militants was done in three phases. The first phase was under the administration of Yar’Adua in 2009 when 20,192 agitators accepted the amnesty and handed in their weapons. The second phase took place in 2010 when Goodluck Jonathan was acting president following the death of Yar’Adua who initiated the PAP. Under the second phase, 6166 militants were granted amnesty. Most fighters captured under this phase had complained of their exclusion from the initial phase. However, 842 non-militant youths were selected from communities affected by violence and included in the second phase (Ikelegbe and Umukoro 2016) . The third phase occurred in 2012 after the election of Goodluck Jonathan as president. Under this phase, 3642 militants were granted amnesty bringing the total number of the beneficiaries of the state pardon to 30,000 (see Table 1 below). Consequent upon this, all the arms were surrendered at the six designated depots in Edo, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states. A total of S. no. Event First phase of amnesty Second phase of amnesty Third phase of amnesty Demobilization and transformational training Formal education and vocational training Transformed ex-militants for reintegration Employment generation 287,445 ammunitions, 2760 assorted arms, 18 gunboats, 763 dynamite sticks, 1090 dynamite caps, and 3155 magazines among other weapons were surrendered by the ex-fighters (Agbiboa 2013) . A breakdown of submitted weapons reveals that 82,406 came from Rivers State, 139,877 from Bayelsa State, 52,958 from Delta State, 9748 from Cross River State, 9725 from Ondo State, 959 from Akwa Ibom State, and 722 from Edo State (Ikelegbe and Umukoro 2014) . They were stored at the 82 Division of the Nigeria Army in Enugu in December 2009 and finally destroyed in May 2011. The government made it clear that there would be no cash for arms. However, the sum of ₦1500 was paid to each ex-militant for feeding in a day. Also, a monthly stipend of ₦20,000 was paid to the ex-fighters, bringing the total payments to ₦65,000 in a month (Aghedo 2013). 3.3 Demobilization Usually, demobilization exercises involve registration, transportation, cantonment, as well as pre-discharge orientation and discharge of ex-militants. In line with this tradition, the demobilization of ex-militants in the Niger Delta included the identification, registration, and documentation of the ex-militants in different camps. The rehabilitation exercises which started in 2010 were done in batches and included biometric documentation, physical wellness checks, counseling, career classification, and non-violence transformational training. The exercises took place at the Obubra Camp in Cross River State. The demobilization phase was concluded in December 2011. 3.4 Reintegration Normally, the reintegration program entails both formal and vocational training as well as business development and employment support of ex-militants. Both educational and entrepreneurial support have been provided for ex-militants by the Nigerian government. Vocational skills acquisitions and trainings have been provided in agriculture, automobile, welding and fabrication, oil drilling and marine, boat building, carpentry, plumbing, information and communications technology, entrepreneurship, and others. As at August 2017, a total number of 22,000 ex-militants had been trained in vocational and entrepreneurship development. Similarly, 5000 ex-militants had also acquired formal education according to the Amnesty Coordinator Paul Boroh. The ex-militants were educated in 28 foreign institutions in 15 countries and 36 local institutions in 10 states in Nigeria. This brings the total number of those trained in both vocational and formal education to 27,000 out of the initial 30,000 ex-militants. Boroh said more of the remaining 3000 will be graduated before December 17, 2017 (Premium Times, August 28, 2017) . Thus, there is no doubt that the PAP has recorded some success stories. Despite the current resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta, the amnesty policy has prevented a full-blown ‘resource war’ since 2009. But for the PAP which has been used to rein in militancy and allowed unhindered oil production, the current economic recession of the country would have been worse. Despite the sharp fall in the price of oil in the last 2 years, Nigeria has managed to keep its oil production above two million barrels per day through the instrumentality of the PAP which has been strategically used to secure the social license to operate. Beyond the economic gains, the PAP has also engendered other benefits. For instance, the amnesty program has resulted in the empowerment of many youths through skills acquisition and formal education locally and abroad. Certainly, most of the beneficiaries of the government gesture would not have been able to afford such trainings on their own. Even more heartening is the fact that a few of them have been provided with employment. For example, four ex-militants who were enrolled at the Benson Idahosa University in Benin City graduated with First Class and were employed by the university as lecturers (Jannah 2017) . What is more, even some former militants were elected as lawmakers in the Rivers State legislative assembly in 2015 (Isine 2015) . Notwithstanding these success stories, the implementation of PAP has been fraught with challenges many of which stem from the undue influence unleashed on the peace process and its beneficiaries by the political elites. 4 Youth in Elite Power Calculus: Peace Building and the Politics of Securitization The activities of the Niger Delta political elites have corrupted rather than consolidated the peace efforts in the area. Even though illegal, these diverse political manipulations are functional as they are aimed at promoting the interests of the elites. The strategies can be summarized under the following sub-headings for analytical convenience, even though they are more mutually reinforcing than exclusive. 4.1 Violent Empowerment in the Democratic Process Political competition in the post-military era has witnessed immense transformation across Nigeria in recent years, especially in Niger Delta states where huge rents accrue on account of the derivation principle used in allocating oil-related rents. Considering their mastery of violence, ex-militants have been well sought after by politicians during elections to steal ballot boxes, scare voters away, harass opponents, and sometimes assassinate political rivals of those they support. Such criminal interface between disgruntled elites and some ex-militants is mostly revealed when they fall out usually after election. For example, former militant leader Solomon Ndigbara (popularly known as Osama bin Laden), who has been declared wanted by the security agents since 2016 for gun running and kidnapping in the Ogoni area of Rivers State, recently granted a press conference and accused both political, religious, and traditional elites for his ordeal and the resurgence of violence in much of the Niger Delta: Politicians have made me homeless. When I was here (Gokana), there was no cultism. The chiefs, the churches are not helping matters. Because of politics, politicians bought guns for the youths for election. After politics, they (politicians) cannot take the guns away from the youths. That is why they (youths) are using them for kidnapping. Some traditional rulers are members of cult groups. You cannot stay in Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoniland, till 6 pm without being kidnapped (Alabi 2017) . Sadly, the use of ex-militants to perpetrate electoral violence has posed a huge threat to the Niger Delta peace process. For example, during the re-run election in Bayelsa State in 2016, over 17 persons including two soldiers and four policemen were shot dead by ex-militants and other youths employed by desperate political elites (Oluwalana 2016) . The re-scheduled elections in seven out of the eight local government areas of the state were marred by violence, especially in Brass, Nembe, and Ekeremor towns and several parts of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area. Ballot boxes and other election materials were snatched at gun points by thugs employed by politicians, forcing voters to scuttle for safety (Oluwalana 2016) . Even during the Edo State 2016 gubernatorial election, some ex-militants were arrested with AK47 rifles while working for some local politicians (Ikeke 2016) . Despite the widespread condemnation of such violence locally and internationally, election results are announced and winners declared, making a mockery of democracy in Nigeria. One respondent in Port Harcourt confirmed the culpability of the elites when he opined: The elites can go to any length in abusing the young people to achieve their aims. They employ them as thugs, kidnappers, assassins, name it. In doing this, they arm them with deadly weapons. But unfortunately, when they quarrel, the youths who have been armed go away to make a living with the weapons, making the quest for peace a difficult and unrealizable task.1 Such elite mobilization for violence sometimes extends beyond the sub-national level, thus widening ethno-religious cleavages in the country. Such was the case during the 2015 presidential election campaigns between the incumbent president, 1 Interview with a civil society advocate in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on December 11, 2016. southern Christian and Ijaw-born Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former military head of state and northern Muslim Muhammadu Buhari of the Action Congress of Nigeria (APC). The campaign for the PDP in the south was characterized by hate speech. In the Niger Delta where Goodluck Jonathan hails from, local elites organized and sponsored protesters (known locally as ‘borrowed crowd’) with placards bearing inscriptions that Nigeria would be plunged into war if Jonathan did not win the election. Some ex-militant leaders including Government Ekpemukpolo and Dokubo Asari issued war threats during some of the rallies. The APC presidential flag bearer was called all sorts of names and even labeled an ‘Islamic terrorist’. As a result, northern youths were also paid and mobilized in a reprisal protests against the PDP flag bearer and Niger Delta militants leading to violent clashes (Ehiabhi 2015) . As noted by Olaniyan and Asuelime (2017) , divisive behaviors and utterances are often deployed by Nigerian rentier elites to widen social cleavages and in the process promote their selfish interests. One respondent explained the protesters’ motivations in both economic and ethnic terms when he said: Even though most of the protesters (remember some youths also joined the bandwagon uninvited) were financially induced, but some of them also participated because Goodluck Jonathan is our man. He is a son of the soil. Apart from being an Ijaw person, Goodluck is also a Christian.2 Such widening of social cleavages and ‘son of the soil’ syndrome promote politics of acrimony which often result in ethno-religious conflicts between supporters and opponents of candidates. Besides, such patron–clientelist relations between rich elites and poor followers involve the exchange of “‘goods’ in the form of projects, gifts, offices and other pecuniary gains to client” (Olumuyiwa and Akinpelu 2007: 426) . The clients reciprocate by giving their loyalty, largely objectified through votes—a practice inimical to the ideals of democratization. 4.2 Corruption and Economic Sabotage of Oil Infrastructures Besides arming youth groups for mayhem, some so-called political leaders have connived with ex-militant leaders to embezzle peace-building funds, especially those meant for the former ‘camp boys’ of the ex-militant leaders. In a recent development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested some exmilitants and bank officials who colluded with them to divert the ₦3 billion meant to pay 1500 beneficiaries of the amnesty program. The properties in which such embezzled funds were invested were also confiscated by the anti-corruption agency (Akinkuotu 2017) . Such corrupt enrichment and profiteering from the peace process leads to public protests by those short changed, resulting in arson and threat to public safety. As evidenced by the assassination of ex-MEND leader Soboma George by his former protégés for tampering with their stipends, such corruption also fuels conflicts and violent killings (Aghedo 2013) . However, such embezzlement of 2 Interview with a youth leader in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on August 15, 2015. amnesty funds is not without the connivance of the elites as shown by the alleged diversion of ₦2.8 billion between March 2012 and 2013 by the former Coordinator of the Amnesty Program Kingsley Kuku and a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (Akinkuotu 2017) . Furthermore, elites have also deployed unemployed militant youths to perpetrate large-scale oil theft known locally as ‘oil bunkering’. Even though this economic sabotage was used as a means of financing militant campaigns in the pre-amnesty era, it has witnessed a huge surge in recent years (Peel 2009) . Certainly, the illegal tapping of crude oil from pipelines or well heads does not only affect the rentier economy negatively, but also degrades the environment through oil spillage as “significant portions of stolen crude are spilled blighting large swathes of the ecosystem” (Chukwu 2011: 56) . However, even some ex-militants admit that the crime is perpetrated by all manners of people including themselves, oil industry staff, political elites, and security officials. According to one ex-militant leader: Militants and ex-militants are often blamed for oil bunkering and the oil spill that follows such activity. But a lot of people are involved. Sometimes, even the ex-militants work for or work with politicians who provide the security coverage and help secure release when things go wrong. Serving and some former oil workers provide the technical know-how. Also, many security agents such as naval, army, and police officials do not only collect bribes on land and seas from those involved in bunkering but they also get involved in the planning and execution of the act. Even many security officials pay big money to influence their posting to areas where bunkering happens because of the monies they get from it.3 In confirmation of the organized crime, many political and security figures have been indicted in the last few years. There was a puzzling incident in 2010 in which the Joint Task Force (JTF) confiscated two vessels owned by two retired generals for alleged oil bunkering. It was later alleged by the managing director of Tim Afriuque Services at a press briefing that the JTF commander had requested a ₦50 million gratification before he could release the two vessels whose contents laboratory tests had proved illegal. The JTF commander denied the allegation and handed over the vessels to the EFCC office in Port Harcourt. After a short while, the EFCC released the vessels saying that there was no proof of illegality against them (Chukwu 2011; Peel 2009) . It is alleged that elites who sponsor oil bunkering syndicates use the money realized from the crude theft to finance their political activities and other business interests (Oyefusi 2008). 4.3 Undermining the Rule of Law and National Cohesion In the same vein, several calls for ex-president Goodluck Jonathan to be invited for questioning over the corruption scandals which characterized his administration and involved many of his aides have met with stiff opposition from Niger Delta exmilitants. They accuse the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration as 3 Interview with an ex-militant leader in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on August 28, 2015. politically motivated, threatening to resume bomb attacks on oil infrastructures if such ‘witch hunt’ was not stopped and the pipeline protection contracts awarded to them under the Goodluck Jonathan administration not reinstated (Ebegbulem 2017) . Even the ongoing prosecution of some Niger Delta ex-militants by the Department of State Services (DSS) is being resisted with protest by ex-militants aided by local politicians who have condemned the DSS for allegedly detaining gang leader Mr. Sely Kile Torugbedi without trial (Sahara Reporters July 2, 2017) . Though the incumbent Buhari administration has used its anti-corruption policy more for ‘persecution’ rather than ‘prosecution’ because of its fixation on people in rival parties, the opposition to the rule of law by Niger Delta elites and ex-militants is underpinned by the moral economy of corruption. Indeed, most African rentier elites are characterized by hybrid traits on account of poor accountability, since they have lee recourse to taxation. They rely on state power for access to material wealth which is largely misused and distributed to families and friends in a moral economy of reciprocity (Banfield 1967) . Even though this cultural give-and-take tradition is functional as it enables the elites who are fragmented along regional, ethnic, and religious lines to mobilize and manipulate primordial sentiments in promoting their selfish interests, they fuel abysmal corruption and identity conflicts (Smith 2004) . Even more appalling is the fact that such opposition to the rule of law has been extended beyond Nigeria. For instance, during the trial of James Ibori, former governor (1999–2007) of Delta State at the Southwark Crown Court in London, a number of ex-militants and Ibori’s loyalists from Nigeria flew to London to stage protests and chant songs for his freedom (The Nigerian Voice 2011) . However, despite this glorification of corruption, Ibori was convicted of nearly £50 million (about $77 million) fraud and money laundering and was jailed for 13 years in 2012 (BBC News, April 17, 2012) . Earlier, efforts to arrest Ibori were resisted by militant youths who attacked the police team in Oghara, thus aiding the influential politician to escape to Dubai. He was later arrested by Interpol in Dubai and extradited to the UK where he pleaded guilty to charges leveled against him by the Metropolitan Police (BBC News April 17, 2012; Okonjo-Iweala 2012) . Even Westerners attest to the hybrid character of Niger Delta militant youths. ExAmerican ambassador to Nigeria perceptively noted that the umbrella militant organization MEND was “highly decentralized with its political goals muddled by gang warfare, ethnic strife, and criminal opportunism” (Campbell 2013: 65) . On account of such mixed motives in conflict situations, Keen (2006) admonished that conflict should not be explained at face value and understood as a contest between two or more opposing groups (e.g., elites versus militants) because many so-called enemies derive incentives from conflict situation and collude to promote their vested interests by promoting conflict rather than building peace. No doubt, the criminalization of the peace process has posed a huge challenge to the realization of the goals of PAP. Perhaps because of elites’ incentives in the conflict situation, they have been clamoring for continuation of the peace deal which has been extended to 2018. But in what appears to be light at the end of the dark tunnel, some ex-militants have recently become critical of the roles of the Niger Delta elites in the peace process by calling on them to stop their nefarious activities and allow peace to prevail. According to Reuben Wilson (former militant leader and now president of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative): Though some politicians may want to derail the said efforts of Boroh and cause unnecessary tension and distractions in the region, but we want to say that working together in synergy with the federal government should rather be considered by all (Utebor 2017) . Similarly, some politicians have begun to admit that they messed up the chances for Niger Delta youths to grow into responsible adults. The newly elected senator of Rivers East Senatorial District, Chief Andrew Uchendu, blamed the political, traditional, and religious elites for the underdevelopment of the youths and their disposition to violence (Vanguard September 1, 2017) . 5 Peace of the Graveyard: Understanding the Logic of Violence in the Post‑amnesty Era A number of explanations could be advanced for the peace of the graveyard4 in contemporary Niger Delta region. First, this ‘no war, no peace’ situation engendered by elites’ abuse of the amnesty program is a fallout out of political desperation. Certainly, political actors in Nigeria conceive politics as investment that must yield profitable dividends. This crude conception of politics makes the struggle for power to assume a ruthless and zero sum dimension, leading to the deployment of violent strategies to secure access to public position (Ake 1996) . Thus, this violent struggle is largely driven by primitive wealth accumulation on account of the enormous oil rents accruing to state coffers from the Federation Account. Thus, the amount of wealth accruing to an office determines the amount of violence deployed to occupy the office by the elites. While this is a nation-wide phenomenon, political desperation in the Niger Delta has been exceptional because of the huge rents allocated to the oil-producing states based on the exclusive principle of derivation. As the table below shows, the revenue accruing to Rivers State in the Niger Delta exceeds those of some African states put together. Rivers State revenue compared with that of four other African countries. Source: Francis et al. (2011: 44) Population (millions) 2009 budget (USS)TR 4 As used here, ‘graveyard peace’ refers to a situation of forced peace which is not sustainable. GDP per capita (USS) These huge rents have turned political competition to a ‘do-or-die’ affair where politicians resort to all instruments of violence to ‘win’ elections. This came out strongly in the view expressed by one respondent when he said: Politics is too lucrative in the Niger Delta region. The state governments control the huge revenues from the federal government. Their revenue allocations are the highest in the federation because they are oil producing. As a result of these oil rents, the politicians use all means possible to acquire government power. This is why the rate of violence is higher here than in other parts of the country. These politicians employ energetic young men, particularly former militants who know how to handle the gun. They pay and arm these young people to destroy the property of their political opponents. Politicians mastermind the beating, kidnap, or even assassination of their rivals. Election in Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers states are always like war.5 Despite the political goal and collective ideology of justice of youth organizations such as MEND, a number of ex-militants have always had a criminal bent and maintained close ties with political godfathers in the region. This association has enabled the politicians to arm the insurgents and deploy them against political opponents. As Billy Dudley argued, that politics is “the principal avenue to wealth and the possession of wealth the ‘pathway’ to membership of the political class” (Dudley 1970: 53) . This symmetry has resulted in a horizontal and hierarchical stratification of society, “with politics becoming the chief means to the acquisition of wealth, and membership of the political class became a highly sought after goal” (Dudley 1970: 53) . The case of the Bakassi Boys is exemplary on this point. The Bakassi Boys vigilante discharged an effective anti-crime mandate in the eastern Nigerian cities of Aba and Onitsha until they were hijacked by local politicians. After derailing the Bakassi Boys, politicians used them to harass their opponents and to perpetrate different forms of human rights violations including extra-judicial murders (Meagher 2007) . Similarly, the corruption of a number of militia groups by local political actors in northern Nigeria led to their derailment and eventual metamorphosis of some of them into insurgent movements (Last 2008) . Equally, the alliance with disgruntled politicians granted the insurgents access to oil rents, especially through the amnesty deal. For example, between 2009 and 2011, a whopping sum of ₦127 billion was allocated to PAP from the federal budget. The lack of openness and transparency that characterized the disbursement and expenditure of these rents led to their embezzlement by politicians and ex-militant leaders (Ushie 2013) . As one interviewee noted: Peace will continue to elude the region until some of us politicians and socalled former warlords (ex-militant leaders you called them) stop privatizing the money allocated to build peace. How could the sum of ₦90 billion have been used to feed former militants between 2009 and 2011 alone? If not to ensure that the amnesty funds go to the wrong hands, why does the govern5 Interview with a professor of sociology at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, December 12, 2016. ment pay the monthly stipends meant for ex-fighters into the bank accounts of their leaders rather than directly to the boys? This is the Niger Delta, the more you look, the less you see.6 As noted earlier, some politicians and ex-militant leaders have corruptly enriched themselves with monies meant for their protégés, leading to protests and the assassinations. Relatedly, perhaps for their loyalty and services to the political elites, former warlords in the region were politically ‘settled’ with lucrative pipeline protection contracts during the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Revelations have emerged that ex-militant leaders Dokubo Asari, Victor Ben Ebikabowei, Ateke Tom, and Government Ekpemupolo were paid annually huge sums of $9 million, $3.8 million, $3.8 million, and $22.9 million, respectively, to protect the oil pipelines they used to vandalize in the pre-amnesty era (Eke 2014; Oriola et al. 2013) . The revocation of such shady contracts and ongoing prosecution of some Goodluck Jonathan’s aides over the US$2.1 billion arms scam since 2015 has continued to elicit threats against oil infrastructures. Interestingly, while the amnesty funds and the huge rents dispensed as patronage favored some youth groups particularly those of Ijaw extraction, they excluded others including many women and children who lost their breadwinners. The ethnic lopsidedness of the peace process was expressed by one respondent who said: The Ijaw political elites have used the amnesty program to mainly benefit their people. Prominent Ijaw and a few Urhobo politicians were given slots to provide names as beneficiaries of the amnesty. Such gesture was hardly extended to the Itsekiri and Isoko ethnic groups. Even in sending former militants abroad for training and in awarding pipeline protection contracts, the Ijaw people were favored because of the influence of their politicians under the Goodluck Jonathan administration. This is why the Itsekiri and Isoko militants who surrendered their weapons have been protesting their abandonment since. But they have not been listened to.7 Certainly, such ethnic favoritism by both national and local elites has fueled the power tussle between the Ijaw-born Tompolo and the Itsekiri youth leader Ayiri Emami. However, while the charge of Itsekiri marginalization is true to some extent as evidenced by the recent pacification of the ethnic group with 52 UK scholarship slots, yet Ijaw indigenes’ dominance on the PAP may be because oil extraction activities and negative externalities take place more in their littoral areas more than anywhere else in the region. To worsen the situation, the state has practically been building peace on insecurity as many of the legitimate grievances in the region have been neglected. Thus, Ndubuisi Nwokolo argued that, “strategies initiated as peace-building mechanisms are actually settlement matrixes” (2017: 500) As a result, political elites and ex-militants have capitalized on such grievances to promote their private agendas which 6 Interview with a former House of Representatives contestant in Warri, Delta State, February 11, 2017. 7 Interview with an Itsekiri youth leader in Warri, Delta State, February 13, 2017. they rationalize as public interest. According to former militant leader Paul Eris (aka Ogunboss): The same deplorable roads they took to Abuja are what they are still plying to return to Yenagoa (referring to Niger Delta politicians). Did you see the bad roads when you were coming? (Yes, sir). Can you believe that this state has produced a President (referring to Goodluck Jonathan) and three ministers? The reason why we are opposed to Buhari disgracing these corrupt Niger Deltans is not because we are happy with them, but just because we do not want to wash our dirty linen in public.8 Obviously, the persistence of such pre-amnesty grievances such as lack of basic infrastructures, high rate of environmental degradation, destruction of local livelihoods, and widespread corruption has been further compounded by the crisis of stigmatization and unemployment of militants granted amnesty. This predisposed ex-fighters to elite violent mobilization. Again, the viewpoint of Paul Eris is insightful on the subject: This boy (pointing to one of his boys) was trained by the Amnesty Office as a pilot. Yet, every effort to get him a job has failed because of the label of exmilitant. If you board a plane and you get to know that the pilot is an ex-militant, would you not jump down? This country is so useless that if you kill one person, you are a murderer whereas if you kill a thousand, you are a hero. The government only hears the sound of guns, not of voices as we are currently doing in the post-amnesty regime. If we go to where we came from (referring to the creeks) the government will begin to listen to us again and take our grievances seriously.9 The reintegration phase of the peace process has been the most challenging on account of inadequate employment opportunities for thousands of youths who have been trained as argued above. Thus, Nigeria is yet to learn from the Ugandan experience where several ex-fighters were recruited into the security agencies including the military, police and other Para-military services (Sanz 2009) . Therefore, the continuation of many legitimate grievances in the post-amnesty era as well as the excessive monetization of the amnesty deal for politicians and ex-militant leaders makes many hitherto peaceful youths to perceive that violence pays and that it is the surest way to be on government payroll. The mobilization of ex-militants by politicians plus the new perception about the incentives of violence are fueling the mushrooming of new militant groups, continued attacks on oil infrastructures, and resultant disruptions in the region as shown in the figure below. 8 Interview with former militant leader Paul Eris in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, August 15, 2015. 9 Interview with former militant leader Paul Eris in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, August 15, 2015. From the foregoing analysis is the fact that the peace process and its policy execution machinery have been captured by the elites, who now use the same in ways that serve their self-interests, typically resulting in personal gain at the expense of non-elite and community priorities. Thus, one of the most salient explanations for elites’ growing privatization of peace building and promotion of youth insecurity is the weakness of public institutions such as those charged with the responsibility of executing PAP. Also, elites’ culture of impunity and rising criminalization of themselves and the youths are a manifestation of the weakness of the police and criminal justice system which have been vitiated by corruption and manipulation by influential individuals (the so-called godfathers). Even the political parties and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which are supposed to ensure strict compliance of groups and individuals with the rules governing electoral competition have largely become dysfunctional. Hence, elections are no longer free, fair, credible, and acceptable. Therefore the Weberian notion of the state as a formal, institutionalized, neutral, and independent umpire that is unencumbered by the influences and interference of the private sphere does not portray the reality in much of Africa, especially Nigeria. 6 Conclusion Following the resurgence of violent activities in the Niger Delta region where the PAP has been implemented since 2009, this study problematized and scrutinized the relationships between the elites and youths in the peace process. Despite the salience of DDR programming in both local and international processes of peace building and post-conflict reconstruction, the Niger Delta experience has been more of a cog in the wheel of progress because of the prebendal culture of elite corruption and youth violent manipulation. The study revealed that in a bid to capture the enormous revenues accruing to the oil-producing Niger Delta states from the Federation Account, the rentier elites have criminalized a number of amnestied and some hitherto law-abiding youths by involving them in the violent struggles for political power and other self-regarding agendas. Thus, the deployment of ex-militants as cannon fodders in elites’ turf battles has corrupted rather than consolidated the much needed peace in the oil-rich, but volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The foregoing discourse has revealed some pertinent issues regarding peace building and political power in Africa’s natural resource-endowed contexts such as the Niger Delta. As admonished by Keen (2000 : 19), “Those who wish to facilitate peace will be well advised to understand the nature of war”. Therefore, to forestall elite manipulation of young persons for violence, there is need for institutions to be strengthened. Structures for governmental power formation, such as political parties, and institutions charged with the responsibility of conducting free, fair, and credible elections such as the INEC should be strengthened to ensure effective performance. Rather than politicians, less partisan groups such as civil society organizations and international civil society organizations can help in the re-training of staff and monitoring of their activities.10 Also, the criminal justice system needs to be overhauled to ensure that perpetrators of infractions are brought to book no matter their social status or political influence. Finally, the Nigerian economy needs to be diversified to obviate the debilitating effects of dependence on oil rents. This will not only reorient political leaders and followers alike toward the imperative of taxation and its inherent accountability logic, but it will also make them eschew violence in the struggle for political power. 10 While corruption is widespread across Nigeria, however, civil society organizations are less corrupt and better organized perhaps because activities and funds are monitored by their donors. Ndubuisi Nwokolo is a post-doctoral fellow (non-residential) at the School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham, UK. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in the political economy of oil conflicts, as well as an advanced M.A in conflict and sustainable peace studies from the University of Leuven. His research and policy interests center on issues of natural resources conflict and governance, security, peace building, and sustainable development in fragile and developing states, especially Africa. Iro Aghedo is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. He was educated at the universities of Ibadan and Benin in Nigeria, and the College of NorthWest London and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in the UK. 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Ndubuisi Nwokolo, Iro Aghedo. Consolidating or Corrupting the Peace? The Power Elite and Amnesty Policy in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, Chinese Political Science Review, 2018, 1-23, DOI: 10.1007/s41111-018-0098-y