Nigeria has resumed payments to former militants in the Niger Delta region as part of an amnesty deal reached in 2009. The payment of cash stipends were granted to militants on condition they stop carrying out oil pipeline attacks and kidnappings in the volatile area.

The government stopped the payments in February 2016, angering militants who accused authorities of breaching the amnesty program.

"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," Piriye Kiyaramo, an officer in the government's Amnesty Office, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

As part of the deal, each former militant is entitled to 65,000 naira (£167.30; $206.68 ) monthly and job training.

The payments resumed months after President Muhammadu Buhari met leaders of the Delta region to discuss solutions to renewed violence in the oil-rich area, marred by violent attacks carried out by militant groups.

Attacks on oil pipelines, carried out mainly by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) , have brought Nigeria's oil production to a 30-year low.

The group, which says it fights to end disenfranchisement of impoverished communities in the Delta and obtain greater shares of oil revenues, vowed to bring the country's oil production "to zero".

Nigeria, one of Africa's biggest oil producers, currently produces 1.8m bpd (barrels per day). Oil output was 2.2m bdp at the beginning of 2016, before attacks started.

Earlier this year, Buhari said the Nigerian government would invest $10bn (£8bn) in the area to build infrastructure and put an end to the militant insurgency in the area.

Leaders from the Delta presented a 16-point proposal to resolve renewed violence. The document calls, among other things, on the full implementation of the amnesty programme to reintegrate ex-militants in communities, assist displaced people, improving infrastructure and clean-up territories damaged by repeated oil spills.

Buhari welcomed the 16-point request, but claimed leaders in the Delta "had more to do" to ensure peace, given their influence on militant groups in the area.


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