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ACTION RESEARCH ON NIGER DELTA REGION, PEACE BUILDING AND DEVELOPMENT

When oil exploration began in the Niger Delta region in the late 1950s, the people expected that it would make a huge difference to their lives. The machines and technology that they saw indicated that their lives would change positively. However after over fifty years, they realized that oil had brought misfortune and misery. Their natural resource had become a curse. Their land was taken for exploration, exploitation, pipelines and platforms. The negative externalities of oil  and particularly the devastation of land and water upon which the livelihood sources, livelihoods and specifically primary economies of farming, fishing and hunting depend has deepened poverty, unemployment. These conditions of marginality have combined to create multifarious crises in the region. The amnesty programme as a political settlement of the Niger Delta’s violent conflicts was an attempt at the resolution of conflicts and peace building in the region. Despite the major innovation associated with the amnesty programme which has been on since 2009, less attention has been paid in the literature to the systematic analysis of the sustainability of the programme and the lessons that can be learnt in its implementation in similar sub-national and national political settlements in conflict areas in other parts of Nigeria where new forms of violence have emerged in recent years. The focus of CPED research is to critically interrogate the amnesty and the political settlement leading to it, in terms of perceptions, discourses and conversations that undergird it; the nature of bargains, understanding and consensus constructed around it; the content and methods of the amnesty; the nature of inclusiveness, equity, justness and gender sensitivity; the levels of legitimacy and sustainability of the settlement; the challenges of compliance, implementation and accountability, and the impacts on violence mitigation, conflict resolution, peace building, development of the region and state building. The research programme aims to increase Nigerian policy makers and other stakeholder’s knowledge of evidence-based policies and programmes that will contribute to sustainable peace and development of the Niger Delta region.