Nigeria's government has resumed paying stipends to former militants even as security forces' air and ground assaults have reportedly killed scores of fighters disrupting petroleum production in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

President Muhammadu Buhari's government is using power and persuasion in a bid to halt attacks on oil installations that have cut production from 2.2 million to 1.2 million barrels a day. The attacks have slashed the budget of a government dependent on oil for 70 percent of its revenue.

The Nigerian Air Force says it has been bombing militant observation posts, anti-aircraft guns and boats laden with stolen oil.

Residents say scores of militants have been killed.

The government this week resumed paying ex-militants a monthly stipend of 65,000 naira (about $200) suspended in February amid allegations of corruption.