The last of the Niger Delta rebel leaders has agreed to stop fighting and has surrendered all his group’s weapons in return for an unconditional pardon.
However, the umbrella group for all the Delta militants, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta or MEND, says “unknown commanders” had replaced those who accepted the amnesty. It says the next phase of its campaign will begin soon. For several years groups in the Delta have been fighting to get a bigger slice of Nigeria’s vast oil wealth, which lies under their land. They are among the poorest communities in Nigeria despite this. The militants have targetted oil companies, kidnapping workers and shutting down production. The historic leader of MEND, Henry Okah, who was freed in July after being found guilty of high treason, says resistance should continue as the government has yet to respond to any of the local people’s demands.