Friday, June 26, 2009

Nigeria May Release Key Activist From Niger Delta

Nigeria 'to release key militant'

Nigeria's government is offering clemency to oil rebel leader Henry Okah as part of its 60-day amnesty deal for militants in the Niger Delta.

Mr Okah is facing trial on charges of gun-running and treason after being arrested in Angola in 2007.

His release will depend on whether Angola agrees to it, President Umaru Yar'Adua's spokesman said.

The main militant group in the oil-producing Delta had said it would not disarm unless Mr Okah was freed.

The amnesty move is an effort to end years of attacks on the region's beleaguered oil industry, which have severely cut output.

A presidential pardon, rehabilitation programme, education and training are being offered to militants who give up their arms by 4 October.

The militants claim they are fighting for the rights of local people to benefit more from their region's oil wealth.

But many attacks in the lawless region are undertaken for financial gain.

"Henry Okah will be offered the amnesty after the president has sent the envoy to Angola," said presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi.

"If [Angola] accepts, he will be released."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/06/26 15:33:15 GMT

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