The detained leader of Nigeria’s main militant opposition group in the Niger Delta, Henry Okah, has accepted an offer of amnesty from the government. Okah is the head of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Observers expect the development to boost peace efforts in the region.
General Boy Loaf , a MEND commander who has been fighting Nigerian government forces in the Delta creeks, says the group will only fully disarm when Okah is released.
“It will be a good example if the Nigerian government will do it and show their sincerity once and for all by releasing Henry Okah,” General Loaf said.” I think it will be okay by people and by MEND in particular. Everybody will really be happy about that before solving other problems.”
The group is waiting to see if the government will honor its pledge to grant unconditional amnesty to all militants and leaders of the group, he added.
“I saw it in the Daily Times today,” Loaf said, “that the president has given the go-ahead to process all documents so that he would be released immediately. So I think we want to watch his words to see if he is a man of his words. I think he has never done that before by giving such a word.”
General Boy Loaf says MEND’s next move will be determined after consultations with Okah.
“When Henry Okah comes out, he will be in a good position to explain everything and I think he can take action on whatever he wants to do, because he is the leader.”