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Nigerian Rebels Demand Greater Share Of Oil Wealth

Nigeria's main militant group has issued its demands for ending years of attacks on oil installations and security personnel. The demands follow its declaration last week of a 60-day unilateral ceasefire.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) says the government must implement what it calls true federalism: it must reduce the powers of the federal government and its share of the country's revenue. MEND says if its demands are not met within 60 days, it will suspend the ceasefire.

Innocent Chukwuma is former chairman of the Transitional Monitoring Group, a pro-democracy group that monitors elections. He said the call by MEND raises the controversial issue of who should control the country's vast oil revenue.

"[MEND wants] a situation where the mineral-bearing and oil-producing communities will control the resources that are exploited from their region and pay the federal government taxes instead of what you have now, where the federal government explores and distributes a paltry sum to the other states."

MEND is not advocating the break-up of the country, Chukwuma said.

"I see their demands as when you are going into negotiation, you make an offer and the other person responds."