By Paul Okolo
Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Nigerian rebel leader Ebikabowei Ben, also known as General Boyloaf, said he has accepted an amnesty offer from President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Ben, a leader for the Movement of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta in the southeastern Bayelsa state, was among 32 rebels who handed themselves over in Abuja today. Ben made the comments at the presidential villa in Abuja.
Boyloaf was not acting on behalf of the movement, and a replacement has been named “to take over his command”, movement spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an e-mailed statement on Aug. 4.
Rebel groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta have kidnapped oil workers and sabotaged oil facilities in the region since 2006, to win a greater allocation of oil wealth for their people. The attacks have cut Nigeria’s oil exports, its biggest foreign- revenue earner, by more than 20 percent and made operators such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Total SA, Chevron Corp. and Eni SpA scale back investments.
Yesterday saw the start of a broader government amnesty plan under which fighters in the southern delta, which accounts for nearly all of Nigeria’s oil and gas output, must hand in their weapons within 60 days to avoid prosecution.
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