Leaders of most of the Niger Delta rebels have agreed to discuss with the government how the most recent amnesty offer will be implemented. The government also offered to release MEND leader Henry Okah, if he accepts the amnesty. Previously, the government had refused MEND demands that Okah be released. MEND, however, refuses to participate in an amnesty deal without also taking care of the needs of the Niger Delta population, who live in poverty and pollution amidst all the oil wealth. The government says the amnesty will run from August 4 to October 6. During that time, the government and rebels can negotiate the precise terms of the deal, and take or reject it.
Some rebel groups were quick to accept the amnesty, but MEND is holding out for a larger agreement. This has split the Ijaw tribes, who are a majority group in the Delta. Many Ijaw want to accept the amnesty in order to stop all the violence, but many in MEND will only settle for more oil money, not more empty promises.
Oil production is down by over a million barrels a day, because of MEND attacks on pipelines, and now two Nigerian oil refineries have shut down because their supply of oil has been halted by a MEND attack. The government cannot guard all the pipelines, because there are so many of them.
June 26, 2009: World oil prices rose to over $71 a barrel because of increased attacks on Nigerian oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
June 25, 2009: The government offered a new amnesty deal to Niger Delta rebels. Many rebels will not accept it. The reason is the way it is worded. For example; " The unconditional pardon granted pursuant to this proclamation shall extend to all persons presently being prosecuted for offences associated with militant activities" still allows people to be prosecuted for crimes not associated with "militant activities." Amnesty offers to Niger Delta rebels are often refused because some of those who came forward to accept the amnesty, were arrested anyway (either by corrupt cops, or because there were other crimes, outside the amnesty offer, that some rebels were wanted for.) Many of the current Delta rebels were, or still are, gangsters of long duration.
June 22, 2009: Several hundred oil company workers have been evacuated from facilities threatened by MEND attack.
June 21, 2009: MEND claims three attacks on oil facilities, resulting in 185,000 barrels a day not getting shipped.
June 19, 2009: MEND claims another pipeline destroyed in the Niger Delta, along with the capture of seven soldiers they encountered.