Niger Delta separatists quit discussions

July 12, 2005
Nigeria's effort to accommodate separatist forces threatening civil war fell apart July 11 when leaders from the oil-rich Niger Delta walked out of a political reform conference aimed at determining how to share Nigeria's oil and gas wealth.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, July 12 -- Nigeria's effort to accommodate separatist forces threatening civil war fell apart July 11 when leaders from the oil-rich Niger Delta walked out of a political reform conference aimed at determining how to share Nigeria's oil and gas wealth.

The Niger Delta's oil and gas reserves provide the federal government with 80% of its revenues. Armed militants have demanded independence and local control of the reserves.

Delta representatives had called for Nigeria's six oil-producing states to be given control over their resources, although they later said they were prepared to accept a simple increase in the amount of oil revenue accorded them. Conference representatives, however, decided they could not win even their minimum demands and walked out.