Nigerian militants attacking oil installations in the Niger Delta have called a ceasefire and expressed a willingness to negotiate with the government.
"We are going to continue the observation of our unannounced cessation of hostilities in the Niger Delta," the Niger Delta Avengers group said on its website Saturday.
“We will give our Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders that tacit support to go to the dialogue table with [the] government and the multinational oil corporations whenever the enabling environment prevails,” Niger Delta Avengers spokesman Mudoch Agbinibo said in a Sunday statement.
“But we promise to fight more for the Niger Delta, if this opportunity fails.”
The announcement follows months of attacks on the country's oil and gas infrastructure that have crippled the economy.
Niger Delta Avengers has called for the local population to receive a share of the profits from oil production and also demands regional self-government.
There have been other reports of alleged ceasefire announcements in the past that were denied by the group. The latest announcement is the first made through a channel linked to the Niger Delta Avengers.
“We are all watching how the government will respond,” Niger Delta local leader Chief Godknows Febabor told dpa.
“The boys have given heed to the appeals of the elders to give peace a chance. Most of us in this country today are affected by the collapse of the economy,” Febabor said.
The presidency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Some 70 per cent of state income depends on oil and gas in Africa's largest national economy. Oil production has slumped since the attacks.