“I am aware he has made his intention known,” said Abbe, who also heads the presidential committee on amnesty. “It shows that those who really want genuine development in the Niger Delta are embracing the amnesty programme.”
The military launched its biggest offensive in the region for years last May against Tompolo and his supporters, destroying a number of his camps.
Tompolo had been involved in negotiations over a possible amnesty with the authorities before the military campaign, security sources said.
The amnesty programme has split militant factions in the region with hundreds of rebels, including dozens of senior leaders, surrendering their weapons to the government.
But MEND, responsible for attacks that have wrought havoc on Africa’s biggest energy industry in the last three years, said last week it had halted amnesty talks and threatened to resume its campaign of violence next month.
MEND, which says it is fighting for a fairer share of the region’s oil wealth, said it considered rebels that take clemency to be sell-outs.
The government has denied giving cash for arms under the amnesty programme.
Pic: Nigerian insurgents