Niger Delta Militants Keeping an Eye on Nigeria’s Electoral Race

Niger Delta Militants Keeping an Eye on Nigeria’s Electoral Race

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria -- Nigeria's militants will keep a close eye on the upcoming presidential election but have no plans to disrupt them, according to a commander of one of the armed groups that in recent months have stepped up attacks on foreign oil installations in the petroleum-rich Niger Delta.

The leader, known as "Commander Akoko," said in a recent interview with World Politics Review that his gunmen, who number in the thousands, are "prepared to die" in their effort to force the Nigerian government to make good on promises to use oil wealth to improve infrastructure in the impoverished delta.

"If we all have to die, then we are prepared to die," said Akoko, an imposing figure whose real name is known only among his followers and militant supporters. "It's better to die trying to change things than leave them as they are."

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