The Nigerian government plans to offer Niger delta inhabitants a 10% stake in oil ventures, the Financial Times reports

Nigeria plans to offer 10 % of its oil and gas operations to inhabitants of the oil rich Niger Delta in an effort to suppress dissent in the region which is hampering oil production, according to the Financial Times.

The bold move awaits approval in parliament but faces objections from representatives of other regions, said the FT.

Militants in the Niger Delta region have led a sustained campaign against the Nigerian government and the international oil industry.

The Nigerian president, Umaru Yar’Adua, reportedly backs the idea of transferring 10 % stakes from the holdings of the national oil company in the joint ventures that exploit Nigeria’s vast oil reserves.

Seven joint ventures between the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and foreign oil groups in the delta account for 70 per cent of Nigeria’s production. The NNPC holds between 55 % and 60 % in each, said the FT.

Attacks on oil facilities have cut production in Nigeria by as much as 40% in recent years, reported the paper.

‘The majority of the delta’s estimated 28m people live amid despoiled waterways often lacking basic services,’ read the FT’s story.