The present truce in Nigeria’s southern oil region will last as long as the government and rebels make progress in peace talks, the leader of the main militant group in the Niger River delta has announced.

Henry Okah, the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or Mend, said President Umaru Yar’Adua assured him that his government would talk to all groups in the region, reported Bloomberg.

MEND announced an “indefinite cease-fire” on 25 October following the meeting.

Armed attacks in the southern Niger Delta, home to Nigeria’s oil industry, have shut plants operated by Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron Corp and Eni, curbing production of light oil.

MEND wants states in the oil region to have total control over their oil resources while paying tax to the central government.

At present 13% of oil revenue goes to the states that have the oil wells, with the remainder going to the central government.