One of the most influential leaders from the Niger Delta has vowed to continue his struggle to keep more oil wealth in the region, following his release from prison on bail.

Mujahid Dokubo-Asari was freed yesterday on health grounds after being held on treason charges for almost two years.

His release has been a key demand of armed groups who have staged numerous attacks on oil installations. The move is seen as part of the new government’s pledge to bring peace to the troubled Niger Delta region. He was ordered not to engage in any political activity but he said that would be impossible. “There is no way I can stop addressing my people,” he said.

Meanwhile in the Delta, Shell has announced that it is planning to cut its spending on Nigerian operations by at least $100 million in next few years. The cost-cutting program is to cope with the company’s declining revenues and rising costs amid the ongoing security problems in the Delta.

The news that Asari has been released will not go down well with Shell execs either.