Militants in Nigeria's restive oil region have today invited actor George Clooney to visit the area and asked for United Nations intervention in the conflict.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday designated Clooney as a UN "messenger of peace" to promote the UN's activities, especially in its far-flung peacekeeping missions.
The 46-year-old actor has been campaigning for an end to the war in the Darfur region of Sudan and for humanitarian aid for the millions caught up in the conflict.
Nigeria's Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta congratulated Clooney on his appointment and invited him to visit the impoverished region, which has been wracked by two years of fighting, bombings and kidnapping of foreign workers.
The group said the unrest in the region was building up to a crisis that would dwarf Darfur's and asked for the UN to take an unspecified role in the conflict.
"We suggest that the UN should take a proactive step to nip the Niger Delta unrest in the bud before it is too late," it said in a statement.
The militant group has so far used Africa's biggest oil industry as a leverage point to pressure Nigeria's government to meet its demands.
Those include more oil revenue for the impoverished region and the release from prison of some of the group's top leaders.