Youths from Ijaw extraction in the nine states of the Niger Delta have condemned the killings going on across the country by suspected Fulani herdsmen, calling on the government to put an end to the senseless killings.
The youths, under the auspices of Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum, also demanded the establishment of oil and gas colony for the region against the backdrop of plans by the Federal Government to establish cattle colony for the herdsmen.
The National President, PANDLEAF, Richard Akinaka, expressed these positions during a press conference heralding the inauguration of the Bayelsa State chapter of PANDLEAF in Yenagoa on Saturday.
He said the issue of establishing colonies for herdsmen was wrong, insisting that it was the responsibility of herdsmen as private business people to take private and personal responsibility to advance their business interests and not that of the government.
Akinaka said, “As a people, we have taken that position that herdsmen are private business people. Some of us who have private businesses, take private and personal responsibility to advance our business interests.
“If herdsmen want land and spaces to do their business, they should acquire them within any of the states and do their business as it demands the way it is done elsewhere all over the world where you have people get ranches for their cattle and people go there to buy cattle for consumption purposes.
“So, that is the best thing to do. Government does not need to buy land for a private businessman and all of that. But if that is what the government wants to do, we are asking for oil and gas colony for our people too.
“We should be given extra reserve right to take full responsibility of our oil and gas industry because that is our area, that is our environment.
“We suffer environmental problems. So, if they want colony for their cattle, we want colony for our oil and gas business.”
He advised members of the Niger Delta Avengers to always engage in intellectual struggle in advancing their agitations rather than resorting to old-fashioned idea of armed struggle.