BEVERLY HILLS, January 21, (THEWILL) – Youths from Ijaw extraction in the nine states of the Niger Delta under the auspices of the Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum (PANDLEAF) have asked the federal government to establish an oil and gas colony in the region.
THEWILL recalls that the Federal he Government, through the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, had proposed cattle colonies as a solution to the crisis between herdsmen and farmers saying the colonies would take effect next week.
But speaking at the inauguration of the Bayelsa state chapter of PANDLEAF in Yenagoa on Saturday, Richard Akinaka, President of the forum, 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.
He stated that if herdsmen want land, they should pay for it as it is the practised all over the world adding that if the government wants colony for cattle, the Niger Delta people also need one for oil and gas.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Akinaka, however, 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.