The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has urged Ijaw youth leaders in the Niger Delta to close ranks and promote the peace and unity of the Ijaw nation everywhere.
Gov. Dickson, who spoke when he met with Ijaw leaders across the Niger Delta, who paid him a solidarity visit, says development could only thrive in an atmosphere of peace.
The governor expressed serious concerns over issues of power tussle and internal wrangling for positions in the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) stressing that, he does not endorse factions for elective positions within the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
While commending the leaders for their solidarity and support, during and after the last gubernatorial election in the state, he noted that, as patriotic Ijaws who came out in defence of the common interest of the Ijaw people, when it was needed.
“You gave me your support when it was most needed for the sake of the Ijaw nation, to defend it at a very critical period”, Dickson said.
However, on the reports that he had ceded a portion of land to herdsmen for grazing, Dickson described the rumour as the handiwork of his detractors, who he said are afraid of his rising profile and trying to incite Bayelsans against him and the herdsmen.
“I will not allow herdsmen to have clashes with our farmers in the state, and that is why the government has taken a proactive step to provide a grazing area, the Bayelsa palm to forestall insecurity.
“Some people are inciting Bayelsans to violence against herdsmen and fellow Bayelsans.
“After now, the government will arrest any herdsmen found with cattle in our communities.
“The action of government is in the best interest of Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation”. He said.
In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Mr. Austin Dressman commended the leaders for their solidarity visit, noting that, Governor Dickson’s love for the Ijaw nation was unflinching.
He however, urged other Niger Delta governors to emulate the government in Bayelsa.