Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has asked youths in the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large to shun violence and other forms of criminalities.
The group urged them (youths) to take full advantage of the opportunities that abound and available for them.
The Chairman, IYC, Central Zone, Mr. Tare Porri, who spoke on Saturday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, appealed to youths in the region, especially those who engaged in kidnapping, sea piracy and other negative vices to change their ways.
Porri, however, said it was unacceptable for other ethnic nationalities and the Nigerian nation to continue to refer to Ijaw youths as “militants, lazy and violent people.”
He said, “The idea of saying that Ijaw youths are militants does not arise. Take for instance, the Ijaw people produced a 27-year-old military officer as the military governor of old Rivers State. How old was Melford Okilo when he became the governor of Rivers State?
“Ijaw people, especially the youths, at their various levels, have contributed immensely to the economy growth and peaceful development of this country and as such, it is unacceptable when other ethnic nationalities and the Nigerian state tag our youths as violent, lazy and militant.
“It takes courage, determination, and boldness for you to attain whatever height you want to attain. We are not violent; Ijaw people in this country are the most peaceful and most hospitable ethnic nationality in Nigeria and that position cannot be controverted.”
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