Thursday, October 5, 2017 11:48 am
While some of his colleagues were still busy issuing ‘ultimatums’ to the Federal Government and oil companies, ex-militant leader, Paul Eris is gradually turning to a big rice farmer in Southern Ijaw creeks of Bayelsa State.
The ex-militant leader popularly known as `General Ogunboss’ is using 53.5 hectare in of the 2500-hectare Peremabiri Rice Farm for farming. He currently has over 100 workers in his employment.
While playing host to youth delegation of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Wednesday, the ex-militant leader commended Federal Government for supporting his rice venture which he said has two milling machines for its operations.
The IYC delegation visited the rice venture, known as Tanko Farms during the visit to Eris at his country home in Peremabiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday.
Eris told his guests that he is being supported by the Federal Government in the rice venture. For one, he said had received 320 bags of paddy through Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the first quarter of 2017.
He also informed the youth delegation that government had also awarded him a 10-tonnage rice mill to boost production.
He, however, said the lack of access road to Peremabiri was the greatest challenge affecting businesses in the area.
The IYC delegation commended Federal Government for supporting rice project undertaken by Eris.
The IYC President, Mr Pereotubo Oweilaemi, said “permitting Tanko Farms owned by Eris, ex-militant leader to use a section of the 2500-hectare Peremabiri Rice Farm for rice farming was a step in the right direction.”
He said the rice farm which created jobs for over 100 youths, had great potential to create wealth and more job opportunities for youths from various Ijaw communities.
He added that the farm project would also help in solving youth restiveness in the Niger Delta.
The IYC president said, “I want to commend Federal Government for deeming it necessary to do something tangible through our brother to ensure that our people are meaningfully engaged.
“I said it at various fora that when Niger Delta youths are meaningfully engaged, it will curb restiveness in the region and this rice farm is one key project that can solve the crisis situation in the region.”
Oweilaemi, however, appealed to government to do more by establishing more agricultural projects that would absorb more youths, noting that the swampy nature of the region’s terrain was suitable for rice farming.
He assured Eris that the IYC would stand by him in the rice farm project, noting that the former militant leader had proven to be a true Ijaw son who had shown sufficient interest in the progress of the Ijaw nation.