Written by Scholastica JOSEPH

Renewed killings: Group wants law empowering locals to bear arms

Following renewed attacks on innocent citizens in Benue communities, the youth wing of Kwande United People's Organisation, KUPO, has demanded for a legislation to empower locals to acquire arms for self defence.

President of the organisation, Mr. Stephen Atsaga, who stated this while speaking to journalists said continued killing of locals by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen informed their position.

Mr Atsaga was speaking on the recent killings in Kwande local government area of the state, noted that dead and chopped bodies of locals, killed and chopped by armed herdsmen are still been evacuated from the Benue north eastern LGA.

Although the police put casualty figure at three, Atsaga said one of the locals involved in the evacuation of dead bodies, Akerigba Lawrence, counted no less than seven bodies with two persons missing.

While wondering why innocent citizens are being killed without provocative, Atsaga explained that the gunmen came on motorcycles, took vantage positions and opened fire on the locals who had gone for their legitimate fishing business.

Kwande youths therefore stated that if the locals are empowered by legislation to carry arms for self defence, it will help to stop the "madness."

According to the youth group, "incessant criminal activities of herdsmen within Kwande and other parts of Benue State have forcefully sniffed out life in thousands of our people, destroyed thy economy of the whole communities, rendered thousands of children out of school, with thousands still living in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps.

"The military Operation Whirl Stroke may have done much to contain the situation, however, the problem is still with us. Just yesterday, not less than five persons who went fishing at Waya, Turan in Kwande LGA of Benue State were killed by these armed men.

"We are losing patience and that is why it has become necessary that all men of conscience join their voices to impress on our lawmakers to pass this life saving legislation," Atsaga said.

The KUPO youth leader said since herdsmen "freely carry arms," it is only rational to empower locals to also carry same otherwise they are losing patience.

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