As part of efforts to support security agencies in the fight against insecurity in Benue state, Governor Samuel Ortom, has inaugurated the state community volunteer guard.
Ortom, who spoke at the passing-out of the 500 personnel, being the first batch of the state guards, said the creation of the security outfit was a response to the failure of the federal authorities to fulfill its constitutional mandate of securing the lives and property of all Nigerians.
“As a state government, this is one expensive investment that we would have preferred to avoid if it was not forced upon us by the perpetual siege that has been mounted on our land by vicious Fulani terrorists.
“Benue State, with a well-earned nickname as the Food Basket of the Nation, with its arable land and large bodies of fresh water, is now under threat of conquest and occupation by these terrorists.
According to him, the genocidal terrorists have consistently attacked hundreds of Benue communities, claiming over 5,000 lives from 2011 to date with over 1.5 million in IDP camps across the state.
“It is owing to this failure that the Benue state government under my watch decided to revisit the Benue State Vigilante Law of 2000, which was enacted to complement the conventional security agencies in the state to address emerging security issues.
“The law had to be amended by this administration to pave way for the volunteer guards to assist the conventional security agencies to curb insecurity in the state. By the provisions of the new law, the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards can therefore now carry legally approved weapons which we have duly provided.
“In addition, given the fact that the Federal Government has consistently failed to disarm the Fulani terrorists who have continued to maim and kill our people at will, the state government is going to apply for license to legally procure AK47, AK49 and other sophisticated weapons for the Benue State Volunteers Guards to enable them tackle these murderous terrorists effectively.”
Ortom expressed the belief that issues of banditry, kidnapping, robbery and terrorists herdsmen attacks would be reduced to the barest minimum.