By Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Thursday inaugurated the state security group named “Benue State Volunteer Community Guards” to complement the efforts of the conventional security apparatus in the fight against insecurity in the state.
The governor, during the inauguration of the security organization at IBB Square in Makurdi, the state capital, reaffirmed his administration’s determination not to allow any group of determined individuals to cause unrest in the state capital. state of succeeding.
Ortom who revealed that recurrent and wanton attacks by Fulani terrorists on unarmed and innocent people in Benue State had claimed more than 5,000 lives from 2011 to date, recalled how 73 people were killed in one attack in January 2018 along with 17 other people, including two Catholic priests were killed in another attack by shepherds in April of the same year.
“Today, Nigeria’s security architecture is stretched thin because no one is safe anymore. Worsening insecurity in the country has complicated the security situation in Benue State as other forms of crime have started to seep in due to the Federal Government’s unwillingness to decisively address insecurity.
The Governor noted that it was as a result of this failure that the Benue State Government, under his leadership, decided to review the Benue State Vigilance Act 2000, which was enacted to supplement conventional state security agencies to address emerging security issues.
He said the law needed to be changed by his administration to pave the way for volunteer guards to help conventional security agencies tackle insecurity in the state.
“Under the provisions of the new law, volunteer community guards in Benue State can now carry legally approved weapons which we have duly provided.
“Furthermore, since the Federal Government has always failed to disarm the Fulani terrorists who have continued to maim and kill our people at will, the State Government will seek a license to legally procure AK47s, AK49s and weapons. other sophisticated weapons to Benue State Volunteer Guards to enable them to effectively fight against these murderous terrorists.
“To do this effectively, the Benue State Government has approved a two-week capacity building program for five hundred (500) community volunteer ranger staff to learn some basic paramilitary aspects.
Ortom further revealed that the training which started on June 29, 2022 with 500 participants from all 23 local government areas and three senate districts in the state ended on July 12, 2022, although he added that a date for batch 2 would soon be announced.
“As we all witness the parade of these able-bodied young men, we believe that security will improve in Benue State. Likewise, the issue of banditry, kidnappings, robberies and most importantly, the issue of terrorist attacks Fulani herdsmen would be reduced to a strict minimum.
“Let me add here that the operations of the Benue State Volunteer Community Guards would be strictly guided by the ‘Benue State Volunteer Community Guards Act’. Any personnel found operating in outside the said law would immediately be shown the exit.
The Governor also revealed that the Benue State Government has procured 30 operational vehicles and 200 communication gadgets to enable the volunteer guards to function at maximum.
While commending the state’s conventional security agencies for their continued efforts to ensure the peace and security of the loves and property of the people of the state, the governor assured that the volunteer guards will not compete with them or compete with them. will not substitute for them, but will cooperate, coordinate and collaborate with them, as appropriate, to safeguard and secure Benue communities.
He therefore appealed to all good people in Benue State to cooperate with the volunteer rangers by providing information that would help them in carrying out their duties, emphasizing that security is everyone’s business.