Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue on Thursday said his government was forced to establish a state Community Volunteer Guards to check incessant terrorists’ attacks on Benue residents.
The governor disclosed this on Thursday while inaugurating the first batch of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards comprising 500 personnel.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inauguration was done on Thursday in Makurdi.
“This very expensive investment would have been avoided if it was not forced upon us by the perpetual siege that vicious terrorists have mounted on our land.
“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.
“The genocidal terrorists have consistently attacked hundreds of Benue communities, burning, killing, raping and maiming thousands of persons and committing other unspeakable atrocities,” Ortom said.
The governor lamented that the reign of terror had driven over 1.5 million persons from their ancestral homes and communities who were now living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps.
He said that the guards would be assisting the conventional security agencies to curb insecurity in the state.
“By the provisions of the new law, the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards can now carry legally approved weapons which we have duly provided.
“It is a fact that the Federal Government has been unable to disarm these tribal terrorists who have continued to maim and kill our people at will.
“As a result, the state government will apply for the Licence to legally procure AK47, AK49 and other sophisticated weapons to enable the guards tackle these murderous terrorists effectively,” the governor said.
He assured that with the passing-out of the able bodied young men, security would improve in the state.
He said that the guards would be strictly guided by the “Benue State Community Volunteer Guards Law”, stressing that any personnel found breaching the law would be sacked.
Ortom further assured conventional security agencies that the guards would always work in collaboration with them to fight crime.
The Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, pledged the full support of the traditional institution to the guards.
Ayatse cautioned them to operate according to the laid down laws, advising that they should not indulge in criminality. (NAN)