Ortom: Terrorists Have Killed over 5,000 in Benue Since 2011
*Insecurity: There may not be credible election in 2023, NNPP declares
*Launches 500 Volunteer Guards to Be Armed with AK-49, Wage War Against Terrorist Fulanis
George Okoh in Makurdi and Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has revealed that the unprovoked attacks by terrorists on unarmed people of the state since 2011 have claimed more than 5,000 lives.
Ortom said this yesterday, during the passing out parade of the first batch of 500 personnel of Benue State Community Volunteer Guards at Makurdi.
This was just as the Katsina State chapter of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) yesterday decried worsening insecurity across the country and expressed concern that the outcome of the 2023 election may not be acceptable and credible.
Ortom said the worsening insecurity in the country had complicated Benue State’s security situation, saying other forms of criminality had started creeping in due to the federal government’s refusal to decisively address insecurity.
Ortom said it was due to the failure of the federal government that the state government 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.
He explained that the law had to be amended by his administration to pave the way for the Community Volunteer Guards to assist the conventional security agencies to curb insecurity in the state.
According to the governor, “By the provisions of the new law, the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards can therefore carry legally approved weapons which we have duly provided.”
Ortom maintained that although the campaign of terror had spread across Nigeria, Benue State was specifically targeted because of his, “administration’s insistence on the rule of law rather than the rule of terror and for always standing with my people in their refusal to surrender their land, identity and Judeo-Christian faith and values to the Islamisation agenda,” he said.
According to Ortom “The Benue State Community Volunteer Guards represent our modest attempt to support our communities in their daily struggle to escape the worst of the atrocities of the terrorists Fulani herdsmen.
“As we all witness, the passing-out parade of these able-bodied young men, we believe that security will improve in Benue State.”
The governor also expressed optimism that “The issue of banditry, kidnapping, robbery and most of all, the issue of terrorists Fulani herdsmen attack would be reduced to the barest minimum.”
He stressed that operations of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards would be strictly guided by the enabling law, warning that any personnel found operating outside the law would be shown the way out.
Earlier, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba (Rtd) had said the first batch of 500 personnel of the Community Volunteer Guards have been trained as riot squad, unarmed combat squad and intelligence gathering to work with conventional security agencies at the grassroots to curb insecurity, urging the personnel to be professional in the discharge of their duties.
The Tor Tiv and Chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Ayatse in a goodwill message commended the State House of Assembly for enacting the enabling law and pledged the full support of the traditional institution to the security outfit.
President-General of Mzough u Tiv, CP Iorbee Ihagh, (Rtd) and President-General, Tiv Youth Organization, Timothy Hembaor also gave goodwill messages on behalf of socio-cultural organisations in the state.
Insecurity: There’ll Not Be Credible Election in 2023, Says NNPP
Meanwhile, the Katsina State chapter of the NNPP has decried worsening insecurity across the country, and expressed concern that the outcome of the 2023 election may not be acceptable and credible.
The party expressed fear that the 2023 general elections might not hold as planned if the spate of insecurity and killings across the country were not urgently tackled by the federal and respective state governments.
Speaking at a media conference in Katsina, the chairman of the party, Hon. Sani Liti, added that the escalating waves of insecurity across the country might affect the credible conduct and result of the forthcoming general elections.
He reiterated that the pervading security challenges confronting Nigerians, especially in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna and Niger States if left unchecked, would affect the conduct of free and fair election in the country.
He added that the government in power may use the security challenges bedeviling the nation to deprive eligible voters from electing candidates of their choice, particularly in frontline states, during the 2023 poll.
According to him, “The state spate of insecurity in Nigeria is alarming. We therefore reiterated our call for a state of emergency on security in some states in the North-west and the North-central regions, including Katsina State.
“So, there is a need for the government to declare a state of emergency on security in the states for six months in order to address the security challenges; if not, there will not be credible elections in 2023.”
The NNPP chairman, however, admonished residents of Katsina State to devise local means, including negotiating with the terrorists in order to end insecurity in the state.
Launches 500 Volunteer Guards to Be Armed with AK-49, Wage War Against Terrorist Fulanis
Governor Samuel Ortom has declared Benue’s readiness to confront killer herdsmen killing and kidnapping residents, especially farmers in the state.
The governor disclosed this on Thursday during the passing-out parade of the first batch of 500 community volunteer guards held at the IBBS Square, Makurdi.
According to Ortom, the establishment of the security outfit is in response to President Muhammadu Buhari regime’s failure to secure lives and property in Benue against marauding killer herdsmen.
‘As a state government, this is one expensive investment 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. Their reign of terror has led to the displacement of over 1.5 million persons from their ancestral homes and communities who are now living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps,” the Benue governor stated.
He added that the “recurrent and wanton attacks by terrorist Fulanis on unarmed and innocent people of Benue State have claimed over 5,000 lives from 2011 to date,” declaring that “we are ready to wage war against this evil with the last pint of our blood nobody can intimidate us.”
“Benue State government is going to apply for a licence to legally procure AK-47, AK-49 and other sophisticated weapons for the Benue State Volunteers Guards to enable them to tackle these murderous terrorists effectively,” Ortom announced. “Over 30 operational vehicles and 200 communication gadgets have been procured in addition to motorcycles to patrol the hinterlands.”
He urged the guards to abide by their rules of engagement and complement the efforts of conventional security agencies, warning that anyone found wanting would be sacked and prosecuted.