Approve weapons for Benue guards, Ortom tells FG

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, threatened on Thursday to procure AK-47 rifles for the State Volunteer Community Guards if his people approve of it.

Ortom spoke during the passing-out parade of the second batch of the State Volunteer Community Guards in Makurdi, the state capital.

He said he had applied to the Federal Government agency for approval to procure automatic weapons, particularly AK-47 assault rifles, but had yet to get a response.

“If there is no reply in the next one month, I will revert to my people to advise on what to do because the Federal Government is complicit on the issue of herders’ attacks on the state,” he said.

Ortom, who said state governments were working with the Federal Government towards transitioning from community policing to state police, added that when it materialised, personnel of the State Volunteer Community Guards would automatically be moved to join the state police.

He said the establishment of volunteer community guards was in response to the wanton killings and kidnappings in the state but added that they were to complement the conventional security operatives.

The governor admonished the guards to work strictly within the ambit of the law and to remain apolitical, conscientious, courteous, vigilant and strong.

The governor promised to recruit 10,000 personnel into the State Volunteer Community Guards before he exits office in 2023. 1,500 had already been recruited, with 500 trained and passed out in August this year. The latest batch comprises 1,000 personnel.

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