Dr Samuel Ortom, the governor of Benue State, Thursday, said over 5, 000 unarmed persons were killed by Fulani terrorists in the state since 2011.
Governor Ortom spoke Thursday at the passing out parade of the first batch of 500 personnel of Benue State Community Volunteer Guards at the IBB Square, Makurdi.
The worsening insecurity in the country complicated Benue State’s security situation as other forms of criminalities had started creeping in due to the federal government’s refusal to decisively address insecurity, Ortom said.
He said it was due to the failure of the federal government that his government revisited the Benue State Vigilante Law of 2000 enacted to complement the conventional security agencies in the state to address emerging security issues.
He said 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.
In his words, “By the provisions of the new law, the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards can therefore carry legally approved weapons which we have duly provided.”
Governor Ortom said although the campaign of terror had spread across Nigeria, Benue State has been 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 Islamization agenda’.
According to the governor, “The Benue State Community Volunteer Guards represents 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.”
He said the launch of the guards would reduce crimes in the state, adding that the operations of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards would be strictly guided by the enabling law. He warned that any personnel found operating outside the law would be shown the way out.
The special adviser to the governor on security, Lt Col Paul Hemba (Rtd), said the first batch of 500 personnel of the guards had been trained as riot squad, unarmed combat squad and intelligence gathering to work with conventional security agencies at the grass roots to curb insecurity. He urged the personnel to be professional in the discharge of their duties.
The Tor Tiv and chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs, His Royal Majesty, Professor James Ayatse, commended the state House of Assembly for enacting the enabling law and pledged the full support of the traditional institution to the security outfit.