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Benue to decide on weapons purchase if FG fails — Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Thursday said the people of the state would decide on the procurement of sophisticated weapons if the Federal…

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Thursday said the people of the state would decide on the procurement of sophisticated weapons if the Federal Government fails in the next one month to respond to its written application to the appropriate quarters.

Ortom said his administration had for the past three months applied for a license to legally procure AK47, AK49 and other sophisticated weapons for the Benue State Volunteers Guards to enable them to tackle terrorists.

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The governor made this known in his address during the passing-out of the second batch of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guard at the IBB Square in Makurdi.

“I have on behalf of the Benue State Government applied to the responsible Federal Government Agency for approval to procure automatic weapons, particularly AK47 assault riffles to further strengthen your logistic support base and your defence capability.

“I am still awaiting approval from the Federal Government to deal accordingly. I’m still waiting for the federal government’s reply after three months but if the federal government does not reply in the next one month, I will revert to my people and will do whatever they tell me,” he said.

Ortom however stressed the need for the 1,100 newly inaugurated Volunteer Guards who are an addition to the first batch of 500 personnel birthed on August 4 to work closely with conventional security agencies in the state to curtail insecurity.

“We will have 10,000 personnel before the end of my tenure,” he added.

The governor emphasised that the formation of the Guards would help unprotected rural farmers, travellers and residents live a deserving life of protection.

“Towards this end, the Benue State Government has already procured some essential equipment as permitted by the Law and handed them over to the Police for use by the Community Volunteer Guards (BSCVGs) for effective crime fighting.

“Motor vehicles and motorcycles have been available to you directly and additional equipment in the form of motor vehicles and motorcycles among other tools necessary for your optimal performance are being procured and will be made available to you as part of essential logistic tools for crime-fighting,” the governor said.

Earlier, the State Security Adviser, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba (Rtd), said that the Marine wing of the volunteer Guards had already been approved by the state government as he warned that no act of indiscipline will be tolerated by its personnel.

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