Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom has expressed serious concerns over the rising insecurity in Nigeria, saying the security architecture is gasping for breath as nobody is safe anymore.
The governor also said since the federal government has consistently failed to disarm the Fulani terrorists maiming and killing his people at will, the state government would apply for a License to legally procure AK47, AK49 and other sophisticated weapons for the Benue State Volunteer Guards (BSVG) to enable them defend its people.
The state government had before now, procured 30 operational vehicles and 200 communication gadgets to enable the guards function maximally.
And speaking Thursday at the passing out parade of the guards in Makurdi, the governor said the worsening insecurity in the country had complicated security situation in the state as other forms of criminality were creeping in due to the failure of the federal government.
This, he said, forced the state government to revisit the State Vigilante Law of 2000, enacted to complement the conventional security agencies to address emerging security issues.
He noted that by the provisions of the new law, the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards was given the powers to carry legally approved weapons duly provided.
The governor said: “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 a state government, this is one expensive investment that 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.
“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.
“But as we all witness the Passing-out Parade of these able bodied young men, we believe that security will improve in Benue State.
“Similarly, the issue of banditry, kidnapping, robbery, etc, and most of all, the issue of terrorist Fulani herdsmen’s attack would be reduced to the barest minimum.
“Let me add here that operations of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards would be strictly guided by the “Benue State Community Volunteer Guards Law”.
“Any personnel found operating outside the said Law would be shown the way out forthwith,” he added.
He said: “In addition, given the fact that the Federal Government has consistently failed to disarm the terrorists who have continued to maim and kill our people at will, the State Government is going to apply for a license to legally procure AK47, AK49 and other sophisticated weapons for the Benue State Volunteers Guards to enable them to tackle these terrorists effectively.
“To do this effectively, the Benue State Government had approved a two-week capacity building programme for five hundred (500) personnel of the Community Volunteer Guards to learn some basic paramilitary aspects. The training which began on 29th June 2022 with five hundred (500) participants drawn from the 23 Local Government Areas and the three Senatorial Districts ended on 12th July 2022.”
And barely 48 hours after his directive to Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operational and air component commanders to maximise the deployment of firepower against terrorists and other criminal elements, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has approved the immediate appointment and redeployment of new branch chiefs, Air Officers Commanding (AOCs) and other senior officers.
A statement by NAF spokesperson Thursday in Abuja, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said the newly appointed branch chiefs are Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Jackson Yusuf, formerly Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP) who is now the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP) Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF), Abuja, AVM Oluwafemi Ogunmola, former director of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance now Chief of Communications Information Systems (CCIS), HQ NAF, AVM Aliyu Bello, former Chief of Standards and Evaluation (COSE) is now redeployed as the CTOP, HQ NAF, Abuja while AVM Nkem Aguiyi takes over as the Chief of Air Intelligence (CAI) and AVM Hassan Abubakar, former AOC Logistics Command is now the Chief of Standards and Evaluation.
The statement said the erstwhile COPP, AVM Charles Ohwo, is now the Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation, Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Abuja, AVM Abubakar Liman, former CAI is now the director of Space Utilization, DHQ, AVM Hycinth Eze, former Group Managing Director (GMD) NAF Holding Company takes over as Director of Production, DHQ, AVM Musa Muktar takes over as the GMD NAF Holding Company while AVM Raimi Salami, the erstwhile CCIS is now the Director of Strategy, DHQ.
“The newly appointed AOCs are AVM Precious Amadi, AOC Tactical Air Command (TAC), Makurdi, AVM Abubakar Abdulkadir, AOC Special Operations Command (SOC), Bauchi, AVM Nnamdi Ananaba, AOC Air Training Command (ATC), Kaduna while AVM Emmanuel Shobande takes over as AOC Logistics Command (LC), Lagos,” the statement added.
In his message to the new appointees, Air Marshal Amao reminded them of the need to continually seek for effective and efficient means of deploying the resources at their disposals in line with the reviewed NAF counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategy.