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    Ortom okays arms-bearing vigilantes for Benue

    The Benue State Government, on Thursday, approved the establishment of vigilante groups to combat the high rate of insecurity in the state.

    Governor Samuel Ortom disclosed this when he briefed journalists on the outcome of the expanded stakeholders’ meeting held at the new banquet hall of the Government House.

    Addressing journalists on the resolutions of the meeting, Ortom, who said renewed attacks on the people by armed herdsmen had overstretched security agencies, noted that the state government had decided to enforce “the law to provide for the establishment of community volunteer guards (vigilantes).”

    He said the vigilantes would be constituted from the community to local government levels to complement the operations of conventional security agencies across the state.

    Ortom explained that the recruitment process would commence immediately, adding that those to be recruited would be within the age range of 18 to 50 and mostly ex-service men.

    The governor stated, “Those to be recruited are ex-service men and people from 18 to 50 years, and they must have stable sources of income and must have lived in their respective communities for a minimum of six years and they must be of impeccable characters and be loyal.

    “All the vigilantes must carry weapons that are licensed so that anytime there is external aggression, they must be able to rise up to defend themselves.”

    The governor said the state government has been mandated to support the vigilantes with logistics as provided in the law, adding that the recruitment of personnel should be carried out in the 23 local government areas of the state. The three socio cultural associations in the state, the Mdzough U Tiv Worldwide, Ochetoha, K’Idoma and Omini Igede passed a vote of confidence in the governor.

    Copyright PUNCH.

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