By Sunday Iduh
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said the establishment of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards (BSCVGs) was not just a mere celebration of the involvement of the people in protecting themselves but also, a milestone in the effort to ensure a stable, peaceful and united Nigeria where all and sundry shall enjoy equal rights and God given freedom.
He stated this Thursday during the Passing-Out of the second Batch of Benue State Community Volunteer Guards (BSCVGs) at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) Square, Makurdi.
The governor reiterated that the essence of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards Law as amended was to complement the formal security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police in crime prevention and securing of lives and property in Benue State.
“I believe, all well-meaning Nigerians feel very challenged over the spate of wanton killings and abductions being meted out on Nigerians, especially on the unprotected rural farmers, travelers and defenseless students.
“All of us, as Nigerians, have a responsibility to check this evil, the intrusion of those who are set to decimate, take over and control our resources and destiny as a nation with every deserving force and will.
“This giant step towards self-defence is indeed a clarion call to Nigerians of nationalistic and patriotic spirit to rise and not only support our cause but also throw in their weight to maintain and sustain our lives and nationhood,” he stated.
Governor Ortom explained that the BSCVGs Law would strengthen and give meaning to the law banning open grazing of all forms of domestic animals, enacted by the Benue State Government in 2017 to prevent incessant attacks on farming communities and to encourage ranching as the international best practice in animal husbandry.
He urged the command structure of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards to operate strictly within the ambit of the law, in order not to betray the powers bestowed on them by the people. “Remain apolitical, conscientious, courteous, vigilant and strong to stand firm and protect the people.
“It is important for you to be mindful that the conventional security agencies are your allies and your success depends on how well you synergize with them as co-workers,” he maintained.
The governor assured them of adequate support. “On our part, the government and people of Benue State will continue to give you moral support, pray for you and equip you adequately to succeed in the performance of the onerous responsibility you have taken upon yourselves,” he added.
In a remark, Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Titus Uba called on the federal government to establish state police to effectively tackle security challenges across the country.
Special Adviser to governor on Security, Col Paul Hemba (Rtd), who explained that the state has been experiencing different forms of security challenges, expressed optimism that the local security outfit would assist conventional security operatives in the task of neutralizing the threats.
Hemba stated that they have also created a marine unit within the volunteer guards for effective policing of the water ways. He said the personnel have acquired training in the areas of physical combat, radio communication skills, bomb handling, intelligence gathering among others.
Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Ayatse represented by the Tor-Kwande, Chief Ambrose Iortyer and Och’Idoma, His Royal Majesty, John Elaigwu commended the governor for his vision in the establishment of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards. They gave assurances that the traditional rulers will give them all the needed support.
They, however, charged them to work entirely for the purpose for which the outfit was established.
The second batch comprises of one thousand, one (1,100), bringing the total number of personnel to one thousand, six hundred (1,600) as five hundred (500) personnel were earlier trained and inaugurated on August 4, 2022 for the first batch.