Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom yesterday declared that community policing will augment the capacity and the strength of the Nigeria police.
Ortom who stated this while speaking with newsmen in Abuja said the N13.5billion that was approved for community policing will support the logistics of training the recruits whom he said will report to the police but will also work hand in hand with Vigilante Groups.
He also reiterated his suggestion that licence for sophisticated guns should be issued to responsible Nigerians, noting that it is genuine and reflective of his passion for Benue and Nigerians.
While he added that it is left for the Federal Government to look at his suggestion, he stressed that the call was for an update of an existing law which grants license for dane guns which are no match for what bandits and killer herdsmen use when they attack.
He said, “On community policing, this is a policy that all the North-central Governors and the Inspector General of Police met sometime ago and we jointly agreed to augment the capacity and the strength of the Nigeria police, we need to do something that will arise from the community to support the police.
“So it is a policy that we engaged the rural people and government is told to find ways of giving them stipends but the police will train these recruits. Already we have done the recruitment from all the 276 wards, so I think the next thing is for the training to take place. I believe that the N13.5billion that was approved will support the logistics of training these people, otherwise we had undertaken that the local governments and states will jointly see how they can provide stipends so that these people will report to the police and support the police police but they will work hand in hand with Vigilante Groups.
“We have arrested about 400 herdsmen and some are not even Fulanis but majority of them are Fulanis and we have prosecuted them. Today we have convicted more than 130 herdsmen who are already serving various jail terms and some have paid fines. We have arrested over 9000 cattle but as the law stipulates, once you pay fine we release them to you and you transport them. You no longer go on foot with those cattle within Benue state.
“The issue of foreign herdsmen coming, I am happy that the Inspector General of Police some few days ago did say that these herdsmen are not Nigerians. That is what I said about two to three years ago. I knew it. I am not a security expert but as governor I receive briefing and I was able to do my independent investigation and know that these people are coming for an agenda, Nigerians must wake up. If we don’t wake up we will all be consumed.”
On the issuance of gun license to responsible Nigerians, the governor said “I heard people complaining that Ortom called for Nigerians to be allowed to carry sophisticated weapons and that it would bring about anarchy. What about the Fulani herdsmen who are carrying AK-47 rifles and kidnapping innocent Nigerians, raping our women and destroying our villages and towns and becoming a terror to us. How about they? Why can’t we collect these sophisticated weapons from them?
“How many of them have been arrested? I am aware that some have been apprehended but majority of them are still there with those AK-47. This is a suggestion that the federal government should take up seriously because in America people are licensed to carry sophisticated weapons but life is still going on. It is left for the Federal Government to look at it if my suggestion can be carried but for me, I still stand with my suggestion,” he said.