Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State signed a law revising the state’s Community Volunteer Guards Act on Tuesday, October 26. The bill allows local guards to carry firearms that are allowed under the constitution.
The law was first passed by the state house of assembly in 2000 and signed by George Akume, the former governor of Benue, but according to Ortom, it is now necessary to change it to help the guards supplement the “grossly inadequate” conventional security personnel in the fight against insecurity.
Because the guards are community-based, Ortom noted that traditional rulers will oversee their recruitment.
Ortom said five persons would be recruited from each of the kindreds in the state, 10 at the ward level, while the local government would have representatives from council wards to ensure proper management and supervision of the guards.
“Those to be recruited must be within the age bracket of 18 to 50 years and should have a means of livelihood,” Ortom said.
“I warn that the guards do their work, devoid of politics.”
In the past Ortom has been in favour of Nigerians being allowed to carry AK-47 in self-defence and also asked Benue indigenes to carry guns and defend themselves from Fulani herdsmen and gunmen.