The Benue State Government, on Thursday, approved the establishment of arms bearing vigilante groups to combat the high rate of insecurity in the state and repel attacks by armed herdsmen.
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, Makurdi, the state capital.
According to Ortom, renewed attacks on the people by armed herdsmen had overstretched security agencies, noting that the state government had decided to enforce “the law to provide for the establishment of community volunteer guards (vigilantes).”
He also disclosed that the vigilantes would be constituted from the community to local government levels to complement the operations of conventional security agencies across the state, adding that the recruitment process would commence immediately, and that those to be recruited would be within the age range of 18 to 50 and mostly ex-service men.
The governor said: “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 also said the state government has the mandate to support the vigilantes with logistics as provided in the law.