By THOMAS AKASE, Makurdi –
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), has congratulated the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and the entire people of Benue over the Passing Out Parade of the 1st batch of Benue State Community Volunteer Guards last Thursday.
The Volunteer Guards, according to the law setting it up, are provided by legally approved weapons to assist the military and security agencies operating in the state with a backup manpower for much more effective protection of Benue communities.
A statement on Monday by its acting President of SOKAPU, Awemi Dio Maisamari, noted that Benue state, just like Kaduna State, especially Southern Kaduna, had been ravaged by mass killings of citizens, wanton destructions of communities, millions of innocent cities and large scale disruption of economic activities among other grim features that have become the hallmark of the evil been carried out by armed Fulani bandits and allied outlaws.
The rest of the statement reads:
“The People of Benue state, just like the people of the South West with their Amotekun vigilante initiative, can now breathe a sigh of relief that their state government has the courage, wisdom and political will to assist them enforce their natural and constitutional right to self defence, right to life and the pursuit of happiness.
“SOKAPU has always advocated for this kind of project, in view of the reality that Kaduna state is blessed with millions of able bodied young men and women who are capable of defending the state in collaboration with the thinly spread military and security agencies, if given minimal training, discipline and authorised weapons under the supervision of government. Unfortunately, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state is spending billions of Naira on security just to witness the escalation of the violence with hope that it would soon end. Governor el-Rufai, in a bizarre twist to finding solution to the problem, even traced some of these macabre killers to some countries in West Africa and paid them undisclosed sums of money with the view of persuading them to stop the invasions of Southern Kaduna communities.
“The Kaduna State Vigilante Service, which was established in 2016, cannot be effective because even the stipends paid its personnel have become a burden to the state and as such its expansion to admit more young people willing to serve is not feasible for now. Besides, it is very poorly equipped, its personnel poorly motivated and its operations have been largely reduced to crowd control and at best placing road blocks in urban communities at night to verify the identity of persons passing through them. Yet, SOKAPU commend the patriotism of these few young persons, knowing fully well that they can do much better, given the right conditions.
“Each quarter of the year, Kaduna State government reels out unacceptable, gloomy statistics of its citizens killed by armed murderous gangs to show that Kaduna State alone lost more lives in the violent criminality that has engulf the state, worst than the deaths recorded in the Boko Haram ravaged North East of Nigeria.
“Governor Ortom has shown that if a leader does the right consultations and has the political will to carry out its major responsibility, which is defending the lives and property of citizens, it is not such a herculean task.
“Therefore, SOKAPU calls on the Kaduna State government, and indeed the entire government of the North West and the Middle Belt states as a matter of urgency, to emulate governor Ortom if indeed they are not paying lips service to the security of their electorates.
“SOKAPU hails Governor Ortom, for daring to distinguish himself from the choking hypocrisy and crude timidity of his colleagues who are facing the same security challenges with him but dare not subscribe to his kind of solution for fear of a backlash from the Fulani establishments and its allies.
“If Governor Nasir el-Rufai should follow suit, we are sure that the over 200 communities seized by armed herdsmen and their comrades in crime in Kaduna state and the over 500,000 IDPS in Southern Kaduna alone, we will begin to have hope of ending the war waged against us.
“We also believe that if governor el-Rufai and others should welcome and implement the Volunteers Guards initiative of Governor Ortom, the thousands of captives in the dens of Kidnappers will be rescued and the culprits brought to book.
“We once more congratulate Gov. Ortom and we encourage the people of Benue state and all lovers of peace, justice and wellbeing of mankind all over Nigeria and abroad to support Gov Ortom in this noble enterprise. ”