Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, has stated that if the federal government refuses to approve licence for arms for the state’s security outfit, he will get approval from his people.
On Thursday, Ortom inaugurated the first batch of personnel for the Benue community volunteer guards, the state’s security outfit.
At the inauguration, the governor said the personnel of the security agency will need to carry sophisticated weapons to enable them to tackle security challenges in the state.
Speaking on ARISE TV on Thursday night, Ortom said the use of light weapons is subjected to permission of the police, while the president has the constitutional power to approve sophisticated weapons.
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The governor stated that he will apply to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday for licence to allow the guards to carry weapons, including AK-47 and AK-49 rifles.
He, however, stated that he will do the wish of the people of the state if Buhari refuses to approve the use of such arms for the security outfit.
“The issue of AK-47, AK-49 and other weapons are the prerogative of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is why in my inauguration speech today, I said we will seek, and by tomorrow, I’m submitting a letter to the president to grant licence for AK-47, AK49 to our community volunteer guards,” he said.
“More than 5,000 people have been killed in Benue state since 2015, and we cannot allow this to continue.
“My people have asked me to seek Mr President’s approval for the guards to have approval for licence to carry AK-47.
“In the event that the federal government declines just like recently — I sought N42 billion loan to clear the arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities which I inherited and they declined because of politics — I will go back again to the people and seek their consent.
“Whatever they tell me to do, I am going to do. That I what I want to assure you. I will not stop them, because self-preservation is the first law of nature.”