The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on Friday said that the N13.5billion approved by the Federal Government for Community Policing will assist in the training of local recruits for the exercise.
Ortom also insisted that Nigerians need to be licenced to bear AK-47 rifles for self-protection and defence, in view of the General insecurity in the country.
He disclosed that Benue State has so far arrested 400 herdsmen, prosecuted 130 herders and arrested 9,000 cattle that violated its law prohibiting open grazing.
The Governor made these assertions while answering questions from reporters at a press conference in Abuja.
Ortom said: “On community policing, this is a policy that all the North Central Governors and the Inspector General of Police met some time ago and we jointly agreed that 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 in Benue State, 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 but they will work hand in hand with Vigilante Groups.”
The Governor said that the Benue State government has arrested over 400 herdsmen and successfully prosecuted 130 of them.
He said he that the recent statement by the Inspector General of Police that some
headsmen operating in some parts of the country are foreigners vindicated his position on the matter.
Ortom said: “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.
“On the issue of foreign herdsmen coming into the country, 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 briefings and I was able to do my independent investigation and knew that these people are coming for an agenda. Nigerians must wake up. If we don’t wake up we will all be consumed.
“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 them? Why can’t we collect these sophisticated weapons from them? How many of them have been arrested?
“I am aware that some of them have been apprehended but majority of them are still there with these 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.”