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“We Have Come To Say No To Jihadists Hiding Under Fulani Herdsmen” — Ortom

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has restated his call for the Federal Government to allow responsible Nigerians to bear sophisticated arms.

He reiterated his stance yesterday in Abuja after initially making the call on Tuesday, August 11 during a paper presentation at a virtual meeting convened by Centre for Values in Leadership, CVL, in collaboration with Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF.

The governor had said that the policy should be backed by a strict legal framework to prevent illegal possession of arms by the citizenry without exception.

However, many Nigerians criticised the governor, saying his call would further worsen insecurity in the country as misuse of the weapons could be rampant.

Speaking on Friday, Ortom said, “My call was genuine. It was made out of passion for security in Benue state and Nigeria. It is not a new thing. I am not calling for a new policy, I am just asking for an upgrade of the existing policy on gun licensing in Nigeria.

“This is because of the level of sophistication of criminal activities, banditry and terrorism that is going on. Right now, the policy on ground for firearms is at the Local Government level, which is entitle to issue license for firearms limited to Dane guns.

“At the state and national level, the policy is for the issuance of licence for double-barrel rifles, pump-action machine. You can agree with me that there is no way, AK-47 can compete with Dane guns and double-barrel rifles or even pump-action machine.

“So, at least, the criminals, terrorists and bandits will now know that when they are visiting to attack, to kill and to destroy property and steal, the people around there have sophisticated weapons like they have, then, they themselves will exercise caution.

“So for me, the call was well and genuinely calling on the government to see if we can issue licence. Those who feel that it will bring anarchy, I say that already, we have an existing policy on ground so, it is just an upgrade because of the sophistication of criminality.

“In the 1950s and 1960s, we never had AK-47 and killing people in the manner that is happening today, so, for me, I am saying that as Governor of Benue State, I will write to the presidency who has the authority to see to the process a legislation or policy that can allow people to carry arms and it is to the best interest of the country because insecurity is the major problem in the country and not hunger.

“Nobody is talking about economy again. How can you go and borrow money from the bank to invest in a business only to be killed the next day?

“So, as Nigerians, we must find a way just like we did in Benue State. For us, we have come to say no to jihadists who came hiding under Fulani herdsmen. We said no because we saw it from the beginning; because the people are not coming to rear cattle, they are coming to take over land and they did not hide it, they said it at different conferences.”

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