From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Against the backdrop of raging insecurity in the North, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has urged Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai and other state governors from the region to set up community volunteer guards as was done recently by Benue Governor Samuel Ortom to tackle insecurity.
SOKAPU noted Benue State, like Kaduna State, especially Southern Kaduna, has been ravaged by mass killings of citizens, wanton destructions of communities, and large-scale disruption of economic activities by terrorists, advising that the governors in the region should emulate Benue State on the Volunteer Guards.
A statement on Monday by the Acting President of SOKAPU, Mr Awemi Dio Maisamari, said, “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 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 the 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 the hope that it would soon end.
“The Kaduna State Vigilante Service, which was established in 2016, cannot be effective because even the stipends paid to 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 roadblocks in urban communities at night to verify the identity of persons passing through them. Yet, SOKAPU commends 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 engulfed the state, worst than the deaths recorded in the Boko Haram ravaged North East of Nigeria.
“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
“The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) wishes to congratulate the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and indeed, the entire people of Benue State over the Passing Out Parade of the 1st batch of Benue State Community Volunteer Guards last Thursday, 4th August 2022.
“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 backup manpower for much more effective protection of Benue communities.
“Benue state, just like Kaduna State, especially Southern Kaduna, has 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 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 to enforce their natural and constitutional right to self-defence, right to life and the pursuit of happiness.
“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.”