The executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, says he can end banditry in the state if he takes charge of security forces deployed by the federal government.
Benue, among several states of the country, has witnessed attacks by gunmen which have led to killings, abductions, and displacement.
On August 4, the governor had set up a security outfit as part of efforts to address insecurity in the state.
He had also expressed his intention to procure sophisticated weapons to arm the volunteer guards, but the defence headquarters had kicked against the move.
Speaking on Thursday when he paid a visit to Ekpe Ogbu, the commissioner for housing and urban development, who was recently kidnapped, Ortom said the federal government is not doing enough to end banditry.
“Others who are in government today can pretend about this, but the government is complicit at the federal level. They are part of it. Whatever they are saying now is pretence. They are telling lies and they do not want to give attention to the insecurity situation,” he said.
“If the federal government, whose responsibility is to provide security for lives and property and who have the coercive forces of the security architecture of the country, decides that terrorism, kidnappings, and evil should end today, it will end.
“If the federal government is in doubt, let them make an executive order, just like the president makes executive orders in other areas, and give me the responsibility to look after the coercive forces that are in Benue state.
“Tell them to take instructions from me. We will end the evil, armed robbery, banditry and everything; we will end it today in Benue state.
“We are not going to relent on this war and there is no way we will compromise and allow kidnappers to have their way in this state.
“I challenge our people to rise up and not to allow kidnappers in their communities. When you suspect them, don’t hesitate to involve the security agencies so that they will not come back again.
“There is no way we can add value to the development of our state when we have kidnappers all over the place terrorizing our communities.
“There is no way foreigners will come here and invest in our state with challenges like this. There is no way we can do everything on our own and make things work. So, we must stop this