New Telegraph

Insecurity: Taking a cue from Benue’s security model

I n a bid to ensure improved security of lives and property in Benue State, the state government recently set up the Benue Volunteer Guards (BVG). From an initial personnel of 500, the security outfit will be increased to 5,000. Governor Samuel Ortom of the state was quoted as saying that he had applied to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval to purchase AK- 47 and AK-49 assault rifles to help match the firepower of the non-state actors who have been terrorising the state. New Telegraph gives thumbs up to the Benue State Government for taking the bull by the horn to ensure improved protection of lives and property in the state.

The state ought to have set-up the BVG much earlier to minimise the socio-economic dislocations of cathedral proportions unleashed on her indigenes for some years by these blood thirsty bandits. With the BVG on ground, the army of terrorists and other criminally-minded elements would be compelled to think twice before launching their dastardly assaults on the innocent people of Benue State. The drop in the terrorist attacks on the state would result in improved safety of lives and property thus paving way for a heightened level of socio-economic activities.

Benue State, which prides itself as “the Food Basket of the Nation”, is one of the greatest food producing entities on the African continent. Communities such as Zaki Biam, Gboko, Vandekiya, Ugbokolo, Utonko and Aliade have a reputation for agricultural resourcefulness.

Zaki Biam has the capacity to compete with any part of Africa in yam cultivation and production. New Telegraph is aware of the longstanding opposition of the Federal Government (FG) to the decentralization of the security functions in the country even in the face of the acknowledged truth that the overcentralization of the same security duties has constituted a drawback instead of a solution to the national security challenge. FG may mobilise the material and financial resources at its disposal to undermine the laudable initiative of the government and people of Benue State.

Such man-made obstacles should not deter the government and people of the state from the positive path being currently followed. Since many communities across the country are at the receiving end of assaults by terrorists and other criminally-minded elements, the Benue State Government should, in the face of non-cooperative altitude of the FG, synergise with such communities and their states so as to build a formidable front that would help nudge the Executive Branch of Government into seriously considering the governor’s request for superior weapons for the BVG operatives as they confront bandits. It is even in the interest of the FG to maximally support the BVG and other state security outfits to help bring about improved safety of lives and security across the country.

This is because improved security would help save funds, which could be channelled into economic re-engineering and by extension, correct the impression created in some quarters that the Executive Organ of Government is merely at sea with regard to the fight against terrorism. We implore the Benue State Government to ensure that a proper legal framework and other foundational structures are put in place for the successful take-off of the BVG. Subsequent administrations should do well not to subject the BVG to unnecessary politicization by looking for illogical reasons to scrap the well thought-out security outfit.

Members of the BVG should realise that the human element is key to their success. It is therefore important for them to be as people-friendly as possible in order to have the by-in of the populace. Such a condition is mandatory and would help pave the way for the BVG to receive the requisite intelligence to destabilize criminallyminded elements, when least expected. With the support of the people, the BVG will function maximally without subjecting the public treasury to unnecessary haemorrhage. We enjoin the Benue State Government to involve the various communities in the administration and control of the BVG.

A body consisting of representatives of different communities and other stakeholders in the state could be formed with regard to the management and control of the BVG. Such measures would go a long way in making the people’s trust and confidence in the security outfit a permanent feature. Other states should hasten up to follow the trail blazed by the Benue State Government in order to scale up the level of security across the country. Such a march forward is likely to have a positive impact on overall food availability in the country as well as safety of lives and property. This is as sure as fate.

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