Nigeria’s Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom insists that Nigerians be allowed to carry sophisticated weapons such as the AK47 to defend themselves as insecurity deepens in the country.
He reiterated the call in a speech with reporters in Abuja on Friday, August 21, 2020, and explained that his request is genuine and that the jihadist will be afraid if Nigerians have AK 47 to defend themselves.
Fulani herders have killed at least 3,897 people in Nigeria since 2015 after Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of the country. Most of the victims of the violence are Christians from the south, the middle belt and a minority from the north.
Governor 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 license for double barrel riffles, pump action machine. You can agree with me that there is no way, AK 47 can compete with Dane guns and double barrel riffles 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 government to see if we can issue license. 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?,” Ortom asked.
JIHADIST HIDING UNDER FULANI HERDSMEN
He said, “… as Nigerians, we must find a way just like we did in Benue State. For us we have come to say no to jihadist 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”.
Nigeria is ranked 12th on the 2020 Open Doors World Watchlist of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.