By Johnson Eyiangho
More than 1,000 militias with 700 armed in numerous camps in Benue state have been unveiled.
Each of them is paid a month-to-month stipend of N15,000 by the state authorities, an allegation that the federal government had denied.
The militia, referred to as civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), was unravelled following the arrest of 9 of them by the navy personnel deployed within the space to cease the killings allegedly being carried out by herdsmen.
Troops of 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed in Takum, Taraba, effected the arrest of the 9 members of alleged sponsored armed militia referred to as Civilian JTF at Arufu, a boundary city between Taraba and Benue.
Mr Terver Akase, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, mentioned in Makurdi that authorities had not recruited any militia group.
Akase mentioned in a press release that the governor was widely known for his disarmament coverage which introduced the amnesty programme resulting in the restoration of about 700 arms and ammunition with over 800 youths laying down their weapons to embrace the programme throughout the State.
“It can also be on file that the current administration inherited the State Civilian Joint Task Force from the earlier authorities however later proscribed it. ‘’
He mentioned following the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law within the state final 12 months, the federal government arrange Livestock Guards to assist in implementation of the regulation.
“The Livestock Guards aren’t armed personnel. Their job is to make sure compliance with the regulation of ranches institution and prohibition of open grazing of animals within the State.
“The Benue State Government believes in the usage of standard safety businesses to guard the folks. Even within the face of renewed killing of harmless folks by herdsmen in Logo and Guma Local Government Areas, Governor Ortom didn’t let the folks resort to self-help. The Governor acted swiftly to get the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the deployment of extra troops to distressed elements of the State,’’ Akase mentioned.
A high navy supply in Abuja, confirmed that 5 of these arrested have been armed with AK-45 rifles totally loaded.
The supply mentioned that shortly after their apprehension, a reinforcement of CJTF got here to forestall troops from transporting the suspects to the Battalion Headquarters.
“However, when the troopers stood their floor the armed militia’s reinforcement withdrew.
“During the preliminary investigation the arrested CJTF claimed that the weapons have been issued to them by Benue State authorities by way of one Alhaji Aliyu Tashaku.
“The suspects additionally confirmed that they have been 60 in quantity in their very own camp positioned at Gbeyi, Benue State,’’ the supply disclosed.