The Benue State Government has denied arming militia groups to defend the people against the marauding Fulani herdsmen in the state. There were reports that troops of 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed in Takum, Taraba State, have arrested nine well-armed militia from Benue, claiming to be members of government sponsored security volunteers. The armed gang were arrested at Arufu, a boundary town between Taraba and Benue States, a military intelligence source told told PRNigeria on Tuesday. Reacting to the report, Tever Akase, media aide to governor Ortom said the story was false and misleading.
He called on the general public to disregard report. “We read a news report insinuating that some youths arrested by the military at Arufu, a town between Benue and Taraba States are armed militia sponsored by the Benue State Government to defend the territory of the State against invaders. “We wish to state categorically that the Benue State Government under Governor Samuel Ortom has not recruited any militia group and armed them since the Governor assumed office.
“Governor Ortom is widely recognized for his disarmament policy which brought the amnesty programme leading to the recovery of about 700 arms and ammunition with over 800 youths laying down their weapons to embrace the programme across the State. “It is also on record that the present administration inherited the State Civilian Joint Task Force from the previous government but later proscribed it.