The Coalition of Southern and Middle-Belt Youth Leaders Assembly (COSMBYLA) has described a recent statement credited to General Lucky Irabor, the Chief of Defence Staff, in which he warned Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State against procuring weapons for the newly established Benue State Community Volunteer Guards, (BSCVGs) and Amotekun as highly inflammatory.
General Irabor was reacting to the one-month ultimatum given to the federal government by Governor Ortom to approve the request to arm the BSCVGs for effective operation.
The COSMBYLA, while describing the statement as careless, said it sees as shameful a situation whereby General Irabor, who is aware that the Federal Government has, through the office of the National Security Adviser, granted the Katsina State government permission to procure automatic weapons for the state’s vigilantes is now vocal in warning other states who are making frantic efforts towards protecting their people against terrorists.
In a statement signed by Goodluck Ibem on behalf of the South East youths and Terrence Kuanum of the Middle Belt Youths, the group called on General Irabor to avoid double-standard and remain professional in carrying out his job.
“We demand to know if the people of Benue and other states, especially in the South-West, are less human than those from Katsina, thereby warranting the decision of the federal government to turn down the request by some states to procure weapons while permitting Katsina state government to go ahead and arm their local security outfits.”
“We also wonder why the military is yet to go in search of those wielding sophisticated weapons in Katsina State but is threatening to go after similar outfits in other states if they bear arms.”
“The Coalition of Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders commends Governors Samuel Ortom and his counterparts from the Southwest for standing firm and taking legal and conventional steps towards ensuring the security of their people by creating local security outfits like the BSCVGs and Amotekun.”
“We, therefore, renew our call on the federal government to grant the request for the BSCVGs and Amotekun to bear arms, especially as they work in collaboration with conventional security agencies and are likely not to abuse their powers or go beyond their scope of operation,” the statement read.