Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, has asked the federal government to allow “responsible” Nigerians to be in the possession of “sophisticated weapons” like AK-47.
Ortom made the recommendation when he presented a paper at a virtual meeting convened by Centre for Values in Leadership, CVL, in collaboration with Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The governor said while the law allows the possession of double barrel and dane guns, the duo are not sophisticated enough to confront criminals who are better armed.
He said if citizens are well armed, they can defend themselves when they are under attack by bandits.
He, however, said the policy should be backed by a strict legal framework to prevent illegal possession of arms by citizens.
“I am a practical man. I don’t theorize too much. We have seen what is happening. We appreciate our security agencies, they have done so much in trying to curb the menace of banditry but they have not been able to stop completely the killings that are going on and most times he these people come, they are armed and you are unarmed and so, you are bound to obey them and they take you as if you are a nobody,” Ortom said.
“And so, it has been a running battle. Chief Akinwumi who was kidnapped advocated for that and I saw reasons with him. So, I am in agreement but as a law-abiding governor, it shouldn’t be an illegal arms acquisition by people. People should be allowed to hold sophisticated arms like AK-47 just like criminals.
“And the government should be able to license them so when those people come, they can confront them because it is impossible to put policemen all over the place. There should be a law granting licence to all responsible and currently, there is that policy granting licence to responsible people but it is restricted to double barrel and dane guns which will not be able to solve the problems when these people come.”
He also called for adequate funding of security agencies and continuous training of their personnel to enhance their skills in tackling insecurity.