From Scholastica Hir, Makurdi

A group known as Defenders of Democracy, (DoD) has described the decision of the Benue State Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia to launch a local security outfit made up of 10,000 youths this month, as a waste of state resources.

The President of DoD, Amos Uchiv, in a statement made available to newsmen in Makurdi, said the move was an unnecessary duplication and a waste of taxpayer’s money which would have been spent on development projects.

According to them, his predecessor, the immediate past Governor Samuel Ortom established the Community Volunteer Guards, recruited and trained able bodied men to assist conventional security agencies.

They urged him to rather equip them with the necessary logistics support to function optimally instead of the unnecessary duplication and the waste of state’s resources.

Governor Alia while announcing the launch the 10,000 men local security outfit said they would complement the efforts of security agencies in tackling security challenges in the state.

But the group accused Governor Alia of planning to recruit them to harass his political opponents.

The statement read, “We read with disbelief, the announcement by the Benue State Governor, Fr. Hyacinth Alia, that the state government will launch a local security outfit made up of 10,000 youths before the end of May, 2024.

“We find such a move as poorly conceived, unnecessary and a waste of state resources.

“Recall that earlier in the week while addressing a gathering in Tse-Agberagba, Konshisha local government area, Governor Alia publicly vowed to use violence against those criticizing his administration. Since he came on board, his known statement has been “words have consequences”.

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“It is important to note that Benue State already has a legitimate security apparatus in place, known as the Community Volunteer Guards, who were recruited in accordance with the law enacted by the State House of Assembly.

“These guards underwent training by conventional security agencies and were launched by the former Governor Samuel Ortom.

“If the Governor does not find the Community Volunteer Guards effective, why is he keeping them to protect the gate of his private residence and other government facilities in the state?

“We view the decision of Governor Alia with great skepticism and alarm, as it appears to be a wasteful and potentially dangerous move that could jeopardize the peace and security of our beloved state.

“Since he became governor, Alia has not purchased even one motorcycle for the police, civil defense or any of the other security agencies. He does not see the need to hold regular security meetings to receive briefings from heads of security agencies in the state as is the tradition.

“Governor Alia has received so much money from the federal government including a huge chunk of the N50 billion that President Bola Tinubu released to the five states worst affected by insecurity in the north. Alia has not donated patrol vehicles to the security forces since he was sworn in. Yet, there are reports that he increased his security vote to over a billion naira every month.

“We strongly urge Governor Alia to reconsider his decision to launch a new security outfit and instead focus on empowering the existing Community Volunteer Guards and the conventional security agencies to enhance their effectiveness in serving the state.”

The group said by channeling resources towards development projects that benefit the people of Benue State, the Governor can make a real and positive impact on the lives of our people.

“It is crucial that Governor Alia prioritizes the safety and well-being of all residents of Benue State above any political motives or personal agendas. We call on him to reverse this ill-conceived decision and work towards strengthening existing security structures for the greater good of our state.

“We implore the Governor to heed this advice and act in the best interests of Benue State and its people,” they said.