Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State has refuted claims that he was arming militia groups to defend Tiv, Idoma and Igbede people against the marauding Fulani herdsmen.
Read also: Fulani herdsman calls my wife to threaten me – Ortom
Gov. Ortom took the occasion of the visit of the Senate Committee on Security Infrastructure led by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on a fact finding mission into the recent killing of 73 persons in the state, to dispel the report, which recently went overdrive following the arrest of nine men by the Nigerian Army said to be member a militia group on the payroll of the state government.
“If I had wanted to buy guns, I wouldn’t wait. But if I bought guns and gave to those people, would my people have been killed in the manner they were killed? I disarmed the people. I’ve not bought a single gun, I’m a Christian. If I bought, I would say yes,” the governor told members of the committee that included Senators Abu Ibrahim, Sam Egwu, Abba Kyari, Barnabas Gemade, Biodun Olujimi, Joshua Lidani, Emmanuel Paulker and Yahaya Abubakar in his office on Saturday.
The Nigerian Army had last Tuesday arrested nine well-armed militia from Benue, alleged to be members of the state government sponsored security volunteers.
The suspects were arrested at Arufu, a boundary town between Taraba and Benue States by troops of 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed in Takum, Taraba State.