Coalition of Southern and Middle-Belt Youth Leaders Assembly, COSMBYLA, said the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor is playing double-standard by warning Governor Samuel Ortom over the procurement of AK-47 for state security outfit but sees nothing wrong with Katsina State security bearing sophisticated weapons.
In a statement signed President General, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, (COSEYL),Hon. Goodluck Ibem, Coordinator, Forum of Middle-Belt Youth Presidents, Terrence Kuanum, Coordinator, South-West Youth Leaders Forum(SWYLF),Shittu Waheed, and President, South South Youth Forum(SSYF), Tito Zokumor, said the group is disappointed in the Defence Chief.
The group further ask the Irabo to remain professional.
The statement reads: “We, the Coalition of Southern and Middle-Belt Youth Leaders Assembly, COSMBYLA are shocked at a recent statement credited to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor in which he warned Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state against procuring weapons for the newly established Benue State Community Volunteer Guards, BSCVGs.
“General Irabor was apparently reacting to the one month ultimatum given the federal government by Governor Ortom to approve the request to arm the BSCVGs for effective operation.
“The COSMBYLA however takes exception to that careless comment and sees as shameful a situation whereby General Lucky 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 from merchants of death who are bent on overwhelming even the conventional security outfits.
“While we call 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 are yet to go in search of those wielding sophisticated weapons in Katsina state, but are 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 South-West 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 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.”