Youths’ access to arms must be blocked –Tsav, others

Some eminent indigenes of Nasarawa and Benue states on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to stop youths’ access to arms and ammunition.

They made the call following the recent violence in the two states in which many people were killed and valuable property were destroyed.

According to them, blocking the youth’s access to weapons will aid the government’s efforts to stop killings and other violent crimes in both states.

The stakeholders – a former Nasarawa State Commissioner for Information, Hamuza Elayo; the state Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Jatau Tete; a community leader and retiree in Benue State, James Gbabo; and a former police chief, Mr. Abubakar Tsav – urged the President to step up security activities in both states to prevent a likely full blown crisis in the mode of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Elayo particularly urged the President to adequately mobilise the security agencies and encourage them to respond swiftly to distressed calls for effective performance.

He said, “This is necessary because sometimes a small skirmish snowballs into a major crisis. For example, the recent violence in Eggon community in Nasarawa State in which no fewer than 10 people were killed was as a result of a small skirmish that was not promptly handled.

“Community policing should be encouraged. There should be robust cooperation between security agencies and various community leaders. The communities themselves can assist in keeping peace through constant meeting with various security agencies.”

Tete said the much expected development Buhari promised could only be achieved if the President spreads his security tentacle to cover every part of the country.

“Where there is no crisis, development becomes easy attraction,” he said.

Gbabo and Tsav called on the President to retrieve arms given to youths by politicians during the last general elections as a first step aimed at stopping killings in Benue State.

Tsav recalled that no fewer than three persons were killed recently by some gunmen in the state.

He said, “There are many arms in the hands of youths and the Federal Government should support the Benue State Government to retrieve these weapons from them.

“My fear is that if care is not taken, the killings will degenerate into Boko Haram-like attack. So, I am appealing to the Inspector-General of Police and the Federal Government to support the state government to retrieve these weapons. These arms were given to the youths by politicians to rig in the last general elections.”

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