By Steve Oko, UMUAHIA
Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, has supported the call by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State for farmers to be constitutionally empowered by to carry AK-47 rifles to defend themselves against killer-herdsmen.
CLOSELY, in a statement jointly by its President-General, Goodluck Ibem, and Secretary-General, Kanice Igwe, said “Since the Federal Government has failed woefully in its primary responsibility of protecting the people against killer- herdsmen carrying AK-47 rifles, farmers who are the primary targets of the killer-herdsmen should be granted the rights to also carry AK-47 rifles.”
COSEYL expressed disappointment that the Federal Government had not done much to rein in the herdsmen who wield AK-47 rifles in broad daylight “without any arrest or prosecution from law enforcement agents”.
The statement read in part: “When a practice is allowed in a society it becomes a norm.
“Since the herdsmen have been allowed to carry AK-47 rifles without any interference from the Federal Government, then it is an acceptable weapon for personal defense.
“Other Nigerians, most especially farmers, should be given the approval to carry the same AK-47 rifles as herdsmen.
“The National Assembly should urgently pass a law permitting farmers in areas that are always attacked by herdsmen to carry AK-47 rifles to defend themselves because it is not fair to carry cutlass or Dane guns to face a man with AK-47 rifle.
“This law is pertinent because it will protect our farmers who are killed daily by the murderous herdsmen.
“So many Nigerians will die as a result of hunger if nothing is done urgently to ensure the safety of our farmers who are there all alone in the farm, under the sun and rain, working so that Nigerians will have food to eat.
“The prices of food will rise above the reach of the ordinary Nigerian who makes less income to cater for their families.
“The increase in prices of food will have a retrospective effect as prices of other essential goods will skyrocket above the reach of the commonman.
“It is evidently clear to all and sundry that Chief Ortom’s call for every farmer to be constitutionally empowered by law to carry AK-47 rifles to defend themselves is borne out of love and patriotism for our country.”