*Eulogises Plateau Gov’s support to military, security agencies
*Warns kidnappers, gun runners, others to give up tendencies
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-A peace and advocacy group, has commended Operation Safe Haven,OPSH,over the recent mass arrests of criminal elements consisting of kidnappers,armed robbers,bandits among others in Plateau State.
The group also hailed the Chief of Defence Staff,CDS, Major General Lucky Irabor, on the new operational directive to troops of Operation Accord 2, to ensure that criminal elements were denied freedom of action in the country.
The coalition,operating under the aegis of Coalition of Plateau Peace and Security Advocates (COPPASA), said the unprecedented achievements of OPSH would not have been possible without the operational and professional capability of the Commander, whose leadership drive, it noted, has continued to spur troops to victory against enemies of state in the general area.
Its position came after rising from its monthly peace and security meeting held at the weekend.
In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, Dr. Bitrus Pwajok, and Secretary, Barr. Moses Deshi, the peace advocacy group urged Plateau indigenes and residents to continue to support the efforts of the military task force, to continue to rein-in criminal elements terrorising the state.
This was as it further eulogised the governor of Plateau State,Hon. Simon Lalong, for it described as “his constant resolve to ensure peace and security, as seen in his logistical and other support to the military and other security agencies.”
“We, the entire management and staff of COPPASA wish to commend the special military task force, OPSH, for its relentless onslaught against criminal elements in the state. This,no doubt, has enthroned the culture of peace and security in Plateau State. The People of the state are greatly enjoying from this now,”the statement read.
Going further,the group said:”This, no doubt, can be seen in the constant onslaught against armed bandits, kidnappers, gun runners, armed robbers as well as militiamen disturbing the peace and security of local communities and villages.
“Only recently, troops of OPSH rescued one Zawaria Mohammed from her abductor, who was kidnapped at a designated point for collection of N2 million ransom demanded from the victim’s husband.
“We also commend OPSH over the arrest of armed robbery suspects within the Rayfield general area of Jos, the Plateau State capital, and Dong village, with recovery of dangerous arms and ammunition by the gallant troops.
“Again, the killing of many armed robbery suspects operating along the Bida Bidi – Zaria road, deserves mention, at least to underscore the efforts by the task force on security to execute its mandate creditably”
Meanwhile, COPPASA has solicited more support from the governor, saying all hands must be on deck,to restore total peace to the Plateau.
“As citizens, we have to take our security seriously and not to leave it to the security agencies alone,”it charged, adding:”We know these criminals in our society and we should expose them before they come after us.”
“We can’t continue to condole criminals and then turn around to blame security agencies,”it said.
In the same vein, the coalition has called on criminal elements terrorising parts of the state to repent and surrender to the military, or leave the state.
“We cannot conclude without calling on all Plateau indigenes and residents to support the peace initiative of our able Governor, Rt.Hon. Simon Lalong and the troops of Operation Safe Haven, whose quest for a secure state is legendary.
“We urge His Excellency to continue in the direction he is moving, while ignoring his detractors, who are envious of his indelible achievements,”it added.
The group added:” As civil society organization working directly with farmers, herders and direct victims of conflicts for the past ten years in Plateau State,we make bold to say that 2020 remains the most peaceful year for farmers and herders in the state. This is inspite of some skirmishes caused by crisis merchants.”
It recalled that before, “Soldiers were not deployed to all the crisis hot spots to nip conflicts in the bud,rather,they were being seen in town harassing innocent citizens. This used to be the case at some point.”
According to the group, “We petition and protest against OPSH then, hence it will be morally wrong not to commend them when they have done so well.”
” Killings by unknown gunmen in our communities have drastically dropped to almost zero percent, farmers and herders have resumed full economic activities.
“We recall with regret that before now,some criminals whose livelihood depends on crises killed about five herders in Maiyanga, in Kwall District of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.
“We urge Operation Safe Haven and other security agencies to investigate and arrest the perpetrators of this heinous act and bring them to book,”the group added.