The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) which is saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace in Plateau State, parts of Kaduna and Bauchi States has reiterated commitment to the discharge of its constitutional mandate which is to safeguard lives and property of all citizens in its Joint Area of Operation. The General Officer Commanding 3 – Div, who also doubles as the Commander Operation Safe Haven, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, stated this during his visit Brra Nggwe Rigwe, Rev. Ronku Aka, the paramount ruler of Iregwe Nation, on Monday at his Palace in Miango.
The Commander, while reacting to reports alleging that the task force had refused to respond promptly in stopping the recent killings and wanton destruction of properties in Miango Chiefdom of Bassa Local Government Area of the state. Gen. Ali, described the allegation as false, futile, malicious and an attempt to discredit the efforts of troops of the operation in achieving lasting peace in the state. He reiterated the commitment of the task force toward securing the lives and property of all residents within its areas of joint operations devoid of ethnic or religious affiliations. In his own words “There are reports making the rounds alleging that our troops told residents that they had instruction not to repel invaders during attacks in some communities in Bassa.“
He described the allegation as not only false and baseless but malicious and futile attempt to once again malign the good works the troops of OPSH have been doing to restore normalcy to troubled areas in line with its operational mandate. He stressed that “I did not and will never give such instruction; it didn’t come from me, because every soldier has the constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property of all Plateau citizens. “It is pertinent to note that OPSH is committed to safeguarding lives and property in line with global best practices of adhering to rules of engagement, standard operating procedure and respect for fundamental human rights of the citizenry.“
So, it is practically impossible to issue out orders to troops that they should not respond to any distress situation aimed at saving the lives and property of law abiding citizens, considering that they are drawn from all the security agencies, cutting across ethnic, religious divides and under oath to maintain peace and security in the nation,”he said.
The commander also explained that every soldier of the task force was deployed to a location with a clear code instruction of ensuring a peaceful society, which was the sole mandate of OPSH. He, however, assured that the task force would thoroughly investigate the allegation, adding that any soldier found wanting would be dealt with. He said that the visit was to commiserate with the paramount ruler of the Iregwe in Miango chiefdom, over the recent unfortunate incident.“
This visit is very necessary if we want to make headway in our peace building process in Plateau.“We are not happy over the recent happenings but I want to assure you that we will ensure it doesn’t happen again,”Gen. Ali said.He called on all citizens of the area and the state to be law abiding and cooperate with the military and other security agencies by providing credible information that would aid them toward ensuring lasting peace in the state.Responding, the traditional ruler, Aka, thanked the commander for the visit and urged him to intensify efforts to restore lasting peace in the area.Aka, who decried the consistent killings and wanton destruction of farmlands and other properties in his chiefdom, also called on the military to help displaced people to return to their homes.“We are peaceful and loving people but we have suffered in the past years.“I need your assistance; please deploy additional personnel to the affected communities to enable my people to return to their homes.“
I will continue to pray for you to succeed in your assignment,”he said.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the commander also donated some foodstuff and other items to residents displaced by the recent unrest in the area.The items include bags of rice, salt, cartons of seasoning, noodles, sleeping mats, blankets, bathing and washing soaps. (NAN)