*Hinges progress within few days to commander’s commitment to assigned mandate
THE Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative, GOPRI, has commended the internal military task force in Plateau State, Operation Safe Haven, OPSH, for promptly restoring peace back to the state after the recent invasion of some villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, by herdsmen resulting to the death of over 80 people.

The civil society group particularly expressed happiness with the task force under its Commander, Major General Anthony Atolagbe, for its feat, which it noted, has fully restored full confidence of the citizens that their safety was fully guaranteed in the state.

Major General Atolagbe

The group, in a communique it released after a one-day emergency colloquium, tagged:”Reappraisal of Security Agencies Operations in Plateau State”, held in Jos,noted with satisfaction that the mutual suspicions among citizens of the state following the dastardly acts by the marauders, had disappeared due largely to the unbiased and professional handling of the crisis by the OPSH Commander.

The communique signed by the Executive Director of GOPRI, Ambassador Melvin Ejeh, said the organization was elated that despite what seemed not only to Plateau citizens but also Nigerians in general that the shattered peace following the killings in Barkin Ladi would degenerate to worse situation, the task force was able to reverse the situation within few days weeks.

According to GOPRI, the painstaking efforts of Major General Anthony Atolagbe in being at the forefront leading the onslaught against the invading herdsmen, instead of sitting in a comfort office in Jos and give order, was the reason for prompt dislodgement of the assailants.

The immediate relocation of operational headquarters of Operation Safe Haven to Barkin Ladi Local Government Area by the commander and his full involvement in the forefront of the onslaught against the killers, according to GOPRI, were the major reasons the assailants retreated for peace to reign.

The organization, according to the communique, expressed dissatisfaction with the efforts of conventional security outfits in seeing to the end of the Plateau crises, saying they had not done enough to complement the military task force, tasking them to redouble efforts to this effect..

The organization said:”GOPRI notes with satisfaction the tremendous level of commitment by Operation Safe Haven task force under the command of Major General Anthony Atolagbe. We have observed that the OPSH has indeed lived up to expectations in line with their mandate.

“For the first time, This is a challenging and fearless move by the Commander of OPSH, Major General Anthony Atolagbe. It is a clarion call for other security agencies to emulate and consolidate on the legendary bravery shown by officers of the OPSH.

” We also commend the commander for not only directing the relocation but also practically moving in personally into the theatre of battle with his men. As expected, the results are glaring under a few days of response.

” We observe and further commend the arrest of suspects directly connected to the recent killings in plateau state by OPSH officers . These arrests are made possible by virtue of the proactive response and meticulous intelligence gathering by the security agencies as championed by the officers of the OPSH.

” We are constrained to observe that, this is actually the first time such direct arrests and key suspects are effected within a short period of time.

“We further notes with dismay the operations of some conventional security agencies hitherto in the state. They have not been doing much since the establishment of OPSH. This is not professional and must be reviewed.”

Going further, GOPRI, in the communique, noted that “the OPSH outfit was established by the Chief of Defence Staff only to compliment regular security operations in the state.

” To abandon internal security entirely for OPSH is morally wrong even as they have shown capacity, “it said, adding:” We call on the people responsible for conventional security to beef up their activities so as to achieve more and within a quicker time.”

But GOPRI said it was impressed with the progress recorded so far by the military security task force in the state.

“We are particularly impressed with the fact that despite the difficult terrain of accessing most villages, the OPSH has consistently been equal to the task.”

While regretting the renewed crisis in the state, despite previous efforts put in place by both the state government and the security agencies to see a once peaceful State, the non governmental organization called for a total implementation of plateau peace road Map.

“The sudden upsurge of killings in a twinkle of eye therefore demands for an urgent implementation of the peace road Map to get to the root cause of the matter and perhaps stem the unfortunate tide.”

“Indeed, Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative organised a special colloquium to interface, discuss and review the security challenges with critical stakeholders with a view to chatting a way forward, “it explained. .

During the course of our interactions, it explained,” stakeholders highlighted the level of proactiveness of security agencies in tackling the security challenges in the state.”

It frowned at the attitude of state actors in the political arena “for seeking to make political gains over the misfortune of citizens of the state,saying:” A situation where politicians begin to contemplate politicising a tragic event of international magnitude is most tragic in itself.

” This is especially so given the timing to the next general elections, “it noted.

Explaining further that the colloquium was convened to resolve a number of issues arising from the crisis, the group warned:” We make bold to say that we will not hesitate to use our influence upon the people of Plateau State to wield the big stick against any politicians found to be sponsoring, supporting or obstructing the essence of peace in the state no matter how highly placed.”

“We will not rest on our oars until the desired peace is restored to our communities.

“We frown at this unsavory attitude because it is not only reprehensible but quite frankly untenable, condemnable and unpatriotic, “it noted.

While noting that the geographical terrain of most communities in Plateau State” is quite much difficult to access with conventional vehicles because it hilly and rocky nature”, GOPRI appealed to Nigerians to extend moral support to the Nigerian security agencies by showing understanding when reporting the response time in situations of distress calls.

It further appealed to the “state governments to support the security agencies specifically OPSH with specialized motor bikes in addition to the ones utilized by the OPSH to enhance quicker response.”

Ejeh equally urged the security agencies, particularly the men of Operation Safe Haven to continue to do more “even as we continue to rally round moral support for them.”

” We hope that this synergy will bring to the fore , solutions and proffer a lasting end to this recurring challenges on the Plateau, “he further said.

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