…Says video alleging wrongdoing of troops intended to pitch masses against OPSH
The military task force in Plateau State, Operation Safe Haven, OPSH, has denied allegation that it aided and abated recent attacks in some villages in Plateau State, which claimed many lives.
An allegation of military connivance with killer herdsmen and released by one Jerry Datti has been trending on the social media platforms for some days now.
But reacting to the video allegation, yesterday, through its spokesman, Major Umar Adams, the Operation Safe Haven insisted that contrary to the claim by Mr Datti, the task force has carried out its assignment in the state strictly in line with global best practice.
The task force insisted that the purported video was aimed at misleading the public on the monumental successes recorded by the command in returning peace to the troubled areas of Plateau State.
The OPSH described the video allegation as the handiwork of enemies aimed at pitching the masses against the military task force in particular and the Nigerian Military in general, hence their initial “shenanigans to dampen the moral of the masses towards the OPSH”
It noted that the video was” intended to cause the citizenry to withdraw the support they have been giving to the security agencies particularly the OPSH so as to allow the enemies a free hand to continue to kill Nigerians.”
The full statement as released by Major Umar Adams read thus:”The attention of the special task force, Operation Safe Haven, Jos operational command has been drawn to the circulation of an ill-fated video anchored by one Mr Jerry Datti, which was scripted to mislead the public on the monumental successes recorded by the command in returning peace to the troubled areas of Plateau State.
“The command ordinarily would have ignored the video as a handiwork of the enemies of peace and security as they engage in various shenanigans to dampen the morale of the masses towards the military have failed.
“It is profoundly imperative to clarify that, the above video scripting falls below all known standards of conventional media practice and documentary procedures.
“The video is written, doctored specifically to weaken the morale of masses and pitch them against the operation safe haven.
” It is intended to cause the citizenry to withdraw the support they have been giving to the security agencies so as to allow the enemies a free hand to continue to kill Nigerians.”
Going further, the task force, in the statement said:” It is pertinent to clarify on the avalanche of lies in the 13- minute video the following issues :
“That at no point did the said Jerry Datti have phone conversation with the commander of the Operation Safe Haven jos as claimed. We challenge him to bring out evidence regards timelines to buttress his baseless assertion.
“That, it is untrue the allegations that the commander obstructed burial of victims of the attack. The correct situation is that the commander who was personally on the ground only insisted that adequate identification of corpses must be done by relatives before the corpse can be conveyed for burial to avoid mix up which could stem further problems. The commander deserves to be commended on this noble procedure rather than condemnation. The Youth Leader at the scene who met with the Commander OPSH, communicated this position to its leadership before they were allowed to go into the villages. This was against the claim by the man that he forced his way through our location to get to the villages.
“That it is utterly false, the total number of dead bodies claimed to have been gathered by the said Jerry Datti and his group in various communities. This is just a mere antic to raise anxiety and cause disaffection among the masses who have been cooperative and supportive to the security agencies. We challenge him to provide the identities and documentation to the effect that, if indeed, such ever occurred.”
One Brigadier General Bello was mentioned in the said video of allegedly giving order to the task force Commander, Major General Anthony Atolagbe not to respond to distress calls by the victims of the attack but the OPSH, in the statement, said the allegation was baseless in its entirety.
“That Brigadier General Bello who is repeatedly mentioned in the video is a junior officer to the commander of Operation Safe Haven, how then would the commander take instructions from him? This man lacks the complete knowledge of military hierarchy and chain of command suffice to say he is a confused individual.
” It is a known practice all over the world as military operates strictly on seniority. This calls to question the integrity and motive of the video and the characters promoting it, “the statement added.
Mr Jerry Datti, in the video, had equally claimed that the OPSH Commander was taking full instructions from the Sultan of Sokoto on how handle the crisis in the state but reacting to , OPSH said:” That it is also untrue the allegations to the effect that the commander takes instructions from the sultan of Sokoto. This is not only petty but clearly out of human logic. This is because the respected Sultan has never at any time called nor given the commander any instructions either private or operational since he assumed duty in Jos”
Datti had alleged that he was privy to information on all attacks in the state and relayed same to the STF Commander but without action taken just as he accused the Commander of not allowing the dead families to pick corpses of the dead for burial.
The military task force said:”The same man who alleged that people were not allowed to bury corpses has on another account said he was assisted by some Hausa residents to burry the dead bodies.. Where then is the credibility of this documentary?
Datti equally did not spare the Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, as he accused him or doing little or nothing about the crisis this goes to show the motives behind the video which is purely political.
Responding to this, the STF said “the resort to name dropping as it affects the Governor of Plateau State clearly depicts the political undertone and agenda of Mr Jerry Datti as only advancing the course of his political and other sponsors who are not comfortable with feat OPSH under Major General Anthony Atolagbe is achieving. Otherwise, why the confrontational approach?”
“What links does Mr Jerry Datti enjoys with the attackers that he always get prior information as portrayed in the video? Clearly, we can see a thick conspiracy playing out with the emotions of the masses, “it said.
” For, the avoidance of doubt, the Operation Safe Haven is doing its best to forestall further attacks and restore peace in the community and the commander is committed to this mandate more than any other.
“The commander will therefore, not be distracted by the evil machinations of the enemies to serve as a clog in the wheel of peace progress.
“The public by this statement is endeavored to disregard the video in entirety and remain supportive of the command for peace and stability to be restored on the Plateau, “the statement further said. We are focused on our mandate which is to render service in the protection of lives and property.