By Chijioke Kingsley
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The combination of the Special Military Task Force (STF) and the 3rd Armored Division of the Nigerian Army in Plateau State is in no doubt facilitating a speedy restoration of peace in the State.
The STF code named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), was once manned by a Commander responsible for only the activities of the Task Force, while the 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army, was before now also headed by the General Officer Commanding (GOC).
However on the 13th of July 2021 the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor posted Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Ali to double as the Commander of the Task Force and also as the GOC of the 3rd Armored Division.
Irabor who gave his reasons for the combination said it’s to foster maximum and effective result, adding that there was no need having two captains in a ship.
According to the CDS: “I have also heard from the media, propagating the false narrative, that combining the operation of Operation Safe Haven and the General Officer Commanding the 3 Div of the Nigerian Army, is intended to escalate the problem in the Plateau.
“What a falsehood. I am the one who made that reorganisation, I felt that it is necessary for us to combine the armed forces available to the division and those available through Operation Safe Haven, under a single leadership for it to be more effective.
“You can’t have a house within a house, it doesn’t exist, the area of responsibilities of the 3 Division is where Operation Safe Haven, operates”, he said.
However the coming of Gen. Ali as a “Double Chief” did not still go down well especially with the indigenes even after the clarification of the CDS. Many sustaining the call for his removal, fingered religious coloration for their reasons, forgetting that the crisis predated the General who has barely resumed office.
Consequently, being typical of a Soldier, Gen. Ali surmounting all criticism was focused on restoring and stabilising peace in the State.
When the unfortunate incidence of killing happened in Maingo, Irigwe Chiefdom in Bassa Local Government Area, the STF moved swiftly to restore law and order.
Gen. Ali led troops to provide relief materials to all displaced communities and also warning trouble makers to rethink or relocate from Plateau.
However, since the introduction of the combined office, the STF has deployed various means to curb the recurring killings and destructions of lives and properties in the State.
Apart from advocacy strategies to encourage people to lay down their arms and the use of dialogue, the OPSH has been rendering free medical facilities, organising seminars and parleys for youths in the crisis-ridden communities, among others.
This strategy, according to the OPSH, has helped in restoration of the relative peace currently enjoyed in the State.
Just recently the OPSH in it’s wisdom constituted and inaugurated a 36 member Joint Peace Committee. The committee is to recommend measures to be taken in finding lasting solution to the incessant clashes and killings among various ethnic groups in the State.
Gen. Ali had urged members of the committee to demonstrate impartiality, neutrality, honesty, uprightness and avoid sentiment and compromise.
He said the members who were drawn from ethnic communities in Bassa, Jos North and South LGAs have the background knowledge of the conflict and hopes their experience in communal conflict resolution would assist in fast-tracking the restoration of peace on the Plateau, stressing that sustainable peace can only be achieved through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms by all parties involved in the conflict.
Just yesterday, during his speech at a Church service in Government House, to mark the nation’s Independence Day at 61, Ali urged Christians and Muslims to resolve to live together, saying that no religion can excommunicate the other from the face of the earth.
He called on both religion and other ethnic groups to make conscious efforts to live together, adding that tolerance remain a key factor in achieving peaceful resolution.
Our correspondent continue to report that significant peace improvement have been reported in the State in the past few months owing to the proactive measures put in place by the Gen. Ali led Command to checkmate reoccurrence of senseless killings.