Several peace advocacy groups in the country have commended the military special task force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), for its breakthrough in peace-building efforts in Plateau and Kaduna states.
They expressed happiness that peace and harmony, which had eluded the two neighbouring states due to the desperate acts of some adversaries, have finally been restored.
The groups identified the deployment of both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches towards achieving the aims and objectives of OPSH, led by its Commander and General Officer Commanding, the 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Jos, Major Gen. AE Abubarker, as the major strategy that resulted in the accomplishments.
Releasing their assessment of progress in the peace efforts, the three groups, operating as the Conference of Plateau Peace Builders Network (CPPBN), Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative (GOPRI), and Conference of Southern Kaduna Peace Ambassadors (CSKPA), issued a joint statement on Saturday.
They insisted they were very pleased with the progress made on security under the leadership of Major Gen. Abubarker.
The statement was signed by CPPBN’s National President, Dr. Dung Bot, the Executive Director of GOPRI, Amb. Melvin Ejeh, and the National Coordinator of CSKPA, Dr. Mathew Kure, respectively.
They called on all citizens of Plateau and Kaduna states to encourage and continue to support OPSH in delivering on its mandate and thanked the Commander for his steadfastness, patriotism, and successes achieved so far.
The groups commended the efforts of OPSH through Operation Hakorin Damisa IV for restoring peace, particularly to Mangu, Barkin Ladi, and Bokkos local government areas of Plateau State.
They also praised the subsequent relocation of most of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their ancestral homes, describing the achievement as the fulfilment of the greatest wish of the residents.
“Having assessed the situation in Plateau and Kaduna states as peace advocacy groups, we wish to submit our findings encapsulated in this joint statement that Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) has made a significant breakthrough in peace-building efforts in the above-mentioned states.
“It is heartwarming that the leadership of OPSH has finally brought sanity by freeing Plateau and Kaduna states of the nation’s adversaries, who had previously killed and maimed innocent residents unprovoked, besides the destruction of property worth several billions of naira.
“It gladdens our hearts to say that we discovered during our independent assessment that many of our brothers and sisters who were displaced from their ancestral homes, seeking refuge in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Mangu local government as a result of these unwarranted attacks, have since been relocated to their ancestral homes.
“These remarkable feats, the first of their kind since the crises of different dimensions engulfed Plateau and Kaduna states, were made possible through the relentless efforts of OPSH and its Commander,” the groups said.
The peace-building groups, going further, said they were particularly happy over the recent success recorded by OPSH in neutralizing several bandits and further arresting more than 43 other criminals who committed murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, and cattle rustling in some communities in Plateau states and other areas under its responsibility.
“We also wish to commend the patriotic efforts of the GOC 3 Division, Commander Operation Safe Haven, and his gallant men. For some major milestones in Southern Kaduna, we are particularly happy for the prompt arrest of the principal suspects who burned and killed a seminarian in Fadan Kamatan Parish Church of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, sometime in September. This is another breakthrough we are proud of.
“The arrest of a major gun runner in Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, and the recovery of over 26 assorted weapons used to terrorise people and cause unrest in the general area were highly commendable.
“Also, the prompt arrest of the two killers of Mrs. Dorathy Jonathan of Afana village in southern Kaduna, sometime in early September, and neutralising more than 11 bandits in the same general area of southern Kaduna is a source of great joy to us as peace workers.
“We also wish to further applaud the Commander of Operation Safe Haven and his men for also complementing the role of NDLEA in fighting drug cartels in Southern Kaduna and Plateau State, which is now a great sign of relief to residents and parents,” the statement read.
While noting that these achievements were not recorded without the support of the people of both states, the groups appealed to the public to continue to assist troops with useful information as they work continuously to eliminate all criminal elements operating within their joint operations area.
Reaffirming their support for the task force, the groups reiterated the need for the people of the affected states to continue supporting the task force in their quest to secure the areas.
They expressed confidence in the GOC and the OPSH Commander, saying that with support from citizens, he would establish lasting peace in the two states.
“We urge the good people of Kaduna and Plateau states to continue supporting the OPSH under the indefatigable commander, Major General AE Abubarker, to enable them to deliver effectively on their assignment.”