BY CHUKS NNOCHIRI in Abuja•
A rights group under the aegis of Global peace and life rescue initiative (GOPRI) has commended the military on the achievements and the show of sportsmanship in their various operations all across the country.
According to a statement from the Executive Director, Melvin Ejeh, since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed the reins of leadership in May 2015, the army has carried out some remarkable operations as it continues to protect the nation’s territorial integrity.
“The Lafia Lafia Dole is doing great. Operation Lafiya Dole has been one of the fiercest owing to the fight against terrorism, but due to reorganisations carried out at the theatre command, it became stronger and more effective in its combat against insurgency.
“Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai renamed the code name for the war on terror from “Operation Zaman Lafiya” to “Operation Lafiya Dole” in July 2015 signalling his determination to attain peace by force in the North East.
“The operation, under The Current Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General I. Attahiru has continued to neutralize several Boko Haram insurgents, make arrests, free abducted hostages and discover bomb making factories. The development has assisted to reduce spate of suicide bombing and insurgents’ attacks.
“The 2017 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) indicates that killing of innocent people by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North east decreased by 80 per cent. According to the report, Nigeria also recorded the biggest decrease in terrorism worldwide, with 3,100 fewer people killed compared to 2015
“The operation has also excelled in working in synergy with UN and other development organizations to address the humanitarian crisis in the North-East region.
“Such working collaboration guaranteed the success of the counter-insurgency campaign in the north east of Nigeria,” he said.
On 3rd October, 2017, Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General TY Buratai commissioned the 7 Division Human Rights Office at Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri.
“The human rights desk was instituted to promote good human practices and boost civil-military relations in the counter-insurgency campaign of the Armed Forces. It is also designed to educate soldiers on fundamental human rights issues to guide them in the discharge of their duties.
Ejeh also mentioned the Operation Awatse (Southwest Nigeria), which started in July 2016 and was designed to dismantle the operational bases of pipeline vandals and militants in the coastal areas of Southwest Nigeria.
“Under the command of the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. SAG Abbah, formerly Navy Secretary, riverine communities in the Lagos and Ogun states axis have been experiencing relative peace.
“The area had hitherto been under the siege of attack by the hoodlums, which had resulted into killings and destruction of properties.
“The Operations’ ability to carry along other security agencies involved in this operation has prevented a re-infiltration of other areas by militants.
He said that the Operation Awatse is still positioned at curbing pipeline vandalism and petroleum products-related criminality with negative socio-economic consequence for the country, now that petroleum products is pumped from Atlas Cove to Mosimi. The presence of Operation Awatse will continue to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
He also described the Operation Delta Safe as a success for protecting Oil and Gas Infrastructures, Deterring and Preventing Sea Robbery, Crude Oil theft and other Criminalities.
“Under the commander for Operation Delta Safe in the Niger Delta, Rear Admiral Apochi Ogabu Suleiman, the operation has the capacity to flush out militants but were compelled to respect the dialogue option adopted by the federal government.
“It will be recalled that the Defence Headquarters had scaled down the military option and declared a ceasefire in order to pave way for dialogue with the militants
“Their activities have continued to help in achieving a steady oil production output in the Niger Delta, hence steadying the nation’s economy.” he said.
On Troops of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven maintaining peace and security in Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi states, the coalition had great encomium.
“The Operation Safe Haven was established in 2010 as Special Task Force following ethno-religious conflicts in Plateau State has since restrategised and remained undaunting in combatting the challenges it faced in recent times ranging from Fulani Herdsmen/Farmers Clash, cattle rustling, proliferation of arms attacks.
“The Commander of Operation Safe Haven Maj Gen AM Atolagbe took over from Major-General Rogers Nicholas in August and in the 3 months since he has assumed duty, a whole lot has changed positively about the operation..
“The Operation has deployed various means to curb the recurring killings and destructions of lives and property in the state.
“Apart from advocacy strategies to encourage people to lay down their arms and the use of dialogue, the troops have been able to consolidate on the gains of previous efforts by taking community service responsibilities very serious.
“The troops have been involved in a lot of initiatives that has made life easier and endeared them to the host community.
“There has been a remarkable and continuous improvement in the cordial civil-military relationship in the host communities.
Melvin noted that the Commander of the operation has been able to create a synergy with civil society groups which in turn engage the communities in talks bothering on peaceful coexistence and more cordial relationship with security agencies, so as to win the war against terror. This strategy has helped a lot in restoration of the relative peace and trust enjoyed in the state.
He said the command has also been able to study the spectacular nature of the challenges and proffered solutions accordingly.
They patrol the communities on regular basis and even provide cover for both farmers and herdsmen to conduct their normal businesses.
“Operation Safe Haven has a deployment of crack counter terrorists experts on power bikes in remote areas of some communities that had earlier been inaccessible.
“The effective security strategies combined with the cordial and professional conduct of men of the operation safe haven is currently yielding positive results.
“Information gathered from a reliable security source say the new operational and technical innovations adopted by the commander of OPSH and his men have led to the arrest of some principal suspects across board in the recent attacks witnessed in plateau state. This feat is one of its kind which must be commended and supported by all,” he stated.