Plateau: Group Decries Unfair Remarks Against Army GOC, Passes Votes of Confidence On Him


Dabal Dakyes, Jos

*Describes action of sponsored group as unpatriotic

*OPSH responsible for the relative peace on Plateau,environ,it declares

*Says criminals, politicians, crisis merchants responsible for Plateau crisis

*Calls on Military High Command to ignore call for removal of OPSH Commander

*Seeks deployment of more troops to state

The Conference of Plateau State Peace Builders’ Network, (COPPEBN), has taken a swipe at recent derogatory remarks and call for redeployment of the General Officer Commanding, GOC 3rd Armoured Division, Jos, by a group that called itself, Global Society for Middle-Belt Heritage.

The group, in a press release on the security situation in the state following recent attacks in some areas, had not only blamed the Army Chief but also sought his redeployment from the state.

But reacting, COPPEBN described the action of the group as unpatriotic, noting that the GOC, who doubles as Commander of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) in the state has not deviated from his given mandate to warrant the unprovoked attack on his character.

The GOC, according to COPPEN, whose position was contained in a counter statement on Friday, said the GOC deserves tremendous accolades, given that he had restored peace to Plateau, once known for ceaseless attacks.

The Conference of Plateau State Peace Builders’ Network, in the statement signed by its National Coordinator, Dr. Dung Bot, and the National Secretary, Barr. Mrs. Lucy Wuyep, respectively, insisted that those attacking and seeking the transfer of the Army General from the state are the perpetrators of the various attacks the state has been witnessing.

It said the active presence of the GOC in all parts of the state has ruined the once thriving business of those it described as crisis merchants, hence the attacks on the GOC and call for his redeployment.

To this end, it urged both the Nigerian Army authorities and the federal government to ignore the ranting of the faceless group which it said, was sponsored by those facing the heat of OPSH.

The statement read in part: “Our attention has been drawn to a press release on the purported state of security by one Comrade Jerry Tongle Datim, president of the Global Society for Middle-Belt Heritage, where he did not only blackmail but also cooked up lies against the General Officer Commanding, GOC 3rd Armoured Division and the Commander of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH).

“We would not have ordinarily responded to his concocted lies against the GOC/Commander of Operations Safe Haven in particular and the Nigeria military at large,
but as a coalition that is conversant with the antics of the author and the state of affairs in Plateau, we feel compelled to set the record straight so that gullible Nigerians don’t fall prey to his antics.

Although, we are not the mouthpiece of the GOC or OPSH, however, we see a possible response to this as a patriotic duty, so that the innocent readers don’t get misled by the sponsored lies told by Comrade Jerry Dattim and his team.

“Firstly, it’s a known fact that Jerry Dattim, the so-called president of the organisations is a known serial blackmailer, whose stock in trade is to blackmail security agencies, particularly the military in a time like this just to score ethno-religious and financial gains for himself.
He has been known to be using the pathetic situation of our suffering people in the villages to achieve these.

“Secondly, while we must admit that there was a serious crisis in most of the villages mentioned in his statement, the casualty figure put out by him was highly exaggerated just to score cheap points.

“Shamefully, he failed to disclose the true causes of the conflict which is pure criminality, ethnopolitical in nature, and perpetrated by mostly some of our youths on the instruction of their sponsors.

“The author did not also disclose that the attacks were triggered by the action of some people who are taking laws into their hands in our communities, by not only rustling and poisoning cows to death but equally killing herders while grazing.

“The author deliberately refused to mention how two herders coming back from grazing on Saturday evening in Riyom Local Government Area were killed in cold blood. He equally deliberately refused to mention again, when some herdsmen who were returning to their community after sell of their cows at Kara Market in Bukuru, were ambushed and killed at Heipan village of Barkin/Ladi!”

Going further,the group said,”As Christians and followers of Christ,we must use truth as our weapons no matter who it hurts.”

It said: “While charging the youths to come together, x-ray the situation and speak truth to “ourselves”, the group said while it strongly condemned the barbaric action of the attackers, “we must find out the root cause of the problem which is criminality, political and religious sentiments and solve it once instead constantly blaming security agencies.”

“We wonder why Comrade Jerry and his group will leave the real substance which is the genuine cause of the crisis to face Operations Safe Haven, the military outfit in Plateau State which is doing everything possible to restore law and order. What’s the motive behind the personal attack on the GOC? Are they expecting the GOC to be sleeping in every Plateau village? Isn’t this obvious that people are sponsoring these attacks against the person of the GOC and Operation Safe Haven because they are being prevented from carrying out their criminal activities unchallenged? How can a group whose members are reaping the result of the relentless efforts of the GOC and his team in the restoration of peace in Plateau be asking for the withdrawal of the troops of OPSH?

“It is therefore, our conclusion that the Global Society for Middle Belt Heritage is sponsored just to blackmail the GOC/ Commander Operations Safe Haven and his team because the operations being carried out are hindering the efforts of its paymasters to undermine peace in the state.”

The group said it passed a vote of confidence on not just the GOC and commander of OPSH but also on his entire team, restating that their commitment to their assigned duty has restored once eluded peace to Plateau.

“We, therefore, pass a total vote of confidence on the GOC/ Commander OPSH and all his team for their restless efforts in bringing Plateau to complete peace and prosperity. We call on the military high command and the Nigerian public to ignore the call by the selfish group seeking desperate relevance.

It tasked everyone in the state to “join hands in building a new Plateau of our dream.”

However, the group appealed to the federal government to deploy additional troops to the state to complement the ongoing efforts of the military outfit.

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