By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Defence Headquarters has assured residents of Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states of adequate security with its ongoing Operation Whirl Stoke.
The Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that DHQ backed Joint operations is code named “Operation Whirl Sroke (OPWS)”.
Nwachukwu said the non-kinetic approach of OPWS had been a potent and effective antidote to the conflicts in the Joint Operations Area.
He allayed public anxiety on the draw down of the operation, adding that it was imperative for OPWS to wind down having achieved its operational mandate.
Maj.-Gen. Mutiu Yekini, Force Commander of the DHQ coordinated Joint operations, urged the residents of the states to go about their legitimate businesses without fear of molestation.
Yekini said the reassurance was to douse the fear in the states of likely influx of herdsmen migrating southward and their attendant violence when seeking greener pastures in the dry season.
“The peace and tranquility presently enjoyed in the states, which were previously ravaged by ethno-religious conflicts, herders/farmers clashes, banditry, kidnapping, cultism and tribal militias will be sustained,’’ he said.
According to him, the wanton killings orchestrated by herdsmen/farmers clashes has been brought under firm control.
“The communities that were hitherto under siege have been liberated from the claws of armed bandits and local militias,’’ Yekini said.
The Force Commander revealed that non-Kinetic approach was equally employed in solving the lingering inter-communal clashes between Jukun and Tiv communities in Taraba and Benue states.
He noted that most crises were fueled by local militias, some of whom have been arrested, while others are now on the run.
“The indigenes who are now savouring harmonious and peaceful co-existence have since endorsed a peace agreement to shun violence and live in harmony,’’ he said.
In separate remarks, the Special Adviser on security to Benue State Governor, Lt.-Col. Paul Hembah (Rtd) and his Taraba state counterpart, Col. Nuhu Tukura (Rtd), commended the effort of the troops for restoring peace to the region.
They urged the residents of the states to remain committed to harmonious co-existence in order to consolidate on the peaceful atmosphere currently enjoyed.