The Force Commander of the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) coordinated Joint operations covering Benue, parts of Nasarawa and Taraba States codenamed “Operation WHIRL STROKE (OPWS)” Major General Mutiu Yekini has on Friday urged the residents of Benue and Taraba states not to panic but to go about their legitimate businesses without fear of molestation, as their safety and security is guaranteed.
According to him “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.
Maj Gen Yekini gave this reassurance while conducting journalists round the security deployments in Benue and Taraba states. His reassurance became expedient to douse the fear expressed in some quarters in the 3 states of likely influx of herdsmen migrating southward and their attendant violence when seeking greener pastures in the dry season. The guided media tour, which was organized by the Directorate of Defence Information, DHQ, was to keep the media abreast of the current situation of the hitherto volatile areas, which are now experiencing relative peace and calm.
Maj Gen Yekini maintained that restoration of peace and normalcy in the troubled North Central states was the mandate of the operation and has been achieved to a large extent. He was elated to note that the wanton killings orchestrated by herdsmen/farmers clashes have been brought under firm control. Additionally, the communities that were hitherto under siege have been liberated from the claws of armed bandits and local militias.
The Force Commander further revealed that non-Kinetic approach was equally employed in solving the lingering inter-communal clashes between Jukun and Tiv communities inhabiting the border areas of 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. He averred that the indigenes, who are now savouring harmonious and peaceful co-existence have since endorsed a peace agreement to shun violence and live in harmony.
The Acting Director Defence Information (DDI), Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, who coordinated the media tour, while addressing the media at Gbise, the Headquarters of Sector 2 of Operation WHIRL STROKE, stated that the tour equally afforded the Press the opportunity to appraise the successes of the operation and to interact with the natives, who paid glowing tribute to the troops for salvaging their communities from criminals.
Brigadier General Nwachukwu eulogized the non-kinetic approach of OPWS which he described as potent and effective antidote to the conflicts in the Joint Operations Area. Allaying public anxiety on the drawdown of Operation Whirl Stroke, Brig Gen Nwachukwu said that after successful attainment of the benchmarks for restoration of peace and socio-economic activities in the affected areas, it was imperative for OPWS to wind down, having achieved its operational mandate.
In separate remarks, the Special Adviser on security to Benue State Governor, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Hembah (Retired) and his Taraba state counterpart, Colonel Nuhu Tukura (Retired), commended the effort of the troops for restoring peace to the region that was once bedeviled with violent crimes. Both advisers urged the locals to ensure that they remained committed to harmonious co-existence in order to consolidate on the peaceful atmosphere currently attained.
During the tour, the media team visited Katsina-Ala Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State, Takum and Wukari LGAs of Taraba state, where the Chairperson and Chairman of the respective LGAs expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for deploying the Operation Whirl Stroke to liberate their people from violent killings. They pledged their unflinching support for OPWS.
for Director Defence Information