Gyang Bere, Jos
The outgoing Commander of the Operation Safe Haven (OPHS) in charge of internal security in Plateau and Southern Kaduna, Major General Augustine Agundu, said criminality and the inability to resolve local issues across tribal divides and hatred were responsible for 20 years of violence in Plateau state.
Gen Agundu disclosed this during the handing over ceremony to the new Commander, Maj Gen Chukwuemeka C Okonkwo, held at the OPHS headquarters, Jos, Plateau State.
“The inability to resolve even inconsequential and local issues between and across tribal divides due to age-long animosity and hatred have worsened the crises for almost 20 years.
“Worse still some grassroots community and religious leaders are often culpable in promoting intolerance that has further fuelled the many years of crises yet till date there is no winner.”
Gen Agundu called on various strata of leaders in the state to reflect on the greater benefits of promoting and preaching peace, forgiveness and reconciliation as against an unfortunate culture of instilling rancour and bitterness which has shaped the crises across the theatre.
“I implore all well-meaning citizens to reflect on how beautiful Nigeria as a whole can be under a peaceful atmosphere – an atmosphere that would encourage us to harness the abundance of potentials to nation-building.
“Unfortunately, the crisis in Plateau and Southern Kaduna have only been able to generate orphans, widows, pains, frustration, fear and anger. There are few individuals within the communities who indulge in acts of lawlessness as a way of life, unleashing mayhem on innocent law-abiding citizens.”
He regretted that some leaders of thought had fallen into the trap laid by these criminals through their unguarded statements that epitomize divisive tendencies.
Gen Agundu expressed gratitude to Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong and his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for providing a level playing ground for the command to operate effectively.
He said the peace currently being enjoyed in Plateau and Southern Kaduna was as a result of the relentless efforts the Operation Safe Haven (OPHS) put in place particularly during the aftermath of bloody attacks in Gashis District of Barkin-Ladu Local Government Area of Plateau State.