Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Military spike operation, code-named Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), has enjoined community leaders in Benue who have issues in their domains that could pose security threat or lead to violence to report such issues to the Operation or other security agencies.
Commander, OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini made the call during a peace meeting with leaders of Tiv, Jukun and Fulani following the violence crisis that rocked Abinsi town in Guma local government area of the state last week.
The Commander met with stakeholders from five communities across Benue State including Abinsi, Fiidi, Angbaaye, Ikpayongo as well as Aliade at the conference room of the Tactical Air Command of the Nigerian Air Force in Makurdi on Thursday evening.
Yekini who noted that the OPWS was by that meeting, using its non kinetic approach to resolve the Tiv/Jukun crisis stated that Benue state has suffered enough violence and does not need issues that will threaten the peace that it is currently enjoying.
While noting that the crises in Benue is for the control of the Benue Valley, Yekini said the Tiv people use the richness of the Benue valley for farming, the Jukun for fishing while the Fulani herdsmen use it for grazing.
The OPWS Commander who posited that the military is permitted to fire at the enemy under three circumstances including in self defense, while defending others and at anyone who is committing or in the process of committing arson advised parents to warn their wards against perpetrating violence.
He promised that the OPWS would intensify night patrols in Fiidi up to Agasha as well as in Gwer East and Gwer West local government areas of the state to forestall further breakdown of law and order in those areas.
Yekini who advised youths with arms to immediately surrender them also appealed to anyone with information about anybody who is stockpiling arms to report same to OPWS or other security agencies.
He enjoined those who were displaced by the Tiv/Jukun crises in any part of the state to return home assuring that security would be provided for them even as he warned against mob action against suspected cultists and other criminals across the state.
Some of the stakeholders who spoke including Prince Titus Adi, Mr. Timothy Ajeto, Chief Terfa Gbeka, Augustine Yahaya and Kefas Asheshi among others commended the OPWS Commander for the meeting and all reiterated the need for peace in their various domains.