AGAINST the background of reported lack of manpower to prosecute incessant unabated crises in north western Nigeria’s Southern Kaduna, a Non-governmental organisation, known as Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative, GOPRI, has appealed to President Muhamamadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency deploy more troops and equipment to the area.
This was as the group also strongly commended the Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, and the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) and other security agencies working in Southern Kaduna for what it called “their tireless and professional efforts towards restoring peace and order in the area”.
The group, working on sustainable peace building in the troubled area and other restive parts of Nigeria, in a statement, on Thursday, tasked communities in the area to key into peace-mending efforts of the federal government and Governor Elrufai by reporting criminals involved in the crises to security agencies.
The statement, signed by its Executive Director, Amb. Melvin Ejeh and Dr Kefas Kure, the Southern Kaduna Coordinator, also laud the OPSH commander, Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo for what it called “his relentless efforts and genuine commitment” to see to the final end of the crises that have seen many lives and property lost for many years.
GOPRI reiterated that it was time for the president to hearken to appeals from different quarters for reinforcement of troops and increment of hardware’s to end the ugly situation.
“We strongly Commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his love for the country. We appeal to him to order more deployment of air and land troops to the area. Southern Kaduna is very key to Nigeria and the lives of the people there matters.
“The proactive measures being put in place by Gen. Okonkwo and his exhibition of professionalism were major factors that prevented the escalation of the age-long crisis”.
While describing the actions of some elements which have cut down lives of many in the past as barbaric, senseless, inhuman, and unjustifiable, the group tasked people not to give the killings religious coloration but handiwork of criminals.
“While some people find it very convenient to sit at the comfort of their bedrooms and criticize security agencies without going to the root cause of the crisis and the efforts security agencies are putting up to stop the age-long crisis, we as an organization that is on ground since the crisis advised that such mindset should stop.
Having undertaken an on-the-spot assessment of the crisis, we make bold to state that the security agencies especially Operation Safe Haven are doing very well despite their numerous challenges ranging from lack of air support, logistics and lack of personnel.
“While not holding brief for the security agencies in any form, we note that Southern Kaduna has a large land mark and a population of over two million people, how then can less than 2000 security agencies do the magic of being everywhere at the same time?” the group quarried in the statement.
GOPRI said that people must also know that the crisis is as a result of criminal activities from two side of the divide and until we drop sentiments and tell ourselves the truth and expose the criminals amongst us, peace will be difficult to achieve in this area.
“The crisis in some parts of Southern Kaduna could have been avoidable if only we come together and work as team to defeat the criminals instead of giving religious and ethnic coloration to the detriment of national security, patriotism and good conscience.
“The security agencies are human who need our total support, cooperation and trust to succeed in their quest to defeat the criminals.
“During our visit to the affected area yesterday again for peace and trauma healing advocacy, we saw massive deployment of troops of Operation Safe Haven in almost every location- from Manchok to Kafancha, to Zango Kataf villages and some villages in Kaura and Jema’a local government area.
“Some of the affected communities, during our interaction with them, commended the security agencies especially Operation Safe Haven for their timely response to most of the attacks, saying the situation would have been worse if not for their timely action,” Ejeh added.
GOPRI however appealed to communities to be give timely and accurate intelligence reports to security agencies to enable them be proactive since they can’t be everywhere.
“We must learn to see the security agencies as our own instead of sitting on the fence and be waiting for an attack to happen before we start blaming them,” GOPRI stressed.