*Hails Operation Safe Haven for living up to residents’ expectations
*Charges residents to report and support security agencies with useful information to clean state of crimes.
*Tasks Gov Lalong to continue to support security agencies to defeat criminals
*Insists on law by Plateau House of Assembly backing action against cultism
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
A peace advocacy and human rights group in Plateau State has applauded security agencies especially Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) for smoking out cultists terrorising the state, charging them to keep the pace to totally clean the state of criminal activities.
The group which expressed concerns over the inglorious activities of cultists in Plateau State,thus causing residents sleepless nights, in recent times, particularly hailed the Commander of OPSH, Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo for his commitment to ensuring a safe Plateau for the residents.
In a statement, Monday, the group said it was elated that one week after voicing its feelings about the ugly situation with attendant call for the security agencies to go all out in arresting and prosecuting those involved in cult activities in the state,a good news came to it following the arrest of 27 cult gang members by the special military task force.
But the group operating under the umbrella of Coalition of Plateau State Civil Society for Peace and Human Right, in the statement signed by its National Coordinator, Dr Pam Pwajok and National Secretary, Mrs Hannah Golu, respectively, insisted that despite the breakthrough by the military task force, the need for a declaration of state of emergency by Governor to totally clean the state of cult and other criminal elements is still necessary.
On the other hand,the coalition insisted that its call to the Plateau State House of Assembly to immediately prioritize the treatment of the state anti cultism law by working towards its immediate passage for effective and efficient treatment of cult related cases in the state was still in force.
It tasked the governor to continue to provide necessary support to all the security agencies in the state to enable them prosecute the war against all criminal activities.
”We therefore want to finally appeal to Governor Simon Bako Lalong to continue to provide the necessary support to all the security agencies to enable them defeat this crime once and for all,” it said.
The group in the statement said: “It is with utmost humility and sense of patriotism that we wish to sincerely appreciate the Commander of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Major General Chukwuemeka Okwonkwo,for what he is doing on the Plateau by cleaning the state of crimes and criminal activities.
“We are also elated for what other security agencies are doing in collaboration with OPSH, a special military task force set up for internal security in Plateau State, Southern Kaduna and Bauch State, to clean the areas cultists, kidnappers and other criminals. The officers and men of OPSH have shown professionalism, bravery and rare commitment to duty,” this is really commendable.”
Regretting that,”Sometimes, last week, the activities of suspected cultists and kidnapping became heightened” which necessitated its statement voicing concerns, the coalition said it was happy that “to our greatest delight, Operation Safe Haven swung into action and arrested about 27 suspects with dangerous weapons.”
“Since then, the town has been very quiet to the glory of God,”it noted.
According to the coalition, “This response by the outfit all the time has restored the once lost confidence on the security agencies and we pray earnestly that the tempo is sustained so that we can have a peaceful Yuletide season and a decent society.”
“The kind of proactive measures we are seeing from the security agencies is one of its kind and as CSOs, we must commend public officers and organizations who have distinguished themselves and are leaving up to expectations,”it added.
The Coalition of Plateau State Civil Society for Peace and Human Right, said:”The massive arrests of these suspected cultists have really brought a lot of relief to the residents.”
“We call on the security agencies to sustain this onslaught against these criminals once and for all. On the other hand,we call on all residents to cooperate with the security agencies for effective results,” it charged.
Recall that the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven,on Saturday, paraded 27 suspected cultists arrested after conducting series of raid operations on criminals and cultists hideouts in Jos, the state capital.
Parading the suspects at the Operation Safe Haven Headquarters in Jos, the Commander of the Task Force, Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, said the suspects were arrested at various locations within the metropolis where the activities of cultists have been on the rise in recent times.
Those apprehended included six females and their associates from Peoples and Tripple Hotels in Apata Area, Westside, Rukuba Road, Jenta Adamu and Jenta Mangoro areas.
Items recovered in the course of the raid included three locally fabricated pistols, knives, machetes and some ammunition.
Similarly, a number of drug barons were arrested but were handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further action