Chris Steven, Abuja
The Middle Belt Conscience Guard, a civil society organisation has lauded troops of the Nigerian Army over the ongoing exercise in some parts of the country.
MBCG said the exercise with the code name: Operation Ayem Akapatuma covering Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and some northern states had succeeded in restoring normalcy to the crisis-ridden areas.
A statement jointly signed by Prince Raymond Enero, National Convener and Dr. Paul Itodo, Deputy National Convener, noted that since the launch of the operation, sanity has been restored in the areas.
According to the group, the military operation aimed at tackling the wave of crime, violence and threats to law and order launched in February 2017, to cover the five state of Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa and Taraba, which has since taken off, has commenced on a commendable note.
“Within the period, notable kingpins of criminal gangs operating in the area have been nabbed, useful confessions taken from them while plots to disposes innocent citizens of their earnings and property have been foiled.
“The result is that the area covering almost the entire stretch of the North-central zone which was the precipice owing to lack of security some few months backs have begun to simmer with hope, with an atmosphere of less crime reigning supreme in the entire stretch of the landscape covered by the operation and a sense of belonging restored among the populace.
“Those who had expressed some cynicism at the launch of the operation code named ‘Ayem Akpatuma’ or ‘Cat Race ’ is beginning to see beyond the pessimism.
“In Benue, the clash between farmers and herders which almost caused a civil strife due to the frequency of occurrence has now taken a back seat with the arrest of rustlers, militias and other criminal elements spearheading the conflict which was assuming an ethnic cum religious dimension.
“In Kaduna, the banditry in the remote villages which also throws up the hostilities along primordial fault lines has also died down, with communities putting behind them such nasty experiences to brace up for the task of economic development.
“In Nasarawa, since the main arena in the conflict between herders and farmers had been curtailed, the usual spillover occasioned by the movement of affected parties through its borders has also served to out-check the menace.
“While in Niger, the use of its territories to hide spoils from kidnapping had also been drastically reduced.
“It is evident that from the success recorded so far, if the effort is sustained and the State Governors retrace their steps on some discriminatory laws, the crime in the region would not only be drastically reduced but life would return to normal for many of the citizens there.
“Military operations within the civil populace are usually dicey as they are laden with landmines due to the sensitivity and delicate nature of the exercise.
“In Benue, a particular run away Boko Haram kingpin known by his code name of Tishau had been discovered to be the one running the vigilante group in that area. This is unacceptable as it is capable of impugning the good intentions of the authorities that set up the outfit.
“We therefore implore the necessary authorities to arrest Tishau before he inflicts more damages on the people. This must be carried out immediately without any further hesitation to ensure that all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliation is protected from the wicked hands of evil men in the society. “