By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
Nigerians have been enjoined to support the ongoing Military campaign against terrorism and banditry by volunteering credible information that will aid troops in flushing out the insurgents.
The Concerned Professionals’ Congress (CPC), a Civil Advocacy Group, particularly urged Nigerians to keep faith with the Military High Command under the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin to sustain the military-led onslaughts against armed bandits in the North West, where hitherto sacked farmers are returning to their farms.
The group, in a statement in Abuja, jointly Abuja by its Chief Media Strategist, Mr. Emeka Nwankpa and the Northern Regional Rapporteur, Kasim Baba Kasim, described recent reports of large-scale degrading and neutralization of armed bandits, cattle rustlers and illegal armed miners in Katsina State and its environs, as “refreshing and encouraging.”
According to the statement, “the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, at the weekend told journalists at the Army Super Camp 4, Faskari, Katsina State that 148 bandits and 315 illegal armed miners were arrested just as 3,984 cows, 1,627 sheep/rams and three camels were recovered.
“Brig Gen Onyeuko added that after the series of search and rescue operations, the troops rescued 107 kidnapped victims and arrested 20 collaborators and informants of the bandits, 13 rustled cattle marketers and 32 logistics suppliers. Also, 81 bandits’ camps and their logistics bases were destroyed including the notorious Dangote Triangle.
“It will also be recalled that Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State had, during a visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta recently, disclosed that farmers in the eastern part of the state had started returning to their farms following the restoration of normalcy by the troops of Operation Sahel Sanity in collaboration with troops of Operation Hadarin Daji.”
The group commended the troops for exhibiting unusual courage and gallantry, expressing satisfaction at the return of normalcy in the areas “following the major deactivation of over 100 armed bandits and other menacing activities of the criminals which it regretted had crippled agricultural and socio-economic lives of the people”.
It also called on Nigerians to see “the patriotic and innovative efforts of the nation’s Military High Command as a call to duty and reciprocate by supporting through volunteering credible and timely information to the Military, security and intelligence agencies to enable them curb threats to the general security of the Nigerian people”.
The group specifically commended President Muhammadu Buhari for re-affirming confidence in the tenacity and resilience of the Olonisakin-led Armed Forces of Nigeria to deliver on their mandate.
‘’The Armed Forces can adequately protect Nigerians. The CDS and his able commanders and our troops have gallantly fought the terrorists, bandits and criminals in the country, employing operational synergy, jointness, cooperation and collaboration among the organs of the Armed Forces.
‘’In the North West, we have recorded huge successes in the ongoing Exercise SAHEL SANITY in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto States and the environs at the Super Camp 4 in Faskari, near Katsina going by independent findings and credible field reports by the acting director, Defence Media Operations, Brig General Bernard Onyeuko who is on ground.
“We particularly commend President Buhari for diligently assembling the current team led by the CDS, General Abayomi Olonisakin. They deserve our support and prayers’’, the statement read further.
It also added that, “We are currently fighting terrorism and insurgency in the Northeast banditry; kidnapping and cattle rustling in the Northwest; banditry, herders/farmers’ clashes and communal clashes by some militias in the North Central-Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba; and banditry, communal clashes and herders/farmers’ conflicts on the Plateau.
‘’In the South-South, we are combating cultism, piracy, kidnapping, oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and other crimes, ritual killings while there are kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, etc, in the Southwest. These are rapidly-changing internal security challenges that are being successfully tackled by our forces. We need the maximum support of all Nigerians to our military’’.
The group lauded the current improved synergy existing between ground and air troops at the various operations across the country, pointing out that momentum had meaningfully neutralised, deactivated and degraded the activities, camps and logistics bases of the terrorists, bandits and criminals, adding that, ‘’the Defence Headquarters under the leadership of the Chief of Defence Staff has nurtured and pursued a robust and seamless synergy between the components of the Army and Air Force resulting in the highly successful massive bombardments on armed bandits and Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists. The days of poor coordination between our ground and air forces are now over.”
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