By Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi
Jos — The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has accused elites in Plateau State of sponsoring youths to escalate crises.Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. John Agim, made the accusation yesterday when he paid a working visit to the Commander, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Maj. Gen. Augustine Agundu.
According to DHQ, while OPSH is concluding contingency plans to voluntary return the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their ancestral homes, some mischievous elites are using the youth to perpetrate heinous crimes.Agim also explained why Operation 777, under OPSH, was established and launched on October 8, 2018 to rejig the existing operations. He said that it became necessary to close gaps between different operations and prevent criminals and bandits from escaping to other places.
He said: “The three vexed issues of ethnicity, religion and political affinity create a general state of mistrust and animosity, often times degenerating into clashes.
“The insecurity that pervades the environment has also been shaped by acts of criminality, due to the activities of cultists and other organised criminal groups.”He explained that the communal crisis that led to the displacements of some communities in Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Mangu and Riyom local councils on June 18, were of significant humanitarian and security concerns.
Also included are the unfortunate ethno-religious crises that occurred from September to October 18, which left scores of causalities, including students of the University of Jos.
According to him, this ethno-religious dimension has further induced fear, apprehension and general state of insecurity across the entire area.Agim expressed concern about the political tension that has arisen from the elections conducted in 13 of the 17 council areas in the state.
He said the local elections were characterised by large-scale protests and agitations in the aftermath of the announcement of results, which was prevented from snowballing into a major ethno-religious crisis.
“Another preventable development that shaped the security environment was the unfortunate killing of Maj. Gen. I.M. Alkali in Du district of Jos South Local Council Area by suspected Berom militia.
“This mutual suspicion has further heightened the level of antagonism between the two communities creating fears about the livelihood of degenerating into violent conflict at the slightest spark.”
The commander disclosed that the OPSH has established a non-governmental organisation, known as Civil-Military Relief Initiative to partner well-meaning bodies to promote peaceful co-existence amongst the citizens.