Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), has directed the combined forces of the 3 Division Nigerian Army and the Joint Task Force Operation Safe Haven to take a more assertive stance and firmly eradicate terrorists who are wreaking havoc in the Plateau and neighbouring states.
Gen Lagbaja handed down the stern order today Saturday 27 January 2024, while addressing troops during an operational tour to Plateau, following a recent disruption of peace in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State. According to the Army Chief, “Go hard on those disturbing the peace of the Plateau and neutralize any terrorist annihilating people and burning or destroying property and other economic valuables”.
The COAS acknowledged that the security dynamics on the Plateau are complex because of its political background, which is woven with cultural and economic sentiments. The COAS had previously been briefed on the security situation by Major General Abdusalam Abubakar, Commander of Operation Safe Haven and General Officer Commanding 3 Division. These, he continued, explain why the battles have lasted longer and been more deadly.
After reviewing the weapons and ammo that the soldiers had retrieved, Gen. Lagbaja praised them for preventing the situation from spreading to other regions of the state.
He gave his word, saying he was convinced the military would be stronger and would stop at nothing to bring peace and quiet back to the Plateau and other problematic areas.
As a result, Gen. Lagbaja challenged the troops with upholding the standards of all law-abiding, peace-loving Plateau inhabitants. Stressing that trust must be earned, the troops must do every effort to keep the confidence of the people they are entrusted to guard.
“Our Operations and activities must be in compliance with the rules of engagement and devoid of sentiments”, he emphasized.
He said he understands the difficulties and obstacles the troops face while they lawfully perform their jobs, especially in light of some of the serious accusations levelled against them.
He went on to explain that while it is impossible to completely rule out the possibility of a single incident of misconduct during operations, he gave his word that the Nigerian Army, as well as the Armed Forces of Nigeria, have internal regulations that forbid taking into account a soldier’s race or religion when deploying troops.
He asked the soldiers to continue being responsible, obedient, disciplined, and responsive, but he also warned them that anyone caught breaking the law would face harsh consequences.