The Defence headquarters on Wednesday said that no Commander of any military operational outfit or Formation Commander has ever been directed to turn a blind eye or ignore the killings or attacks of herdsmen when they embark on killing spree simply because they are from a section of the country or they are a special breed.
Major General John Enenche, the Coordinator of the newly established Directorate of Defence Media Operations, made the disclosure at a briefing in Abuja.
He was responding to complaints from people of the North Central part of the Country, particularly from Benue state where several attacks by herdsmen have left more than 14 people killed in the last 3 weeks, and when the victims run to the Army Commanders on ground to request for military response, they are allegedly told that no order has been given for them (troops) to go after the herdsmen.
According to General Enenche, “The rules of engagement are there for any military commander to follow. You don’t need to wait for any order from somewhere for you to checkmate criminal attacks on Nigerians. None of our operational Commanders was directed not to act when they are supposed to act. Sometimes, these things could be propaganda aimed at rubbishing the military”.
Speaking on the vexed issue of granting pardon to so-called repentant Boko Haram terrorists and allegations that the Army had hijacked the process, the Coordinator said, “Those wondering if they are truly repentant should know that they (terrorists) were not coerced to repent. They voluntarily surrender in the battle front. It is also one of the non-kinetic means of getting hundreds of their members to drop their arms and renounce the devilish ideology used in deceiving them”.
“The military did not hijack the process neither does it have plans to do that. The military is involved because its secures the repentant terrorists during the period of de-radicalization and rehabilitation, to avoid situations in the past where other Boko Haram members attacked facilities where they were kept and freed them”.
Noting that thorough screening and checks are usually carried out to separate the high risk terrorists who surrender because there is no other way, and low risk terrorists who have realized the fallacy in the evil they are into, Gen. Enenche said the rehabilitation programme is the brainchild of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNICEF adding that it involves 21 foreign and local organization making the programme, a multi-agency venture.
On the aims of the directorate of Defence media operations, he said, “This new outfit of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is the latest strategic initiative of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin, in line with our military effort on media operations.
“In this regard, our channel of communicating the operational activities of the Nigerian Military to the general public has been streamlined to one source which is henceforth the Directorate of Defence Media Operations. This implies that, the Directorate is now the clearing house for all information relating to the operational activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, which will provide authentic information on all issues bothering on military operations.
“Additionally, the Directorate of Defence Media Operations is to disseminate information on multi agency operations of which the Nigerian Military is the lead agency. In clear terms, the Directorate of Defence Media Operations is responsible for press briefings, releases and other press activities on all Military and Armed Forces of Nigeria led multi agency operations, for internal and international engagements.
“The purpose of this establishment is to ensure that the Armed Forces of Nigeria communicate its operational activities through one channel to the general public. It is visioned to achieve “Information Delivery For Positive Effect”, at strategic, operational, tactical and other levels of our target audience.
While soliciting for the cooperation and support of the media for the Directorate of Defence Media Operations to enable the outfit deliver on its mandate, he said, “I want to further state that, the Nigerian Military will continue to review and re-strategize so as to tackle the security challenges in the Country, in order to ensure adequate security of lives and property.
Shedding more light on the new outfit, the Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko said, “The Directorate is created out of the need to interface with the media and the general public on all Armed Forces of Nigeria military operations both internal and external. It will collate and disseminate timely and credible information to you in order to create a balanced understanding of our operations and also our objectives.
“The Directorate would also be responsible for information management in all multi-agency operations involving the military.
“As the Armed Forces of Nigeria is resolutely committed to resolving the current security challenges across the Country, it is imperative for us to keep the citizens abreast with the activities of our various operations. As you all are aware, the current security challenges in the Country range from activities of insurgents in the North East; cattle rustling, banditry and kidnapping in the North West; farmers/herders conflict in the North Central. The South generally is characterized by militancy, oil theft, and cultism.
“Currently, we have a total of 9 ongoing Armed Forces of Nigeria operations in different parts of the country, besides the Multinational Joint Task Force Operation, with its headquarters at N’Djamena, Republic of Chad. The operations are Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Delta Safe, Operation Safe Haven, Operation Awatse, Operation Safe Corridor and Operation Whirl Stroke.
“Others are Operation Whirl Punch, Operation Thunde Strike and Operation Hadarin Daji.
“The Directorate of Defence Media Operations is established to coordinate, collate and disseminate information from the theatres all Armed Forces of Nigeria led operations. In consonance with the Chief of Defence Staff’s vision, we will continue to be responsive to national security commitments, by ensuring timely and credible dissemination of information of our operations.
“This we will do, through conducts of regular press briefings and releases. I thus enjoin you all to feel free to clear your doubts on issues that have to do with Armed Forces of Nigeria led operations. Our lines will be open to you at all times and your support, cooperation and understanding is solicited as security is everyone’s business”, Onyeuko said.
Brig Gen Onyeuko gave a brief highlight of the various operations as follows – OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE
Operation Lafiya Dole is the ongoing counterterrorism/counterinsurgency operations being conducted by the Armed Forces of Nigeria, comprising personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force and some other security agencies, against the Boko Haram Terrorists/Islamic States West African Province, ISWAP for short, insurgents in the North-East of the Country, covering principally, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. The operations commenced in 2009 with the emergence of the Boko Haram activities in the North-East of Nigeria. You are aware of the events that have unfolded in the fight against the insurgents, and of course, the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies to curb the insurgents in the North East till date. The fight is still on; of course you are all aware of the recent attacks on our Base in Damboa in Borno State; our troops gallantly repelled them. But we are assuring Nigerians of our commitment to ensure peace and order returns to the North East.
OPERATION DELTA SAFE
Operation Pulo Shield transmitted to Operation Delta Safe in August 2003. The mandate of Operation Delta Safe is to stop illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism, oil theft and other sundry crimes in the Niger Delta Region. The activities of Operation Delta Safe have provided considerably safe environment for both the Multinationals and indigenous petroleum companies to operate safely in the Niger Delta Region, and pipeline vandalism and other criminalities such as kidnapping, cultism and other sundry illegalities have reduced to the barest minimum in the Region. The operation has recorded some significant milestone with the clearing of the waters of the activities of the vandals. The NNPC has recorded a downward trend in their losses from pump stations. These achievements would be consolidated until the entire SS is free of these criminal elements.
OPERATION SAFE HAVEN
Operation Safe Haven was launched on 21 January 2010 to curb ethno-religious and communal crises, herdsmen and indigenous farmers feuds, cattle rustling, kidnapping, arson, attacks, killing and maiming and other incessant crises in Plateau and some parts of Bauchi State. It was later extended to Southern Kaduna state to take care of the local ethnic conflicts in the area. The enactment and activation of this operation has engendered conducive conditions in the affected areas. The peace on the Plateau is evidenced by low cases of clashes between farmers and herders. As both side of the divide live harmoniously and going about their normal activities.
Operation Awatse deployed on 5 October 2015 and was activated on 5 November 2015 to curb pipeline vandalism and other criminalities such as cultism, armed robbery and area-boys activities, in parts of Lagos and Ogun States. The Operation successfully dislodged the militants from their strong holds and has successfully mitigated issues of pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering activities within its AOR. Officers and men of the Armed Forces and other security agencies have worked tirelessly to dislodge the criminals in the Region. We will continue to be proactive and committed to safeguard lives and properties in the Region.
OPERATION SAFE CORRIDOR
Operation Safe Corridor was launched on 2 September 2015 to create an avenue for surrendered insurgents to undergo De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Programme. The Operation is on-going in Gombe State and has witnessed tremendous successes as repentant Boko Haram Terrorists surrender from the operations areas, who are in turn being profiled and sent to the Centre for the De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Programme. It is important to state that, considerable number of repentant members of the Sect being de-radicalized, have been rehabilitated and some already re-integrated to the society. The Operation has gone a long way to serve as an eye-opener for members of the Sect, thereby leading them to surrender their arms. Other insurgents and terrorists are being encouraged to also surrender through our means of reaching out, which will be sustained.
OPERATION WHIRL STROKE
Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) was launched on 30 April 2018. It was mandated to address the farmers-herders clashes and banditry in parts of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States. This Operation has been largely successful and still on-going. The Operations had been able to unit various factions of disputes. Communities that have been at loggerheads with each other due to misunderstandings have been brought to round-table for discussions and settled amicably. These have brought relative peace to the Region. Surely, the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will continue to be committed to maintaining peace and order in the environment.
OPERATION WHIRL PUNCH
Operation Whirl Punch was launched on 1 August 2018 to address issues of kidnappings, cattle rustling and other forms of criminalities in Kaduna – Birnin Gwari axis, Kaduna – Abuja Expressway and the general area of Kaduna State, bordering Zamfara, Katsina and Niger States. The Operation has been successful and still on going. The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are committed to maintaining increased vigilance and reduce the spate of attacks in the areas to barest minimum.
OPERATION THUNDER STRIKE
Operation Thunder Strike was launched on 10 May 2019 to curb the menace of armed banditry and kidnapping along Abuja – Kaduna Highway as well as dislodge criminal elements from the Abuja – Kaduna rail line and adjoining communities to restore sanity (law and order) to the areas. The Operation has been successful and is still on-going. Nigerians are assured of our commitments to safeguarding the rail road and the environs.
OPERATION HADARIN DAJI
Operation Hadarin Daji was launched on 10 May 2019 to replace Operation SHARAN DAJI, which operated in its stead from 15 August 2015 to when Operation HADARIN DAJI was launched. These operations were launched to curb the menace of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and sundry criminalities in Zamfara and contiguous states of Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi and part of Niger States. The activities of the criminal elements there have been reduced to the barest minimum, and we will continue to be proactive to security commitments.
Leave A Response