The Nigerian Army has rejected the call for the removal of the General Officer Commanding 3rd Amoured Division in Plateau State, Major General Ibrahim Ali, by the TEKAN/ECWA bloc of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in the state.
This follows the incessant attacks and killing of people in Plateau communities by armed bandits and terrorists.
It would be recalled that the Chairman of Plateau State chapter of the association, Rev. Moses Ebuga, at a press conference in Jos on Monday, called for the removal of Ali, who is also the Commander of federal troops in the state known as Operation Safe Haven.
According to the Christian body, its call for Ali’s removal was based on his inability to stop the incessant attacks by terror groups in Plateau communities.
However, the army in a statement by its Acting Deputy Director, Army Public Relations Officer, Major Eli Lazarus, said the call for the GOC’s removal was part of a campaign of calumny aimed at tarnishing his image.
Lazarus maintained that the security agencies in the state would continue to carry out their assigned duties professionally devoid of tribal, ethnic, socio-political, and religious sentiments by ensuring peace and tranquility in their area of responsibility.
The statement read, “We are not unmindful of the determination of some merchants of crisis to perpetuate unrest in Jos metropolis and its environs. They are also bent on ensuring that the GOC and Commander OPSH does not continue with his mandate of ensuring sustainable peace in the state.
“The call for the removal of the GOC did not come to us as a surprise as the campaign of calumny against the person of the GOC started shortly after he assumed command. Those series of attacks were indeed precursors to this latest call for his removal.
“While acknowledging some setbacks recorded initially, those challenges have been surmounted by more deployments, robust mobile patrols, and increased presence of security personnel.
“We have also increased our engagements with critical stakeholders and citizens to build confidence and keep the channels of communication open. It is a fact that we have increasingly responded swiftly to distress calls to curtail crime and criminality in the state.
“To allege that Maj Gen IS Ali has not lived to expectation in managing the dual responsibility of GOC and Commander Operation SAFE HAVEN is false. Suffice to say that Plateau State is one of the 5 states under the 3 Division area of responsibility and they have been well managed. Moreso, military officers are deployed for appointments based on their competence, training, experience, and capabilities.
“Additionally, the GOC is under oath to discharge his duties professionally and not to please individuals for their gains. The erroneous mention of the GOC’s initials as MS Ali is also indicative of the fact that the group does not even know the person of the GOC and Commander Operation SAFE HAVEN.
“At this point, we urge the TEKAN/ECWA bloc of CAN to encourage her members to cooperate with the security agencies as they strive to restore peace and security in the state and not to resort to self-help by taking the laws into their hands.
“The public is once again assured that security agencies would continue to carry out its assigned duties professionally devoid of tribal, ethnic, socio-political and religious sentiments by ensuring peace and tranquility in its area of responsibility.”