The Nigerian Army has shunned the call for the removal of its General Officer Commanding 3rd Amoured Division, Major General Ibrahim Ali, following the attacks and killing of people in Plateau communities by gunmen.
The Christian Association of Nigeria, in Plateau state, had at a news briefing in Jos, called for the removal of Ali, who is also the Commander of federal troops known as Operation Safe Haven in the state.
The Christian body led by its Chairman, Rev. Moses Ebuga, said its call for Ali’s removal was based on his inability to stop gunmen attacks in Plateau communities.
But the Army in a statement said the call for the GOC’s removal was part of a campaign of calumny aimed at tarnishing his image.
The statement by the acting Deputy Director, Army Public Relations Officer, Major Eli Lazarus, assured the people that security agencies would continue to carry out its assigned duties professionally. He noted that its duty would be devoid of tribal, ethnic, socio-political and religious sentiments by ensuring peace and tranquility in its area of responsibility.
The army said, “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 his assumption of 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 Ibrahim 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 five states under the 3 Division area of responsibility and they have been well managed. More so, 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 personal 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 Christian body 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 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.”