CSO lauds CDS over counter-terrorism feats

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, says security agencies have so far neutralised 250 bandits and captured over 600 since the interruption of communication facilities in Zamfara, parts of Niger, Sokoto and Kaduna states.

The Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative (GOPRI), a civil society group with a vested interest in peacebuilding in Nigeria, has commended the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, for effectively leading the policy and operational initiative in counterterrorism warfare.

The group also hailed the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Farouq Yahaya, for living up to expectations of Nigerians within the few months of his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.

GOPRI, in a statement, Tuesday, however, regretted that in spite of the tremendous achievements being recorded by the Nigerian Military, saboteurs were busy instigating the public with the view of painting negative pictures about the Nigerian Military, especially the Army.

To this end, the group in the statement by its Executive Director, Amb. Melvin Ejeh, has vowed to support the military with an initiative aimed at not only boosting its morale in the counterterrorism war but also changing public perception about it.

GOPRI’s statement came ahead of its launch of a support project, tagged: “Troop Support Initiative.”

GOPRI explained that the initiative was aimed at rallying support for the Nigerian Military, “particularly the Nigerian Army in their continuous selfless roles to keep our dear and beloved country united.”

Ejeh described GOPR as “a registered indigenous Non-Governmental Organisation, with focus on peace-building, de-radicalization and community resilience architecture in North Central, North East, South East communities in particular and Nigeria at large.”

“Since inception, GOPRI with over 22 members of staff and over 5,000 volunteers across the country and the Sahel, has according to its mandate, continued to promote lasting peace through advocacy, medical outreaches and capacity building workshops, as well as economic empowerment, touching over 36,060 ( thirty-six thousand and sixty) persons,” he said.

It further read:” As a civil society group with a vested interest in peacebuilding in Nigeria, we wish to commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Farouq Yahaya, over the achievements recorded by the Army, the military and other security agencies against terrorism, banditry and criminality in the country so far.

“GOPRI, in line with the revolutionary vision of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, which is building “A professional Nigerian Army Ready To Accomplish Assigned Missions Within A Joint Environment In Defence of Nigeria”, wishes to inform you of our support initiative, tagged, Troops Support Initiative.

“This programme is the first phase of a civil society initiative to attract unbiased supports for the Nigeria Army and our military who are working tirelessly and sacrificially in the defence of our dear nation. This initiative becomes not only imperative but also expedient because of continuous, deliberate malicious, cyber, physical and emotional coordinated attacks on our Army.”

Describing the Nigerian Army as “one that has earned its place in the enviable rank of world’s bests in terms of professionalism, courage, resilience and combat efficiency, with glowing tributes from her regional and global peace-keeping outings, as well as the management of the hydra-headed monster of insecurity within her borders”, the group noted that:” The Army deserves every accolade, encomium and support.”

“However, factors such as misguided social media reports, activities of desperate politicians’ inadequate media coverage, to ethnic, religious, political sentiment, some international media conspiracies have contributed immensely in giving the Army an unfair outlook.

“This is despite the unquantifiable sacrifice of our gallant officers and soldiers in the discharge of their sworn duties of protecting the nation’s territorial integrity,” it regretted.

The statement read: “It has become worrisome to us that some international organisations and local news media agencies have deliberately targeted the Army in their blackmails aimed at setting the Nigerian public in particular and the outside world in general against the Nigerian Army despite their successes and sacrifices for the unity of the country.

“We are, therefore, calling on all Nigerians, home and in the diaspora, to come together irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic differences to support our Army and other security agencies in the fight against crimes and insurgents in the interest of national unity. This is most important given that we have not just one country but also one Army.”

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