OPSH Vows to Clamp Down on Criminals Disrupting Farming Activities in Plateau

A cross-section of the participants at the one-day summit

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Division of the Nigeria Army and Commander of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Maj. Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, has issued a strong warning to criminals seeking to disrupt farming activities in Plateau State.

Speaking at a one-day peace summit organized by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Plateau State Council, in collaboration with OPSH, Abubakar reiterated the army’s dedication to ensuring food security and preserving peace.

Represented by Colonel US Abdulsalam, the GOC emphasized, “It is also imperative to point out that the ethno-religious tensions generated by remarks from some religious and ethnic leaders are not only threatening food security but also undermining social cohesion needed for collective progress in our communities.

“I would like to send a strong warning to criminals and those planning to obstruct farming activities during this rainy season, which could result in food scarcity in the coming year. OPSH will not hesitate to deal decisively, in line with the law, with anyone planning to disrupt farming activities or cause harm”.

The summit, held in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area (LGA) and themed “Promoting Inter-Ethnic and Interreligious Dialogue: Towards Ensuring Food Security in Plateau State,” gathered youths from Mangu, Barkin-Ladi, Bokkos, Jos South, and Riyom LGAs.

Addressing the impact of disruptions on farming due to community displacements, Abubakar stated, “Many of our communities faced challenges in cultivating their land optimally due to displacement from their homes. Some people are still unable to return to resume farming.

“The agricultural sector remains crucial to the overall development of any state or nation. There is a direct connection between food security, economic development, and national security. It is essential to provide an environment conducive to food production without fear or conflict.”

The GOC expressed confidence that the summit would facilitate dialogue among stakeholders to generate informed perspectives on food security in Plateau State.

Rev. Fr Akpe Stephen

Additionally, Rev. Fr Akpe Stephen, the guest speaker and conflict resolution expert, emphasized the sacredness of food and the importance of policies to protect food resources.

He said, “Hunger doesn’t know religion or tribe. Community leaders and stakeholders should create awareness and caution citizens against food abuse, both at home and in public places.” Stephen also addressed the environmental aspect, urging respect for nature and the importance of planting trees to maintain biodiversity. “Food is a creation from God and is meant to be sacred for our well-being. We must treat food with reverence,” he emphasized.

In his recommendations, Stephen urged the development of policies to safeguard food, community education on food security, and the promotion of personal hygiene practices to secure food resources.

Mr. Polycarp Auta, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel

In his address, Mr. Polycarp Auta, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel, NUJ Plateau State Council, highlighted the summit’s aim to complement the efforts of the state government and security agencies in promoting peace and food security.

“This summit is part of our modest contribution toward the peace efforts of the state government and the security agencies, particularly Operation Safe Haven. Beyond reporting security issues, we felt the need to bring young people of different tribes and religions, from troubled communities in Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Riyom, and Jos South LGAs to fashion out the best ways toward peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Auta emphasized the importance of agriculture in Plateau State and the nation as a whole, stating, “As the farming season sets in, and Plateau being an agric hub, we also wish to use this medium to remind ourselves of the looming food insecurity in the country and the desire to develop a collective approach that will allow farmers to cultivate enough food to feed the state and the nation in general. This, therefore, informs the choice of the topic for this summit.”

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