Not many who served at the helm of affairs of the Special Task Force Code named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) headquartered in Jos, the Plateau State capital with operational areas covering some parts of Southern Kaduna and Bauchi States had enjoyed the kind of wide acceptability that the outgoing Commander, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim S. Ali has gained.
Upon his deployment to the state on July 13, 2021 to serve as General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Armored Division and Commander, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Maj. Gen. IS Ali instantly demonstrated that he not only possesses the capacity to handle the seemingly daunting task before him but; that he is a patriot desirous of upholding his calling as a fine officer and a gentleman. His professional handling of the outbreak of violence in Jebbu-Bassa that same month and the unfortunate Rukuba road incident in August 2021 became a litmus test for him.
The military tact and operational strategies he introduced through the training of One Hundred and Sixty-five (165) members of the local Vigilante Groups in intelligence gathering and networking has significantly reduced the level of attacks and counter-attacks in some communities especially Bassa, Riyom, Mangu and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of the state. This gesture remains indelible in the annals of the OPSH history and, one that has gone a long way in setting the bedrock for active collaboration between communities and the conventional security architecture operating in the state particularly, OPSH.
The Army General displayed leadership prowess by encouraging his Lieutenants- Sector Commanders- to be neutral and fearless in handling the conflict and attacks on communities so much so that communities in Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Jos South and other such places have continued to witness a steady decline in number of attacks and acts of criminality that was once the persistent plight of the people.
The last few months that Maj. Gen. IS Ali held sway, the OPSH had busted rings of syndicates who specialized in gun running across Plateau State and beyond. His unwavering determination to weed out bad elements who hitherto hibernate in some of the unpoliced spaces across OPSH operational base ensured that kidnappers and other criminal elements were either neutralized, forced to relocate to other places or captured. Those the STF captured are today facing various charges in different courts of law.-->
It is noteworthy to mention that Maj. Gen IS Ali’sadoption of non-kinetic approaches such as advocacy strategies, favourable disposition to the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR),sporting activities, provision of free medical services and relief materials to attacked communities hashelped in deescalating tension in troubled communities and, consolidate on the gains that the PPBA has recorded in those areas. This hasendeared him and OPSH to the populace and proved naysayers wrong.
Little wonder, Maj. Gen. IS Ali did not mince words in his remark at a function organized recently to bid him farewell at the Rhino Golf Club, RukubaCantonment. The Army General stated that “I am leaving 3 Div. and OPSH with a wealth of knowledge I will always treasure. My tenure can be described as a fantastic learning experience that has made me a complete and well-rounded person. I have learnt to be an open minded person and to value other people’s opinion”.
During his tenure, the PPBA enjoyed tremendous quality collaborative partnership that produced the kind of impact that is visible across the state today. PPBA’s partnership with OPSH is a marriage of convenience that we believe will continue to grow from strength to strength even beyond now. As you assumed another responsibility as the Theater Commander, Operation HadinKai, it is our sincere prayer that you will excel to the pinnacle of your career. Plateau State will no doubt miss your wise counsel and professional approach to addressing our security situation and the peacebuilding process in general.