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Ortom to meet Buhari over planned withdrawal of military operation

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Following speculations that Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) may be withdrawn from Benue State as peace has been restored in the state, Governor Samuel Ortom wants to meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

Ortom dropped the hint in Aondona, Gwer West Council at a thanksgiving service for a new Catholic priest, Fr. Cornelius Anagbe, younger brother to Bishop Wilfred Anagbe of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi.

The governor noted that though the military operation brought relative peace in parts of the state, there were still pockets of security threats that need to be fully addressed with time, expressing the hope that the president would see reason and heed to his appeal.

He commended the officers and men of OPWS for their selfless service, commitment, and professionalism, which yielded results in the fight against insecurity in Benue.

Governor Ortom expressed the readiness of his administration to continue supporting security agencies operating in the state to succeed.

According him, the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law remains in force and must be obeyed by all, irrespective of where they are coming from, as those who violate the legislation will be sanctioned according to its provisions.

Meanwhile, the military is to re-open the Maiduguri/Damboa road, eight years after its closure due to Boko Haram activities in the North East.

The 87km road was taken over by terrorists, forcing motorists and other road users to ply the tortuous through Damaturu/Darazau/Gombe roads in Yobe, Bauchi and Gombe states.

The re-opening was disclosed yesterday by Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum while highlighting the challenges of counter-insurgency operations to Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.), together with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, and Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique, at the Government House, Maiduguri.

He said with the re-opening of road, he would no more ply the 683-kilometre road, but drive personally along Damboa road to Biu, Chibok, Mbalala, Askira, and Uba in Borno.

“I’ll personally be plying this road, once the military gives me the clearance. Eight years it was closed by the army over insecurity to lives and property,” he said.

He told his guests that unless the root of Boko Haram was addressed, the resettlement and recovery of liberated communities could be illusive and would continue.

Zulum, therefore, urged the military to scale up counter-insurgency and terrorism operations in the Lake Chad region.


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