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STF celebrates with resettled Gashish IDPs, reassures them of security



The Special Task Force (STF), in charge of security in Plateau on Monday visited Gashish District to celebrate with people that had returned to their ancestral land after they fled the area on June 22, 2018.

The residents had fled the area after gunmen invaded their community, killed many people, injured several others and burnt houses.

Police reports indicated that more than 200 people were killed by the gunmen that invaded the area in the night.

Thousands fled the area and were quartered in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), camps in Barkin-Ladi, Kuru and Heipang, with some of them able to return to their homes in December 2018, after the STF restored peace to the area.

To mark the first anniversary of the attack, Maj. Gen. Augustine Agundu, the STF Commander, visited the area to reassure the returnees of the security outfit’s commitment to their safety.

“We are here to reassure you of our commitment to your safety. We also want to be sure that you have settled into normal lives and have returned to your farms,” he said.

“We are ready to deal with people that are not ready to let peace reign. We will remove those who do not want us to stay in peace. We shall not spare any trouble maker.

“It is time for farming and anybody that is going to disturb farming activities will be removed from this society

“There is enough grass for the cows, so we won’t allow people to block the cattle from feeding on them and shall also not allow the cows to stray into the crops,” he said.

The commander said that the STF had the intelligence and manpower to deal decisively with anyone who may wish to foment trouble, and advised the people to live in peace with one another so as to reap God’s abundant blessings.

Agundu assured the people that he would liaise with the Plateau government to ensure the return of the remaining IDPs.

M Peter Gyenden, member of the Plateau House of Assembly representing Barkin-Ladi constituency, in a remark, appreciated the STF for the “kind and reassuring visit”, and reaffirmed the people’s desire to live in peace with one another.

He, however, appealed to the Federal Government to actualise the establishment of the mobile police squadron in the area as promised.

“The Police outfit will give the people more confidence as they go about their activities,” he said.

Mr Francis Chong, President, Gashish Development Association, in his speech, said that the people were living in fear of fresh attacks.

Chong corroborated Gyenden’s position that a security outfit be set up in the area.

Malam Musa Musa, a Fulani youth leader, in his remarks, said that Fulani youths were committed to ensuring enduring peace in Gashish.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the commander donated some clothing and food materials to the people of the community.

NAN also reports that the communities will soon hold a memorial and thanksgiving service at COCIN Church, Anguldi in Jos as part of activities to mark the one year anniversary.

Edited by Ephraims Sheyin


STF Commander, Miyetti Allah meet over cattle rustling, criminalities in Plateau



The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) have met over ways of ending cattle rustling and other criminalities in Barkin Ladi Local Government area and other parts of Plateau.
A statement issued on Sunday in Jos by the Spokesperson of STF, Maj. Ibrahim Shittu, said that the meeting had the Commander of the task force, Maj.-Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo in attendance.
Shittu said that the meeting, held on Saturday at Barkin Ladi and attended by officials of the association in the locality, followed the recent rustling of some cows by suspected criminals in the area.
He quoted the commander as saying, in his address, that the meeting had become imperative so as to discuss possible ways of ending rustling and ensuring lasting peace in the area.
Okonkwo urged the cattle breeders to eschew violence, avoid taking laws into their hands and embrace peace at all times.
He promised to recover all the rustled cows and bring the perpetrators to book.
“Appreciable progress has been made in recovering some of the rustled cows, while steps to recover the remaining ones are underway.
“The state government is aware of your predicaments and efforts are being made to address them,” the commander said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of MACBAN in the locality, Alhaji Shuaibu Bayero, thanked the commander for his efforts towards achieving lasting peace in the state, since assumption of office.
He, however, urged the commander to ensure that all the stolen cows were recovered, saying that this was the only means of livelihood of his members.
Bayero said that his members, particularly the youth, had been cautioned to eschew any form of violence and desist from counter-attacks as a way of expressing their grievances.
He assured the commander of their support and cooperation to enable him succeed in his quest for lasting peace in the state.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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STF partners Plateau traditional rulers on security



The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) has called on traditional rulers in Plateau to support its bid at ensuring lasting peace in all parts of the state.

Maj.-Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, the Commander of the Task Force, made the call when he visited the Acting President, Bassa Traditional Council and Brra Nggwe Irigwe, Rev. Ronku Aka, on Monday in Bassa.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that most communities in Irigwe Chiefdom of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau were recently attacked by unidentified gunmen.

NAN also reports that the incessant attacks led to loss of lives and property worth millions.

Okonkwo, who revealed some of the strategies adopted by the operation to tackle all forms of criminality in the state, added that the support and cooperation of the traditional rulers was key.

According him, the task force would continue to engage critical stakeholders in its efforts to end attacks and counter attacks in the state.

He explained that the task force would adopt the non-kinetic approach in stemming the wanton killings that has over time engulfed the state.

“We have adopted some non-kinetic approaches to end the lingering crises in this area and the state in general.

“Part of this approach is constant dialogue with relevant stakeholders, and the traditional institution is key in this regard.

“This approach forms part of the non-kinetic activities adopted by the operation to stem wanton killings in the state,” he said.

The Commander noted that troops would continue to carry out coordinated operations within its areas of operation in order to restore total peace.

He further assured that the task force would remain neutral and professional so as to win the confidence and cooperation of the people in the discharge of its duty.

Okonkwo also warned crisis merchants to desist from their evil act, adding that anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

“OPSH will not be overwhelm in its duty, we will remain professional and neutral in discharging our statutory mandate. Anyone caught sponsoring crimes to the detriment of the state will be dealt with according to the law,” he said.

Okonkwo appealed to the Fulani and Irigwe communities in the area to eschew violence and embrace peace for growth and progress of the area and state in general.

He called on the members of the public to cooperate with the task force by providing relevant information to sustain its operations against banditry and other criminal activities in the state.

Responding, the Brra Nggwe Irigwe thanked the commander for the visit and promised to work with the task force in ensuring lasting peace returns to his Chiefdom.

NAN reports that Commander had earlier visited troops’ locations in Southern Kaduna, Jebbu Miango, Barkin-Ladi, Mangu, Shendam, Bokkos and Wase in Plateau, as part of his operational visit having assumed duty in as Commander a fortnight ago.

Okonkwo had also visited heads of other security agencies in Plateau in a bid to cement the existing relationship and solicited for cooperation and robust synergy to end insecurity in the state.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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COVID-19: NCDC advises pregnant, breastfeeding women to take precautions



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has advised pregnant and breastfeeding women to take routine preventative actions to avoid the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja.

Ihekweazu said that the preventive measures were recommended in alignment with the Department of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).

He listed the measures to include diligent hand-washing, avoiding close contact with people exhibiting symptoms of infection and covering sneezes and coughs.

He said that it was not currently known if pregnant women were more susceptible to COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they were more likely to have serious illness as a result.

“Based on available information, pregnant women seem to be at equal risk as other adults.

“However, it is known that the bodily changes that occur during pregnancy may put expectant women at increased risk for some infections.

“Pregnant women have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections such as influenza.

“Therefore, pregnant women should take the same precautions as the general public to avoid COVID-19 infection,” he advised.

The NCDC boss advised pregnant women to frequently clean their hands using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

“Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on a daily basis. If possible, stay home for the entire duration of the pregnancy except for ante-natal care hospital visits.

“Eat healthy and nutritious meals. Ensure adequate bed rest. If you think you may have coronavirus or have been exposed, stay at home for 14 days.

“Do not go to the hospital but contact your doctor and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) toll free number, 0800-9700 0010 or state epidemiologist immediately.

“You will be assessed in line with current case definition guidelines set out by the NCDC.

“You should contact your clinic to inform them that you have symptoms suggestive of coronavirus, particularly if you have any routine appointments in the next seven days.

“They should postpone routine antenatal visits until after the isolation period is over, and arrange the right place and time for you to come for your visits.

“You should not attend a routine clinic. There may be a need for them to reduce the number of ante-natal visits you have,” he explained.

He said that breastfeeding women, should, along with their families and health care providers, decide whether and how to start or continue breast-feeding.

Ihekweazu said breast milk provided protection against many illnesses and was the best source of nutrition for infants.

“In limited studies, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk; however, it is not known for sure whether mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus via breast milk.

“If you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection and choose to breastfeed, maintain strict hygiene and wash your hands before each feed and wear a face mask,” he said.

Iheakweazu said that another good option was to pump or express by hand breast milk and have someone not sick to feed the baby.

“If they pump or hand express the milk, they should make sure they wash their hands before doing so.

“Be aware that media speculation is rife about COVID-19 and not everything you read in the newspapers or online or hear is accurate or verified.

“Trusted and accurate information will always be released by the Ministry of Health or Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

You can find the latest information and advice by contacting NCDC on: NCDC Toll-free Number: 0800-9700 0010,, Twitter and Facebook: @NCDCgov,” he stated.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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STF commander warns Plateau residents against communal clashes



Maj. Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, the Commander of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), operating in Plateau, part of Kaduna and Bauchi States, has warned Plateau residents against communal clashes.

Okonkwo gave the warning on Friday during an operational visit to Kpashio and Rogochongo communities of Irigwe Chiefdom of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau.

The Commander, who frowned  at incessant attacks being carried out by unidentified gunmen within the Irigwe land, also cautioned criminals to stay off the state.

Okonkwo assured people of the communities of his readiness to prevent further attacks in areas under the purview of the task force through coordinated operations and constant patrols.

Speaking in Kpashio village, Mr Leo Dillon, a community leader, said that the presence of troops of the task force had boosted their confidence.

Dillion said that it would enable them  go about their daily activities unperturbed.

He maintained that the village would improve on its community policing and work in cooperation with the security agencies in order to reduce the rate of criminal activities in the area.

Similarly,  Mr Aba Zara said  during the visit to Rogochongo village that the  community would remain accommodative to indigenes and settlers as a way of managing their differences.

Zara described residents of the village as a peace-loving people whose continuous efforts toward peace building had been sustained over the years.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports  that Okonkwo assumed office as Commander of thr task force on April 7.

He has since been going on operational visits to improve on the security situation in areas covered by the operation.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Plateau attack: STF commander urges calm



Maj. Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, the Commander of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has urged residents of Haru community of Irigwe Chiefdom in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau to remain calm following an attack gunmen on the community by gunmen.

Major Ibrahim Shittu, Media Officer of the task force said in a statement in Jos that Okonkwo made the call when he visited the affected community on Wednesday.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that gunmen attacked Haru community on Tuesday night which led to loss of lives and property.

Shittu said the commander, who described the incident as unfortunate, promised to put his troops on alert to curtail insecurity in the area.

He said Okonkwo assured the people of the community of the operation’s readiness to stem the spate of wanton killings by increasing troops’ presence in the area.

He said the commander commended the people’s resilience and urged them to remain law abiding, adding that the operation was working hard to stop criminal elements from terrorising the area.

“The commander also urged people of the community to cooperate with military personnel by providing timely information to security agencies in their bid to ensure peace returns to the area.

“He reiterated the Operation’s commitment to secure its joint operational areas with a clear mandate of building on the existing peace being enjoyed in its areas of responsibility,” he said.

The media officer said the Vice President of Irigwe Development Association (IDA), Chief Aweze Doro, who spoke during the visit, thanked the task force for its quick response to the incident and promised to suport it with relevant information to aid its efforts to stem banditry and other criminal activities in the area.

He said that the continued presence of troops of the taskforce in the area would boost the morale of residents who were living in fear following the incessant attacks within the area

Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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STF will remain neutral in fighting insecurity in Plateau, Kaduna – Commander



Maj.-Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, the Commander of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) has assured that his officers and men would remain neutral in the fight against insecurity in Plateau and parts of Kaduna State.

Okonkwo made this known during a familiarisation  tour to the Sector 7 of the operation domiciled in Kafachan, Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna state on Saturday.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Jamaa’a, Sanga, Kauru, Kaura and Zango Kataf are four local government areas of the state that falls under the purview of the OPSH.

NAN also reports that Okonkwo, on Tuesday assumed duty as the 12th commander of the operation

Okonkwo replaced Maj.-Gen. Augustine Agundu, who has been deployed to the Nigeria Army Resource Centre (NARC), Abuja.

Okonkwo said the personnel of the operation would not take sides  with any individual or group persons in order to win the trust and confidence of the generality of people

“A lot has been done in fighting insecurity in Plateau and parts of Kaduna state under our operation, but we shall consolidate on the gains already achieved

“We shall use kinetic and non-kinetic target approach to nip insecurity in the bud.

“Most importantly, we shall remain neutral so that we can gain the trust of the people,” he said

Okonkwo further said that troops of the operation would be proactive in responding to distress calls, adding it would maximise the limited resources at its disposal to produce result.

The commander promised to constantly engage traditional and religious leaders in the fight against all forms of insecurity, insisting that they remain key in achieving lasting peace in the society.

Earlier, Mr Samuel Aruwan, the Kaduna state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, welcomed the commander to one of his new places of assignment in the state.

Aruwan promised the commander the support and total cooperation of the state government to enable him succeed in his assignment.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza

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STF commander calls for synergy to end insecurity in Plateau



The Commander of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Maj.-Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, has called for stronger tie between security agencies toward ending all forms of insecurity in Plateau.

 Major Ibrahim Shittu, Media Officer of OPSH, said in a statement on Friday that Okonkwo made the appeal when he visited the General  Officer  Commanding (GOC), 3 Division of the Nigeria Army, Rukuba, near Jos, Maj.-Gen. Nuhu Angbazo.

Shittu said Okonkwo visited Angbazo on Thursday.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Okonkwo assumed duty on Tuesday as the 12th commander of the operation.

Okonkwo replaced Maj.-Gen. Augustine Agundu, who has been deployed to the Nigeria Army Resource Centre (NARC), Abuja.

According to Shittu, the visit by the commander is to announce his presence in the state and seek close partnership with the GOC in combatting insecurity in his areas of operation.

Shittu said Okonkwo, who said Plateau was before now known for peace, promised to do all within his human powers to restore lasting peace to the nooks and crannies of the state.

He added that the commander called for support and cooperation of the Division to bring lasting peace to the state.

 He said Okonkwo promised to enhance the existing relationship between the OPSH and 3 Division toward achieving harmonious relationship among citizens of state.

Responding, Shittu said the GOC promised to work closely with OPSH in its bid to restore total peace in Plateau and across its areas of operations.

He said Angbazo stressed that the existing relationship between the duo has yielded positive results in the past, hence would be consolidated upon.

The media officer said that the Commander of OPSH also paid an operational visit to its Sector 3 Tactical Headquarters, Forward Operational Base in Hukke and Kwall, where he addressed the troops.

He said the commander charged personnel in the sector and operational base to be more dedicated, resilient and proactive in their duties, promising to support them at all times.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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COVID-19: Transmission from infected mother to child through breastfeeding not proven – Lecturer



Prof. Sunday Omilabu, a Professor of Medical Virology at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, says presently, COVID-19 has not been established to be transmittable from an infected mother to child.

Omilabu, who is also the Hospital Virologist to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), disclosed this during an online interactive session with members of the Health Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

Omilabu, also an Adjunct Professor of Medical Virology to the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), spoke on the possibility of the virus getting into the foetus.

“Talking about pregnant women and breastfeeding, infected mothers, who we have had from our little experience during this COVID-19 outbreak, have no virus in their breasts milk.

“And this is not far-fetched because the virus is a localised infection in the respiratory tract.

“It takes a long time before the virus moves into the bloodstream.

“It also takes a long time before the virus moves into other body fluids and that is what we’ve seen in this instance.

“It is localised, it is not a systemic viral infection,’’ Omilabu, who is also a principal investigatory consultant at the Lagos State Bio Bank, said.

According to him, this requires further studies as COVID-19 is still a new disease.

“So, we need more studies to prove that the virus can get into the foetus.

“But we know that it is localised, it will take a long while before the virus can get into the foetus.

“It is an instance where we have viremia that will make it much easier for the virus to gain access into the foetus,’’ he said.

Viremia is a medical condition where viruses enter the bloodstream and hence have access to the rest of the body.

Omilabu charged Nigerians to keep observing standard precautionary measures, including handwashing with soap and clean running water, use of hand sanitisers and maintaining social distance to guard against COVID-19.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Abdulfatah Babatunde

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STF commander calls for objective reportage



Maj. Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, the Commander of Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has called on journalists in the state to be objective and professional in reporting security matters.

Okonkwo gave the advice in a familiarisation meeting with some journalists and heads of media organisations in the state on Thursday in Jos.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Okonkwo, on Tuesday assumed duty as the 12th commander of the operation.

Okonkwo replaced Maj. Gen. Augustine Agundu, who has been deployed to the Nigeria Army Resource Centre (NARC), Abuja.

The new commander urged reporters to first consider national security and the interest of the people when reporting, adding that they should their facts clear before going to the press.

“I want to thank you for the support you have rendered to my predecessor. I urge you to extend same to me. But I want to urge you to be objective and professional when reporting our activities.

“National security is very important and it should be our collective concern, focus and interest. I am not saying you should hide anything, but try and get your facts clear before going to press,” he said.

The commander promised to work closely with media practitioners in the state, adding that officers and men of the task force would be friendly to Journalists.

He promised to synergise with other security agencies in the state toward ending the spate of insecurity in some parts of the state.

“My operation will mostly be in the field and we shall synergise with other security agencies to end all forms of insecurity in our area of operations.

“It will not be easy, but we shall try our best and God’s willing insecurity here will be a thing of the past,” he said.

Okonkwo promised to build on the feats achieved by his predecessor, adding that he would continue with the modest achievements.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz

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