The Special Task Force (STF) codenamed “Operation Safe Haven” deployed to restore peace and order in the troubled city of Jos has a new commander. He is Major General Henry Ayoola. Gen. Ayoola who took over the mantle of leadership from Major Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim was before his appointment the director, Armed Forces Stimulation Centre Jaji, Kaduna State.
Ayoola is the sixth commander of the STF since its inception. An Electrical/Electronics Engineer, General Ayoola commenced his military service as a boy-soldier of the Nigerian Military School. He later attended the Nigerian Defence Academy and is an alumnus of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and the University of Lagos.
While taking over from his predecessor Major General Mohammed Ibrahim on Friday May 11 at the Task Force’s Jos Headquarters, Ayoola said that efforts
would be redoubled “I look forward to being able to bring about a sustainable peace on the Plateau and Tafawa Balewa Local Government in Bauchi State, which is my mandate. “I have come as the harbinger of hope. I have also come to consolidate on the gains of all the governments’ efforts so far, so that we can have sustainable peace on the Plateau,” he said. He said that the STF under his command would redouble its efforts to ensure that the incessant killing of innocent citizens was stamped out of the state. NAN also reports that his predecessor, who resumed on Feb. 24, 2012, has been redeployed to the Defence Headquarters.
According to The Guardian Newspapers edition of 12 May 2012, ” Since Gen. Ibrahim assumed office as Commander, a day hardly passed without one attack or the other. Even when he assumed office on Sunday, February 26 this year, he was greeted by suicide bombers who bombed the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) the next Sunday.
“The shock and pain had hardly died down when the St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church was bombed. In all these attacks, many people were killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed. The attacks took a dangerous proportion
which seemed to be zeroed down to two local governments which are the home base of the Berom people, Barkin Ladi and Riyom, where no day passed by without any attacks.
“On Wednesday night, unknown gunmen
struck, killing seven people and wounding 10 people, drawing the ire of the public.
“With the outcry of the people of the State,the Defence Headquarters deemed it necessary to effect a change of guard, appointing Major-General Henry Ayoola to take over with immediate effect. He took over yesterday(11 May) at a brief ceremony witnessed by other senior military officers.”
Ironically, Major General Olayinka Oshinowo who took over command of the STF for five months spanning the period between Spetember 2011 and February 2012 was, in a move believed to have been just reward for his effective command of the STF, appointed the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army.
During General Oshinowo’s time at the helm, the Plateau and its environs enjoyed a sustained period of respite from the protracted ethnoreligious violence, a brutal conflict which has also now assumed a terrorist-fuelled dimension on account of occasional bombings by Boko Haram terrorists and lately, suicide attacks on churches, open air bars and television viewing centres.
(Additional reporting by the News Agency of Nigeria, “Leadership” and “The Guardian”)