Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong has praised Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN for uniting youths in their areas of operations, despite their diverse backgrounds.

He gave this commendation during the Grand Finale of the Chief of Defence Staff Peace and Unity Marathon and Football Competition organized by Operation SAFE HAVEN in Jos on Saturday. 

The Governor noted that bringing the youths together from 24 Local Government Areas of Plateau, Bauchi and Kaduna states is a novel idea towards promoting unity, friendship and teamwork. He said the competition is an indication that sporting activities could be used to unite the youths and take them out of crime and other societal vices. 

Governor Lalong also heaped praises on what he described as pragmatic approach of Operation SAFE HAVEN in terms of deploying non-kinetic means to tackle communal crises in its various areas. He also urged the participants and beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by being peace ambassadors. 

Governors of Kaduna and Bauchi states, were represented Hon Phoebe Sukai Yayi and Brigadier General MJ Yake (Rtd), respectively. They expressed their optimism a out the competition, which they said have the capacity to foster unity and permanent peace to the nation if emulated by both private and public institutions. Governor Lalong was represented by the Secretary to the Government of Plateau State, Prof Danladi Attu. 

Commander Operation SAFE HAVEN, Major General Ibrahim Ali, had earlier called on all peace loving citizens to unite against the enemies of peace in the society. He urged the youths to distance themselves from activities that will destroy their future. 

He encouraged the athletes to make good use of the opportunity provided by the competition to discover and develop their potentials towards becoming better persons in the society. General Ali also called on community and religious leaders to always use their influence and charisma to ensure peace reigns in the country.

His Royal Highness, the Mbra Ngwe, Rtd Rev Ronku Aka , the paramount ruler of Irigwe kingdom and the Ardo of Gashish, Ardo Idris said the event is the first of greater things to come. The others called on the youths to allow peace reign in their communities.

Trophies, medals and cash prizes were presented to the deserving teams and participants while consolation prizes were presented to the physically challenged, the oldest as well as the youngest competitors.

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