*Assures Army “our best was to reveal the identities of those who did this, which we did”
*As Buratai blames non diligent investigation in prosecution of past cases on security agencies
*Says General Alkali’s incidence a wake-up call to security agencies, military
*Danjuma once asked North Central people to defend themselves against Army, Fulani – Media Reports
By BASHIR ADEFAKA
“It’s the first time in our life to witness this kind of phenomenon and it is very unfortunate. I’m talking about the death of one of your gallant officers, General Idris Alkali of blessed memory. And when it happened in Plateau State, we knew it was a military affairs and it now became a military investigations. The government watched keenly, and where we were supposed to help, we did our best and our best was to reveal the identities of those who did this. I want to on behalf of the government Plateau State extend our gratitude first for unveiling and bringing out the culprits. But it is unfortunate that it is coming in Plateau State at the time that you are also helping us to restore peace in Plateau.”
As ethnic, religious and professional communities of late Major General Idris Alkali, killed by some evil merchants of Dura-Du community, Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State continue to grope in pains and anger over the murder of their own by people suspected to have acted based on his ethnic and religious background in carrying out the monstrous act perpetrated against the General and others in the area, pro-active Governor of Plateau State, Barrister Simon Lalong, on Monday, led a delegation of people to the Army Headquarters, Abuja, to beg the Nigerian Army not to avenge the gruesome murder of the former Army Chief of Administration, allegedly, by some Beron people.
Those who are angry are angry because, like former Lagos State Commissioner of Police Abubakar Tsav said in letter to the Army, they could not fathom why killing of Army officer, God fearing and detribalized personality of the Alkali’s nomenclature, should be the best payback the Beron people of Plateau State deem fit for the great job the Army has done in ensure peace and stability in the state.
Call by former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, on people of North Central particularly of Taraba State to rise up and defend themselves against what he “erroneously” and concoctedly believed was Nigerian Army-backed ethnic cleaning in the geo-political zone, has also been taken in several quarters to be mainly responsible for the devilish thinking that led to the killing of innocent Nigerians in parts of North Central now climaxing into the “painful loss suffered by members of the ethnic, religious and military communities of the murdered General, who had to be mercilessly killed by the Dura-Du people”.
The DEFENDER also found out that the anger of the General Alkali’s communities had also been fueled by what they believe is “paying our good conduct back with evil, despite that it was by our religious and ethnic communities that 300 Christians were saved from being killed by bandits they used to mischievously tag Fulani herdsmen until arrests made now revealed that the people killing in this place, though mostly of Christian names and faith background, are no other than just criminals that we all must have joined hands with government and security forces in neutralizing all together.”
Many of such killings as of General Idris Alkali had happened in the past in Plateau State without government and security agencies at that time doing anything about them, especially when reports of panels of enquiry, particularly of Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN) indicted even a past government of the state, reason the then governor, Jonah Jang, up till the time he left office refused to implement the Ajibola Panel report.
“Most of the killings in Plateau State like in Taraba and Benue were done under the guise of proving who is a settler and who is an indigene, to the extent that a whole worshippers on a Sallah Day were wiped out at a go on a day Muslims were supposed to be rejoicing after having fasted for a whole month of Ramadan, which the Amnesty International and governments both of Federal and state at the time were aware of but did nothing about the massacre.
“All of these unjustified killings of people of a particular tribe and religion and yet misrepresented in the media as told by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) must have cumulated into the extreme pains and angers that are currently being undergone by people of General Idris Alkali’s ethnic, religious and military communities,” a source told The DEFENDER in Abuja.
But, because of his pro-activeness towards governance Governor of Plateau State, Barrister Simon Lalong sensed the enormous implications of the General’s murder and had quickly pre-empted any unfortunate reaction by visiting the Army Headquarters to appeal that the Army should “please” not vent his anger on the state in avenging the murderous act of some particularly people of his state.
Governor Lalong used the visit not only to beg the Army not to vent its anger avenging the murder by the Beron people of Dura-Du community but also appealed to the backbone of Nigeria’s defence, Army, not to expose the state to danger by abandoning its ongoing security operations in the state as a result of the dastardly act.
Alkali was reportedly killed on September 3, 2018 by some members of the Dura-Du community in Jos South Local Government Area of the State.
In his mission statement during the meeting with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the governor, who condemned the killing of the retired senior Army officer, pledged that the state government would continue to accord Army authorities all necessary cooperation to fish out the remaining suspects behind the act.
Lalong regretted that the development came at a time the military especially the Army was doing everything possible to restore lasting peace in the state.
He said: “I sit here on behalf of the people of Plateau State on this very unusual visit because it happens that it is coming at an unusual occasion.
“I call it unusual because it is not just a very sad moment not for the people of Plateau State but also for the people of Nigeria.
“It’s the first time in our life to witness this kind of phenomenon and it is very unfortunate. I’m talking about the death of one of your gallant officers, General Idris Alkali of blessed memory.
“And when it happened in Plateau State, we knew it was a military affairs and it now became a military investigations.
“The government watched keenly, and where we were supposed to help, we did our best and our best was to reveal the identities of those who did this.
“I want to on behalf of the government Plateau State extend our gratitude first for unveiling and bringing out the culprits. But it is unfortunate that it is coming in Plateau State at the time that you are also helping us to restore peace in Plateau.”
Continuing, the governor added: “These are parts of the things that I know the President inherited. We also came and inherited some of these things.
“But you have done your best in the armed forces to restore peace in Plateau State and with the cooperation we are giving when we had the unfortunate incident, I’m sure it is one of the series of some of the problems that are still buried on ground in plateau state.
“But on behalf of the Government of Plateau State, we are here to condole you and the entire armed forces for the unfortunate incident but also to appeal that please do not get discouraged by what happened.
“We appeal that we join hands together and we will always cooperate with you so that we can unveil more of these acts in plateau state and in Nigeria.
“So we extend our condolences and we pray that the almighty God will grant the deceased eternal rest.”
The governor told Buratai that: “From here, we are going to visit the family of the officer and we pray that this kind of thing should not happen anywhere in Nigeria.”
Responding, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, commended the governor but attributed the unfortunate death of the retired Army General to wrong people in leadership position who he noted, abandoned their responsibilities.
Besides, the Army chief also blamed the death of Alkali on non diligent investigation and successful prosecution of individuals who had been found wanting in similar situations in the past in the country.
His words: “We thank you for being with us and the family and expressing concern for this unfortunate incident.
“We know that security is something that is quite fundamental and it is one of the purposes of governance in every society.
“Without security, so many things will go wrong and there won’t be development and the peace that is required in the society will not be there if there are frequent hitches and individuals taking the laws into their hands.
“It has taken us too long to realize this unfortunate situation in such a way that authorities which are supposed to really take care of the activities of their people and even every other person within their domain have reneged on their responsibilities and this is one of the outcomes of such irresponsible conducts by certain individuals over the years.
“And it is good that it been realized and appropriate steps would be taken to remedy it in the future but it’s being at a very heavy cost not only the case of gen Alkali but others have gone the same way that have never been reported and even those that were reported were never conclusively investigated and those that were involved properly prosecuted and this has created a very big gap in our responsibilities in our various segment of the security agencies.
“It is gap that has been created unfortunately because one of the discoveries that we made during our investigations was that one of the incidents of one vehicle we recovered occurred as far back as 2013, and the investigations was never conclusive and no action was taken and the case was closed.
“That is to show that almost all the security agencies in the state knows what was happening in that community and nobody bothered to take decisive action and this is one of the bane of the security agencies across the country.
“If we are not decisive and take actions in such things, the consequences are always grave and we’ll always be the victims instead of trying to protect ourselves and protect the society.
“The society will be at the receiving end as well as the security agencies.
“I want to believe that this incidence of General Alkali will be a wakeup call to all the security agencies including the military.
“We have a task force that has been there for several years and still such things continue to happen it’s quite unfortunate and should not be allowed at all.”