By BASHIR ADEFAKA and ATINUKE OGUNPOLU
“Civil society must appreciate the army for the vital role it is playing. Our gallant soldiers are in the trenches. They are down there drenched in the rain, sweating under the hostile North East sun. They are dodging bullets coming from sophisticated weapons of insurgents and at the same time stepping carefully to avoid the enemy’s land mines. But here we are enjoying peace in our homes. We must realize that it is the sacrifices of our gallant soldiers that give us the opportunity to enjoy peace.”
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has commended the Nigerian Army for living up to expectation and for conducting the operation in a professional manner leading to the unraveling of whereabouts of retired Major General Idris Alkali now suspected to have been murdered by Berom people of Plateau’s Du community and arrest of some suspects in that regards.
It however called on the authorities concerned to ensure that those arrested with regard to the suspected murder of the General are adequately prosecuted.
Sequel to the discovery of the car of General Muhammad Idris Alkali (rtd) at the bottom of the notorious Dura-Du pond, Kayode Ogunsanya, the Nigerian Army Deputy Director of Information, Wednesday announced the arrest of some people in the Berom community of Jos, Plateau State.
The retired General had been missing since 3rd September, 2018. Some other cars were also found under the pond’s water after the Army defied what was later discovered to be deceptive protest by women in the community to dissuade the Force from draining the pond and carried out a search leading to the discovery and recovery of the General’s car and some blood stained substances in it.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), in a statement issued on Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018 had therefore called for action against those behind the disappearance of the retired General.
The group fingered the Berom community, accusing it of engaging in terrorist activities even as it also alleged that the Berom Christian community was responsible for the killing of hundreds of innocent Muslim and Fulani travelers.
The group charged the Nigerian Army to find the missing General dead or alive.
In a follow-up statement released on Thursday, 4th October, 2018, the Islamic human rights organization commended the Nigerian Army for living up to expectation and for conducting the operation in a professional manner. It urged the Army to leave no stone unturned in its effort to bring a lasting solution to the recurrent Jos crisis.
MURIC according to the statement, signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, called for the prosecution of all those arrested after the army might have completed its operation.
“Though long overdue, this is a laudable operation. We hail the Nigerian Army for taking this action. Hundreds of Muslim civilians have disappeared mysteriously in this zone. The offence cannot be bailable. It is even more than murder. These people are terrorists. Anyone who engages in actions capable of creating terror in the hearts of innocent people is a terrorist. The suspects should be tried for terrorist activities.
“We appeal to members of the civil society, particularly human rights groups to get a clear picture of what is happening here before intervening. This is not just a civil matter. Nigerian and international human rights groups who wish to intervene must first tell us what they did when the Muslims were crying out for help each time their members disappeared in the terror-laden enclave of Berom.
“Civil society must appreciate the army for the vital role it is playing. Our gallant soldiers are in the trenches. They are down there drenched in the rain, sweating under the hostile North East sun. They are dodging bullets coming from sophisticated weapons of insurgents and at the same time stepping carefully to avoid the enemy’s land mines. But here we are enjoying peace in our homes. We must realize that it is the sacrifices of our gallant soldiers that give us the opportunity to enjoy peace.
“This is where the Berom terrorists got it wrong. No civilian in his right senses should toy with a private soldier, talk less messing up with a whole army general particularly after the Odi incident of November 1999. It is acrobatic religiousity taken far above Kilimanjaro Mountain. The Berom terrorists must be taught such a lesson that they will never touch anyone in khaki uniform again no matter how low his rank.
“Civil society as well as the security agencies should also note the alarm raised by Joyce Ogwu, Executive Director of the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET), yesterday over alleged grand plots to unleash a nationwide instability across Nigeria using Plateau state as the launch pad. According to CESJET, the plot had been hatched by a former governor of Plateau State, Jonah David Jang to provoke ethno-religious crisis on a large scale. CESJET claimed that Jang has ‘drafted the Beroms, his ethnic group, for this deadly plot that is now unfolding on a daily basis’ http://starconnectmedia.com/plateau-killings-jang-plots-nationwide-genocide-says-cesjet/
“The army should also maintain a heavy presence in the Berom community for a very long time. They should not leave until the community leaders, including the youth leaders and members of the executive of the various Berom societies sign an undertaking never to block the highways again. This is very important.
“The Beroms have no business blocking the highway each time they have a disagreement with their neighbours. Why should they vent their deadly spleen on innocent Fulani and Muslim travelers? It is religious extremism taken to the highest pedestal.
“In summary, we hail the Nigerian Army for making progress in its investigations into the disappearance of General Alkali (rtd) and for its professional prosecution of the operation. We appeal to the army not to relent until the retired general is found dead or alive. The culprits should be prosecuted for terrorism. We invite civil society and the international community to allow the Nigerian Army to do the job for which it is well trained. Discipline must be instilled in the Berom community,” the group said.
The MURIC had in a Wednesday report berated the Christian Association of Nigeria for defending the heinous action of the Berom criminals fingered in the suspected pathetic murder of the General who, only one week after peacefully retiring from the service of his father land, suddenly went missing within the Du community area on his way to his farm in Bauchi.