Following the killing of Major General Idris Alkali, who was gruesomely murdered in Plateau State, a case traceable to religious unrest in the state, TARKAA DAVID writes that there is urgent need for proactive measures to stem and manage crisis in the country.
Nigeria, as a nation, has suffered series of violent attacks on communities and reprisal attacks, which has led to the killings of innocent citizens. These cases call for urgent overhaul of the security situation of Nigeria in totality and a need to return sanctity back to the nation.
It is crystal clear that there is urgent need for proactive security strategy rather than being reactive, to stem communal and religious crisis in the nation, which has led to security gaps traceable to lack of decisive action by state authorities and security agencies.
Truth be told, there is failing standard of humanity in the society, a situation where a group of persons will take to heinous crimes against innocent Nigerians. It is time we, as a people, start conferring on human life the sanctity it deserves. It is also time to put an end or halt to receiving news of the remorseful and wanton destruction of lives that no man can create.
The controversy surrounding the disappearance of Nigerian Army chief of administration (Rtd) Maj Gen Alkali and the subsequent discovery of his lifeless body, which went missing since September in a well last week, calls for the need for proactive security strategy, to stem communal and religious crisis in the nation, acknowledging that the case of the military top notch led to discovery of other cases of innocent Nigerians who were gruesomely murdered. These cases should raise serious concern for the Nigerian security agencies.
Maj Gen Alkali, who was travelling to Bauchi en-route Jos on 3 September, 2018 was declared missing on 6 September, 2018 following his failure to reach his intended destination. He was reportedly travelling without orderly while embarking on his trip through Dura-Du community where gunmen attacked the previous day and killed about 13 persons, when he ran into angry youths who brought his life journey to an abrupt stop.
Following credible intelligence, the Nigerian Army ordered a search to find the body of the missing general and in the long run, the body was found on 31 October in an abandoned well in Guchwet Guchwet village, Shen District of Jos South Local Government Area .
With the way the security agencies handled this case, many Nigerians began to wonder if their lives matter at all except that of prominent people in the society because many such atrocities have been committed without any one raising an eyebrow.
The Plateau State Police Command on Sunday, paraded 19 suspects linked with the killing of Maj Gen Alkali. The spokesperson of the Command, Matthias Tyopev, a deputy superintendent of police, told journalists in Jos that while investigation about the incident was still on, six out of the eight suspects earlier declared wanted have voluntarily surrendered themselves.
When journalists enquired to know if a DNA test had been done to ascertain whether the corpse said to have been recovered was that of Alkali, Tyopev said “scientific investigation is still on, a team of medical doctors were engaged for the exercise.”
In the preliminary investigations, about three cars were said to have been recovered from a mining pond in Dura – Du District during a cordon and search operation conducted by a team of soldiers led by the Garrison Commander of 3 Armour Division, Rukuba Barracks in Jos, Brig Gen Umar Mohammed.
“The tracking of his phones, vehicle and laptop led detectives alongside the military to a pond in Dura-Du in Jos South LGA of Plateau State. On September 29 2018, the car driven by the missing general was recovered at the pond.
“On 17 October, 2018, the military handed over 13 suspects arrested in connection with the case to the Plateau State Police Command for investigation. After painstaking interrogation, the command declared eight suspects wanted on October 21 2018. So far, six out of the eight suspects have reported while two are still at large.”
Speaking during a condolence visit, the governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, commiserated with the Nigerian Army and the entire Armed Forces for the loss of the senior military officer.
Lalong pleaded for mercy and appealed to the Nigerian Army authority not to be discouraged by the ugly incident and intensify efforts to restore peace in the state.
He stated that the state played its own role to ensure that the identity of the culprits are revealed for the law to take its cause.
“As a state, we did our best to support the investigation, our best was to reveal the identity of those who did this.
“These are parts of the things I know Mr President inherited, we also inherited some of these things but we are also doing our best to restore peace in Plateau State with the cooperation we are giving when we have to.
“On behalf of the government of Plateau State, we are here to condole you and the entire armed forces for the incident and also to appeal that you don’t get discouraged with what happened, we are appealing that we join hands together, we will always cooperate to ensure that if there are more of this God will reveal them,” he said
The chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, recently indicted security operatives for continued breaches in Nigeria and called for a review of the nation’s security architecture to forestall future occurrence.
Buratai stated this in Abuja when he received the governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong and other delegates who paid a condolence visit to the Nigerian Army.
He decried that Major Gen Alkali is one among many people who were killed without a decisive action taken to ensure justice.
The COAS added that Major Gen Alkali’s death should be “a wakeup call to all security agencies in the state to take decisive actions to restore peace in Plateau.”
He blamed security agencies in the state for allowing such atrocities to be committed under their noses for so long without a decisive action taken to deal with the perpetrators.
He revealed that several of such acts were perpetrated in the communities over the years with the knowledge of security operatives who failed to act.
“It has taken us too long to realise this unfortunate situation, we have been in such a way that authorities who are supposed to take care of security of their people and everybody have reneged on their responsibilities and this is the outcome of such irresponsible conduct by such individuals over the years.
“One of our discoveries from the Du pond is that one of the vehicles recovered was as far back as 2013 and investigation was not conclusive and no action was taken and at the end, the case was closed. That is to show that almost all the security agencies in the state know what was happening in that community and nobody bothered to take a decisive action and this is one of the basics of all the security agencies across the country. “If we are not decisive, if we don’t take action on such things the consequences are very great and we will always be the victim, instead of trying to protect ourselves and protect the society, the society will be at the receiving end and as well the security agencies.
“I want to believe this incident of Maj Gen Alkali will be a wake up call to all the security agencies including the military, we have a task force that has been there for several years but still such things continue to happen. It is very unfortunate, it should not be allowed at all.
“It should be known that any time the military is called out, it must be decisive and check whatever situation that made them to be called out and stabilise it,” he said
The COAS added that the security operatives are deployed and the situation continues to get worse, “I think there must be complete reevaluation of security architecture within that environment.
“We must review the security architecture, we must review the security plans in order for us to be decisive at all times so that any reported case, if the commanders on ground who have been charged with that responsibility to terminate the situation, they can’t take a decisive action to support the civil authority, we have to sanction that commander,” he said
He reiterated that crime and criminality must be condemned in totality in order to have a peaceful society.
Many crimes in Nigeria take religious or ethnic colourations and the security agencies who enjoy strong ties with these factors are often compromised.
Crimes and criminality must be totally condemned no matter who perpetrates it as silence by security agencies connotes approval.
“Criminality must be openly condemned because sometimes our silence signifies consent to the actions of the perpetrators,” he said
Its is high time the security agencies rose to the occasion above ethnic or religious sympathy and ensure the safety of lives. Human life is sacred and should be valued for no one has the power to give life and so should not take one.
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