BY OKANGA AGILA
Nigeria is full of surprises. It is strange to understand that in a country and a state like Plateau, citizens delight in lighting the fires of violence and bloodbath. It is elatedly done just to service the egos of political paymasters and challenge the efficacy of security agents or national political leadership.
Elsewhere, the people and the masses assist its government and security agents in taming violent crimes and conflagrations on innocent populations. But the reverse is the case with some Nigerians, with an unrepentant mindset of beastliness.
And the latest incident of violence on the Plateau, particularly, the killing of a retired Army officer, Major Gen Idris Alkali in Dura-Du district, an outskirt of Jos South Local Government Area in the most gruesome manner, by armed protesting youths, drenches the heart with infinite sorrows.
The murdered soldier and immediate past Chief of Administration (Army), recently disengaged from the services of the Nigerian Army after 35 years of meritorious service, never died in the battlefield. But he fought many wars in the trenches.
He was mobbed by armed locals, after spending his active years in his military career, protecting and defending. They are a people, he least suspected would tomorrow be his murderers, who would not only callously lynch him, but shabbily treat his corpse even in death.
A variety of credible news accounts, coupled with military intelligence reports recounted the gory incident of Major. Gen. Alkali’s final moments and brutal murder by Dura-Du community in these touchy words;
“… his car was stopped and he introduced himself as a General to the hoodlums who had barricaded the road that he was just passing through to Bauchi. The senior officer was assaulted and killed.”
And the tinge of premeditated criminality resonated as; “Thereafter, his belongings such as clothings, cash, phones and laptop were shared by those who killed him. His body was dragged before being moved to somewhere else and his car was driven and pushed into the abandoned mining pit filled with water.”
Gen. Alkali’s only crime was his transit from Abuja to Bauchi through Dura-Du District on a day, some residents were remonstrating over the killing of 11 people in Lafande Community, by unknown gunmen. The armed assailants attacked a shopping complex, killed and injured several others. An incident that had the trapping of armed robbery, triggered the entire community into composing an eternal dirge for a meritorious officer, Gen. Alkali.
The protesters, feigning to be against death, came out in large numbers, blocked access routes, brandishing dangerous objects and stones. That was how Gen. Alkali was lynched when he ran into them.
Thereafter, the whole community was conscripted into the frenzy of jubilations over the murder of an innocent passer-by, as it erupted in wild jubilations, like conquerors, village warriors or hunters after an eventful hunting expedition. This was the level of open barbarity and beastliness displayed by supposedly, an urbane community in Nigeria.
Therefore, an alibi was fabricated, falsified and fortified. All desperate evil tricks were invented and effected to cover the heinous crime, including the exhumation of the corpse of the innocent Army Major General from its shallow grave, at a locality called ‘No man’s land’ within the community, to an unknown destination. An afterthought, which came only when security agents discovered Alkali’s battered car, dumped in a forlorn mines pond pit, in the community.
But everyone and everybody, denied knowledge of the string of incidents. If the youths who were directly complicit, as investigation would later indicate, could be excused on grounds of adolescence; but even with blood-stained hands, the elders, community leaders, the young and old, all still conspired and crafted tales to bury the truth?
Most astonishingly, they disingenuously attempted to push the blame to the Nigerian Army. They communally chorused the allegation of the Army secretly murdering one of their senior officers. And by their hackneyed version, it was because Alkali was privy to the facts of the Army’s boardroom games in sabotaging and prolonging the violence on the Plateau for pecuniary gains of top Army officers. The heart of man is indeed callous and wicked.
Yet, this was a community team work, comprising a 10- man committee, explicitly tasked, “… to relocate his corpse earlier buried in a shallow grave within the community to elsewhere. A specialist in preservation of corpse was contracted. The specialist assisted in exhuming his corpse from the shallow grave to elsewhere. Only few trusted members of the community knew where his corpse was relocated to.”
Investigations by the Plateau State Police Command unveiled that the 52-year old, District Head of Dura-Du community, Chief Yakubu Rap, allegedly co-chaired the meeting, which took the decision to relocate Alkali’s corpse from the shallow grave to a different location. It was done instantaneously after the discovery of Alkali’s car in the abandoned mines pit pond.
Then, his subjects and obviously by his orders, freely executed the murder of Gen. Alkali and laboriously covered any evidence linking them to the crime. What a shame; a shame which defies any sane explanation from custodians of culture and the people.
Security investigations have unveiled various layers of involvement of the suspected culprits. And each played a role assumed to be predetermined or ordered by their traditional ruler or elders of the community. Even at this point, they are still dragging with investigators on the final grave they re-buried or dumped Gen. Alkali’s corpse.
Apparently, the pigheadedness is indubitably fenced by the conviction to still market the dummy of the Army, planning and executing the murder of one of his finest retired officers. This is so heartless to say the least.
The incident of Gen. Alkali’s death painfully reminds of the erosion of moral values and sanctity in the minds of some Nigerians who are even leaders in their smaller enclaves. It’s hard to believe, a traditional ruler would incense his subjects to murder an innocent man, and fellow citizen; bury his corpse in a shallow grave, exhume it, and re-bury to conceal evidence.
And thereafter, consciously, sustain a campaign of calumny against the Army, by contriving and reenacting tales of the community’s innocence; but point accusing fingers at a revered institution, like the Nigerian Army to blur traces to this dastardly and heinous crime.
But the same Dura-Du community, and its satanic elders wanted the world to believe that everyone was wrong or guilty of the crime, except them. They joyously painted the Army as worse sinners or foes who were trying to destroy their culture, traditional lifestyle and by extension, offended their totem gods.
And Dura-Du sustained the narrative of falsehood against the Nigerian military, reeling out tales, from the pit of hell, as accustomed to some other communities in Nigeria, which have perceived the Army as an endangered specie in Nigeria. So, its freely, bashed and lampooned undeservedly.
Could it be because there is this erroneous feeling that the military is an orphan and there is nobody to raise a voice in the defence of their innocence?
This delusion has been taken too far, because truth is like smoke, which is irrepressible. No one can ever shut out smoke for a long time, even with two arms clipped together. The Dura-Du incident is just one example of the Army’s proof of their innocence and at the same time, finding justice for a cherished colleague, conspiratorially lynched and humiliated even in death, like a common thief.
Its good to know, the Nigerian Army maintained a calm mien, despite all the provocations and deepened intelligence investigations, with sister security agencies to unearth the roots of the matter. Finally, the truth is finally out. Those with better versions are free to challenge its veracity; but it’s too detailed to be faulted.
The killers of Gen. Alkali have been identified. Some are on the run; whilst others have been apprehended, churning out minute by minute account of the incident. This is where the shame really stares at the face. Its real shame!
The narrative has now changed, as the Dura- Du community is now exposed as peopled by a bunch of hooligans and bloodthirsty beings, where there is no righteous man. They have failed their country, Nigeria. They have failed their state, Plateau, by consciously killing an innocent man, who lived his life protecting them. Dura- Du is a shame to humanity, Nigeria and the world.
The Nigerian Army are encouraged to be strong and never be weakened by the designs of evil men. Gen. Alkali will not die in vain. Nigerians will remember and hope this marks the end of such barbaric killings and the thriving of beastly men on the Plateau.
Okanga wrote from Agila, Benue State.