Several eminent Plateau State indigenes led by Simon Lalong, the state governor, on Monday, were at the Nigerian army headquarters in Abuja.
They were there to appeal to the army not to execute a reprisal over the recent gruesome murder of Gen. Idris Alkali (rtd), former Army Chief of Administration, who was allegedly killed by some indigenes of the state.
On the occasion, the governor appealed to the army to show compassion and not expose the state to danger by abandoning its ongoing security operations in the state as a result of the dastardly act.
Alkali was allegedly killed on September 3 at Dura-Du community in Jos South Local Government Area of the state by a mob protesting the attack in their area the previous evening by unknown assailants.
At the meeting with Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Governor Lalong condemned the killing, pledging that the state government would continue to accord the army all necessary cooperation to fish out the remaining suspects behind the dastardly act.
He regretted that the development came at a time the military was doing everything possible to restore lasting peace in the state.
“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,” he said.
“I call it unusual because it is a very sad moment not only for the people of Plateau State but also for the entire people of this country.
“It is the first time in our life time 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 affair; and it now became a matter of military investigation.
“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.”
He added, “On behalf of the government of Plateau State, we are here to condole with 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 should 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.”
Responding, 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.
He 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.
“We thank you for being with us and the family; and also for expressing concern for this unfortunate incident,” Buratai said.
“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 realise 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.
“It is good that it has been realised, and appropriate steps would be taken to remedy it in the future, but it has been at a very heavy cost.
“Not only the case of Gen Alkali but others have gone the same way, as they have never been reported and even those that were reported were never conclusively investigated.
“And those that were involved were not properly prosecuted and this has created a very big gap in the security agencies.
“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 the bane of the security agencies across the country.
“If we are not decisive and take action, the consequences are always grave and we’ll always be the victims instead of trying to protect ourselves and protect the society.
“I want to believe that this General Alkali incident will be a wakeup call to all the security agencies including the military.
“We have a taskforce that has been there for several years and yet such things continue to happen. It is quite unfortunate and should not be allowed at all.”