Chris Steven, Abuja
Elder statesman and former Commissioner of Police, Lagos and Kano States, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, has penned a thought-provoking letter to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukkur Buratai, over the abduction and murder of Major General Idris Alkali (Rtd) in Dura-Du area of Plateau State.
Tsav described the murder of Gen. Alkali a serious temptation, capable of eroding one’s faith in the protection of the Nigerian project.
In the letter obtained by our reporter on Sunday, the retired police boss observed that what happened in Dura-Du district had enough weight to replicate the Odi and Zaki Biam tragedies in reprisals.
He, however, hailed Buratai for not toeing the path of reprisal over the demise of Alkali.
Tsav further urged the Army chief not to be deterred by the murder of Alkali, urging him not to give up in his efforts to make Nigeria a peaceful entity.
The letter reads in full.
May I use this rare privilege to salute you and personnel of the Nigerian Army. I also extend similar greetings to all Nigerians who have variously supported the Army and sister security agencies in the counter-terrorism campaigns in Nigeria, especially the spirited and rewarding campaigns in routing out remnants of Boko Haram terrorists from our country.
Let me start, by extending my condolences to you over the gruesome murder of Maj.Gen. Idris Alkali by irate youths in Dura-Du district of Plateau state. The callous and heartless lynching of one of the finest Army officers is barbaric, savagious, irresponsible, reprehensible and unacceptable.
I appeal to use your good offices to impress on all the relevant security agencies never to relent, until justice is done to the late Army General by ensuring all the perpetrators fingered in the heinous act are arrested and prosecuted.
The sad incident is a serious temptation, capable of eroding in your faith in the protection of your fatherland. But I plead, it should rather rekindle your determination. We all know, your exemplary leadership of the counter-insurgency operations and Nigerian Army have proved convincingly of a rebranded Army and troops.
The Army have executed this national assignment with dedication, patriotism, selflessness, uncommon determination and countless sacrifices to the admiration of Nigerians.
As a retired officer of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) I know exactly, the burden of policing and securing Nigeria from destructive forces. Therefore, I have no iota of doubt about the enormous and daunting challenges, which assailed you and the Nigerian troops in the course of tackling Boko Haram insurgency and similar insurrections.
But through sheer hard work, you surmounted these obstacles to decimate and defeat the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. We are proud of you and our troops.
I feel and indeed, all Nigerians know they owe the Commander-in-Chief, and Nigerian troops, a debt of gratitude in appreciation. I pledge never to flinch in my support to the Army, at the same time.
I have resolved never to hesitate in raising a voice against the conspiratorial vilification, unjust persecution and crucification of your the Nigerian Army as well as its officers and personnel. It will be the height of injustice to turn our eyes away from how you are ever treated by the public.
And it explains why I am extremely saddened by the unfortunate incident in Dura-Du which led to the death of Maj. Gen. Alkali in the hands of hoodlums. Nothing can be so hurtful and unconscionable.
It beats every imagination to know that any community in Nigeria, much as in Plateau state could decide to pay back struggles of the Armed Forces, evident in their sacrifices in safeguarding or protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria.
I envisage troops many nights of sleeplessness, exposure to cold, the scotching sun and weeks in the trenches. I remember the months they forsake their families to keep us alive and prevent our enemies from consuming us with violence and deaths.
13.But unfortunately, this singular incident at Dura-Du district has constantly reminded me of how Nigerians have forgotten about these sacrifices. Nigerians have let Maj. Gen Alkali down at a time he needed our love, care and affection most.
I keep wondering why some Nigerians are under an incensed spell of bloodshed at no just cause. For Nigerians yet to grasp the full gravity of the incident of Dura-Du, such a pitiable betrayal of any member of the Armed Forces marks a black day in history. You should not wail any longer. There are million voices out there wailing on your behalf.
Though still mourning the murder of Maj. Gen. Alkali, but I am consoled that you have proven to be a leader to your troops. And it does not matter whether they have retired or are still in active service for the nation.
Though the miscreants have intentionally denied the late Army General, the pleasure of a blissful post-retirement life; it is commendable you have taken steps to ensure Maj. Gen. Alkali, this gentleman officer gets justice.
I am convinced that even in his grave, Maj.Gen. Alkali’s spirit will find respite, as his brave colleagues have vowed and would ensure his death will not be in vain by defending the territorial integrity of our dear nation.
Nevertheless, let me hint of my shock at the cold indifference and loud silence over the callous murder of Alkali by the gong trumpeters like Amnesty International and the volley of NGOs in Nigeria. These have collectively refused to speak out against this injustice and the violation of his fundamental right to life.
Nigerians are not angry with them nonetheless. But I only ask them to change such negative disposition. They should always stand to fight injustice, regardless of who is the victim.
What happened in Dura-Du district had enough weight to replicate the Odi and Zaki Biam tragedies in reprisals, had your leadership failed to reform and re-professionalized the Nigerian Army. I applaud you very immensely for this show of love even to your enemies.
It is a mark of your excellent leadership. It has manifested in the glaring evidence of the new spirit in the Army and the difference between today’s Army and that of yesterday. The Nigerian Army today are the true sentinels of Nigeria.
I urge you to sustain this spirit of leadership, for a day shall come when even your foes will testify to the honour of your integrity, faultlessness and the legacies you have bequeathed to the Nigerian Army nay Nigeria.
Finally, on behalf of the Dura –Du community, I tender sincere apologies to you and the Nigerian Army over the heartless murder of Gen. Alkali and the treatment of his corpse like a common thief. I also console the family of the deceased and indeed, all Army officers who have paid the supreme price to insulate our country from the fangs of terrorism.