Hours after the car of the missing Major General Idris Alkali (rtd) was found on Saturday in a mining pond in Du area of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State, the recovery of the car has sent shivers down the spine of residents who are contemplating mass relocation for fear of possible military action against them.
Given past antecedents of the Nigerian Army where it invaded Odi community in Rivers State and Zaki-Biam community in Benue State over alleged attacks on security personnel, there are fears by the Du residents that the army may repeat same against them.
Saturday’s recovery of the retired general’s car without trace of his whereabouts has thrown more confusion on the search team set up by the Nigerian Army headquarters to get him either dead or alive.
The black Toyota Corolla car driven by Alkali on the day he was declared missing was found in a mining pond at Du, with shoes and cloths possibly belonging to him inside.
There are feelings in some quarters that Alkali may have been killed or taken into captivity by his assailants before driving his car to the pond where it was recovered.
The search team had assured that the pound where the car was recovered would be completely drained empty since Alkali’s body was not found in the car.
Also, the Special Task Force Commander in the state, Major General Augustine Agundu, has assured residents of safety, saying they have nothing to fear as long as they cooperate with the military.
Alkali (N/8353) retired from service on August 7, 2018. Two weeks after, he disappeared while on transit from Abuja to Bauchi through Jos.
The army had said that the general though was entitled to a driver and an orderly, decided to travel alone by driving himself.
Spokesman of the army, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu said that as a retired officer, the general had the freedom to travel anywhere without asking for permission from the Nigerian Army.
“He is also likely to travel with or without his driver and/or his orderly.”
Wife of the retired general, Mrs. Salamatu Alkali, drew the attention of the Nigerian Army authorities to a suspected case of her missing husband on September 5.
According to her, the general left his home in Abuja for Bauchi on September 3.
The wife said that when she last spoke to him on his GSM number 09056890335, he claimed to have passed Jos and was on his way to Bauchi.”
Chukwu said: “Appropriate technical intelligence facilities were put into use and the senior officer’s phone was tracked to somewhere in Du District, near Jos.
Incidentally, some unknown gunmen had killed people in the area the previous day, which led to protest in the community on the day the general travelled through Jos.”
Also speaking, the Search and Rescue officer in charge of the operation, Brig. General Ibrahim Mohammed, said last week that they had it on credible intelligence that Gen. Alkali got missing around Du area of Jos.
“In an effort to search for the missing general, a lot of things were done; all the hospitals in Jos were toured and checked.
Besides, we have checked all the accident vehicles and scenes. And on credible intelligence, we now had to come to this community in the past one week.
We are trying to find three things: one is the whereabouts of Gen. Alkali who is now missing, we are also looking for his vehicle, which is a black Toyota Corolla vehicle, and we want to find out if he is still alive or not.”
Meanwhile, the 93-year-old mother of the missing general, Hajiya Halima Alkali Umaru, has appealed to the government to find her son by every means possible.
When asked if anyone had contacted her since her son got missing, she said: “At times my mind tells me that he is not in the hands of kidnappers because since he got missing, silence followed and no ransom was demanded for his release.
Let me tell you one thing, ever since I was born, I have never found myself in a difficult situation like this.
I am 93 years old, approaching 94, but this is the most irritating moment of my life.
“My son has rendered 35 years of selfless service to the nation. It is inhuman for anyone to perpetrate such an evil act on my son.
I need government assistance to recover my missing son immediately so that I will finally get peace of mind.
I know God will intervene in revealing where he is. I have surrendered everything to the Almighty Allah.
Ever since I received the news I barely eat. My legs became too weak to walk. I lost two of my children, but not in such manner.
I saw their bodies before we buried them. Alkali’s own is more painful because I still don’t know what happened to him.
“The last time I tried to speak with him was the day he got missing. I called his phone to hear his voice but it couldn’t get through.
I called his wife to connect me with him, but she said he must be driving to Bauchi. She promised to call him when he arrived.”