By Saleh Ibrahim Bature
Before the recent disappearance of major general Idris Alkali, former Director of Administration, Army headquarters, the Dura Du District, a notorious enclave populated by the ethnocentric Berom tribes of Plateau state has not been in the news domains of Nigeria
The seven consecutive days of draining of the pond by the military, police and fire service had traced the Toyota Corolla of late Idris Alkali who was abducted on September 3, 2018, and 3 other vehicles, which authorities suspected to belong to victims who had been summarily executed and secretly dumped somewhere in the area.
Idris Alkali’s pathetic story is news because he was an army general who had retired one month before his sad ending. There have been hundreds of innocent but unlucky victims who suffered similar cruel and heartless treatment by the Berom killer gang.
The Abuja Jos single lane federal highway, is a rough, craggy and horrific terrain that has consumed hundreds of innocent lives since the 2001 infamous Jos crises. I traversed the notorious road from 1991 to mid 2016. Throughout these 27 years of my experience on the road as a youth corps member in Port Harcourt, or as a staff of Inland Bank Nigeria PLC and lately as the head of the National Gallery of Art Bauchi out station, never had there been a day I could call as enjoyable on that horrendous road. I bade farewell to the road on June 2016.
I have not plied this road which is notorious for spilling the blood of “Hausa Fulani,” or to put it more succinctly, Muslims, who the Berom perceived as their worst enemies. I sold my house in Bauchi, relocated my second wife to Kano for the foreboding fear of the carnage perpetrated by the Berom mobsters on the road. Death will certainly come weather on bed or on the road. What I hate is to suffer the agony of a humiliating death in the hands of marauding Berom killers and my remains to be dumped in the putrid Dura Du pond of blood.
The “Berom organizations” as they called themselves, under the auspices of Berom Educational and Cultural Organization (BECO) Berom Women Development Association (BEWDA) and Berom Youth Moulders Association (BYM) have jointly written a petition against the new Commander of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven in Jos. They accused Major General Augustine Agundu of threatening to exterminate the Berom should leadership of the district fail to produce killers of General Idris Alkali. The petition stated that General Agundu had angrily warned the Ag. District Head that he would be arrested and wasted away to replace the missing Army General. The entire district has since been thrown into confusion and imminent fear of a Military reprisal on the district akin to the operation at Odi town .
Nothing more than the demonstration by more than 500 Berom women targeted at stopping the draining of the pond suspected to be where Alkali’s body had been dumped confirmed the district and its leadership complicity in the missing and subsequent brutal killing of the late General.
I can see an impeccable comparison between the merciless murder of innocent victims of Book Haram “Islamic” terrorist and Berom “Christian” terrorists of Dura Du on the Plateau. The major difference is that, the Berom “Christian” terrorists singled out and profiled the Hausa Fulani as the only enemies to be killed.
It is important to acknowledge that any act that terrifies people also constitute terrorism. The blockage of roads and massacre of innocent people in Berom controlled territories must therefore be condemned as one of the most dastardly act of terrorism in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the one-sided Nigerian press, as usual, deliberately but shamelessly under report such macabre killings.
It is baffling and beyond belief that nobody has been charged and prosecuted in almost all the bloody communal crises in Plateau state so far. This perhaps explain why killings will not stop in this part of the country. As long as murderers will go scot free, there is the likelihood that they would be emboldened and continue their carnage against unsuspecting victims.
Now is the time to dig the dirt of this seemingly endless cowardice show of shame on the Plateau.