The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, on Monday called for re-assessment of the Nigeria’s security architecture for possible re-organisation.
He made the call while receiving a delegation from Plateau led by the state governor, Simon Lalong, which paid him a condolence visit over recent killing of Idris Alkali, a retired major-general, in the state.
Mr Buratai said that security was fundamental and was one of the purposes of governance in every society.
He deplored the killing of Alkali, especially the circumstances that surrounded the incident, saying “I want to believe this incident with Major-General Alkali would be a wake-up call to all the security agencies, including the military.
“We have a task force that has been there for several years; that such things continue to happen, it should not be allowed at all.
“It should be known that any time the military is called out we must be decisive and check the situation that made us to be called out, stabilize it and get back.
“We have stayed there (Plateau) for too long and situations are getting worse and worse.
“I think there must be a complete re-evaluation of the security architecture within that environment; it is not something that we would just sit down and allow it to go like that.
“And indeed, all other areas across the country where we have such challenges, we must review the architecture and the security plans, and we must be decisive at all times,’’ the army chief said.
He warned that any commander that failed to carry out his responsibility would be sanctioned.
According to him, I have taken steps to ensure that for any reported case, if the commanders on the ground, charged with that responsibility to tackle it, they will be sanctioned.
“If the commander does not take the decisive action to support the civil authority, then we have a way of sanctioning that commander,’’ Mr Buratai said.
“Every criminality must be openly condemned and promptly because at times, our silence, silence by leaders, signifies consent to the action of the youth and these apply across the country,’’ he added.
He advised that issues of religion and ethnicity should be to the individual, saying “when you bring it out to the realm of society and start bringing sentiment to promote certain interest, it becomes a problem’’.
He thanked the delegation for the visit and recalled that the unfortunate death Maj.-Gen. Alkali occurred in Du community in Plateau.
The army chief also commended Mr Lalung for working with the security agencies in the efforts made to uncover the suspects involved in the killing of the army officer.
“The case is right now in your court.
“We will appreciate diligent process and ensure that no stone is unturned for a speedy conclusion of the case.
“For all those on the run, we would continue to push to ensure that we get them,’’ he said.
He pointed out that without security, there won’t be development, saying “the peace is required to prevail in society will not be there if there are frequent breaches, and individuals taking the law into their hands.
“It has taken us too long to realize this unfortunate situation we have been in.
“Authorities which are supposed to take care of the security of their people and every other person in that area have reneged on their responsibilities.
“This is one of the outcomes of such irresponsible conduct by certain individuals over the years; it’s good that it has been realised and appropriate steps would be taken to remedy it in the future.
“It has been at a very heavy cost, not only the case of Major-General Alkali, but others have gone the same way.
“Some of the cases are not reported or even those that were reported were never conclusively investigated and those involved properly prosecuted.
“This has showed a very big gap in our responsibilities in the various segment of security agencies; it’s a gap that has been created unfortunately,’’ Mr Buratai said.
He noted that one of the discoveries from the Du pond was that one of the vehicles recovered was dumped there as far back as 2013.
“The investigation was never conclusive and no action was taken and the case was at the end, closed.
“That is to show that almost all the security agencies in the state know what was happening in that community and nobody bothered to take decisive action.
“This is one of the banes of the security agencies across the country.
“If we are not decisive, if we don’t take actions on such things, the consequences are always grave, and we would always be the victim.
“Instead of trying to protect ourselves and protect society, the society will be at the receiving end as well as the security agencies,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Lalong had said that the delegation was there to condole with the army chief on behalf of Plateau people on the unfortunate death of Alkali.
“I sit here on behalf of the people of Plateau State. This visit is coming at an unusual situation; I call it unusual because it is a very sad moment, not only for the people of Plateau, but also for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is very unfortunate, talking about the death of one of your gallant officers, Major-General Idris Alkali.
“When it happened in Plateau, we knew it was a military affair, which became an investigation; the government watched keenly and where we were supposed to help, we did our best,’’ he said.
The governor said that it was unfortunate that “it is happening in Plateau at a time when you are helping us to restore peace in the state.
“These are some of the things the President inherited. We also inherited some of these things, but you have done your best in the Armed Forces to restore peace in Plateau.
“On behalf of the government in Plateau, we are here to condole with you and the entire armed forces for the unfortunate incident, and to also appeal that you don’t get discouraged with what happened.
“We should put hands together to ensure that if there are more of these, we should unveil them in Plateau State,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Alkali, the immediate past Chief of Administration at the Army Headquarters, Abuja, was declared missing on Sept. 3.
He was said to have gone missing on his way to Bauchi after leaving Abuja in the morning.
Consequently, army authorities set up an operation to search for him.
After a thorough search and investigation, the operatives stumbled on some information that led them to a mining pond at Dura Du community, Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau, where further clues about his whereabouts were obtained.
His body was later recovered from an abandoned well in Guchwet, Shen District of Jos South on Thursday. Alkali was buried on Saturday at the Gudu Cemetery in Abuja.