“Dear Federal Government of Nigeria,
If indeed General Alkali was killed in an attack on commuters in Du community in Plateau State, then it is your fault.
Perhaps when Plateau State imploded for the first time in 2001, no one could have anticipated that happening.
But since then, it is apparent that we have learnt nothing from all the conflicts that have happened in that state.
In the beginning, a lot of efforts were put into reconciliation and mediation. But unfortunately, things would cool off for a while and then there would be an eruption of violence; and then things would quieten down once more.
For a lot of communities, the elders tried for a long time to quell reprisal attacks. Youths were called upon to be peaceful. When a community has been ravaged and members of the community hacked to death, you, our government, would make empty statements and say things like
“…the perpetrators will be brought to book…”
“…we will leave no stone unturned…”
“…we are on top of the situation…”
And then you will go ahead and tell survivors and the general public to
“…remain peaceful and law abiding…”
“…be assured that we are working hard to make sure the lives of Nigerians are secure…”
Then the president will do something superfluous like have a meeting with the IG of Police.
And then what happens next?
NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Another community is attacked and then the same speeches and inaction happens.
At the end of the day, the people of Plateau State were just sitting ducks being spoon fed platitudes over and over again. The expectation was that they would remain peaceful despite being hit over and over again.
Something changed along the line.
The most prominent in my head was the bomb blast that happened on December 24, 2010, at Gada Biu area in Jos. The explosion tore into the community and all of a sudden, there was human flesh and smoke and buildings within the area were destroyed, reduced to rubbles.
The residents had never seen anything like that before. That was the first of many bombings that would happen. There was a Hausa man that was overheard speaking on the phone in the aftermath of the event allegedly.
“Mun ci nasara a Gada Biu.” (forgive my spelling)
This means “We have recorded a victory at Gada Biu.”
He said this while people were crying in disbelief and trying to ascertain just how many casualties the blast had taken.
What followed after that was horrendous and inhumane.
This man was killed violently and his flesh eaten.
The logic was that the Hausas/Fulanis were not humans but animals and animals are to be eaten.
There were some videos that were circulated of this event.
Indigenes were no long easy to pacify. If their communities were attacked by whoever (either Fulani Herdsmen or by Muslim gangs) they would arm themselves in the aftermath and begin to stop commuters fishing out those of the same ethnicity or religion as their attackers and kill them.
When they do this, the security agencies, previously nowhere to be found (when houses were burnt to the ground and people killed in mass) suddenly remember their work was to secure lives and swoop in. Sometimes, arrests were made and such communities were subjected to raids to mop up weapons.
This brought a lot of mistrust. The lives of the people of Plateau State were literally on abattoir slabs for the taking and the murderers magically disappear into thin air and nothing done about it.
But when the youths in the communities retaliated, something always happened.
This should not be misconstrued as an attempt to justify reprisal killings but to explain things.
My dear Federal Government of Nigeria, because there has never been any sincerity in truly delving to the root causes of the issues in Plateau State, more people are getting killed.
The first crisis should have fished out killers and sponsors. Arrests should have been made and people prosecuted. Restitution should have happened to the communities attacked. Peace is a conjoined twin. Its twin is Justice. They cannot survive on their own.
If you take away Justice there will be no Peace.
Justice will bring about peace.
All the reports and reconciliatory meetings with elders in the communities and placing soldiers everywhere will never bring about peace if there is no justice.
And because justice has been denied over and over again, injustice is spreading, leaving pools of blood everywhere.
For the people who are constantly being attacked in their homes (I hear about 46 villages are empty), they have no faith in the government. They have seen this evil over and over again with no one doing anything to change things. These people know what you, our government, do not want to admit.
THERE IS A WAR IN PLATEAU STATE.
Yes, it is a war with many battles.
Stop pretending that they are skirmishes or clashes or unrest etc
It will not just keep quiet and go away.
And because it is a war, innocent people caught in the middle of it by accident will die.
And my dear government, if indeed General Alkali was killed in a reprisal attack, you killed him.
You really assume that these conflicts will not affect you personally.
It will affect everyone.
People will keep dying needlessly and senselessly.
Have the courage to stop this mess once and for all.
This country is letting out too much blood. It is getting anaemic. We are not fine. Don’t but a band aid and insist we are okay.
There is a war in the middle belt.
The effort you are putting to find the killers of General Alkali is the same energy that you should have put every single time people die in these fights.
If General Alkali was just that little girl with braided her and a deep cutlass cut separating her head into two, would you have looked for her killers too?
The 14 people killed in Rukuba collectively are not as important as General Alkali.
The 19-year-old University of Jos Law student, Shedrach D. Kums, who had his whole life ‘unlived’ in front of him was not as important as Gen Alkali.
The hundreds massacred in Barkin Ladi in June were not as important as General Alkali.
I make this assumption because we have never seen such determination to find the killers of anyone killed in the Plateau State issue as we have seen since you got to Du to resolve the mystery of the missing General.
You have arrested old and young people. You have prevented people from moving freely. You have dredged a whole pond. You have ransacked houses. You are truly leaving no stone unturned.
But this may not have happened in the first place if you had ensured that justice was always served after attacks. Then the people would know that you indeed value their lives and trust you.
But you have made it clear that they do not matter.
Only your General matters.
But guess what?
You will not leave peace in your trails.
You are just setting the stage for more resentment and more battles.
Do something Nigerian Government.