The Du pond: What the Army should do, by Abdussamad Umar Jibia

On Wednesday night I created time to watch the NTA news.
Although I’m not a politician, I was particularly interested in knowing what has been happening in the National Assembly.

Few weeks ago, I saw the National Chairman of APC Adams Oshiomhole insisting that the Senate president Bukola Saraki should either resign or get impeached.

Later when Speaker Yakubu Dogara defected, the same threat was repeated.

Was it going to be business as usual or there would be some entertainment? Like Ali Nuhu or Mike Tyson, politicians sometimes provide my entertainment after a long day of dealing with students.

If they are not playing some drama, they are engaged in fisticuffs; and in any case it is worth watching.

But there was no much entertainment.

I was, in fact, impressed by the maturity with which the two chambers resumed their business and I hope they will maintain it.

But before the first break, the anchor said after the break one Hamisu Rogo was going to give an update on the search of the missing General Alkali.

My curiosity was raised for two reasons.

Who is this Rogo? Rogo is a town in Kano state that serves as the headquarters of Rogo Local Government.

But like yours sincerely, many people from Rogo also use the name of their hometown as their surname.

One of such people was a female student of mine who enrolled for a degree in Electrical Engineering many years ago.

She successfully graduated after five years of lectures, laboratories, workshops, field training, tests and examinations.

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But one thing happened before she graduated.

I saw her and she saw me.

We discussed and agreed to get married.

She is now my wife.

So the unknown NTA’s Rogo is naturally my brother-in-law.

The other thing that raised my curiosity is the report.

The journalist told his viewers with visual illustrations that the people of Lafendeg have fled their homes.

As his camera went round the village, there was no sign of human presence.

Although the story of Du pond is now well known, let me recall it.

On September 3, this year, one Major General Idris Alkali who retired earlier in the year as the Director of Administration of the Nigerian Army left Abuja for Bauchi.

Two days later when he did not reach his destination his wife raised an alarm which led to a search for him by the Nigerian Army.

In the process the Army stumbled on information about the Du pond.

As soldiers were about to start searching the pond, half-naked women from the Lafendeg village led by one Mary Yakubu came out to protest against it.

Not only did they throw stones on the Army they also tried to disarm them.

The Army did not open fire on them and the search began.

The Army chief of staff ordered the pond to be emptied into a nearby pond.

In the process, Alkali’s vehicle and some of his personal effects were discovered.

Also discovered were other vehicles identified to belong to people who mysteriously disappeared over the past few years.

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Now as these discoveries are made, all eyes are on the Nigerian Army to see its next line of action.

The Army has said that they are a professional organization which conducts itself according to best international practices.

But let me remind the Nigerian Army that it is the same Army that opened fire on Zaki Biam for killing 19 of its soldiers.

It is the same Army that invaded Odi for the same reason.

It is also the same Army that opened fire on the vehicle of a former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University for allegedly overtaking its convoy.

They are also the same people that opened fire on Shiites for obstructing the passage of their chief.

It is yet the same Army that cut the Gonin Gora community to size for killing an Army officer.

If they now simply empty the Du Pond, discover the vehicle of their former Director of Administration among other vehicles and leave the Lafendeg community to come back and continue with their atrocities, their image is gone and many assumptions will be made by Nigerians.

One, it will confirm the insinuation in some quarters that the Army has different rules for different Nigerians.

It may also be assumed that although all Army officers are equal, the equality of officers like General Alkali may not be as equal as that of others.

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Not taking any action on the Du community will rubbish Army operations in the North East, the Niger Delta and other crises areas.

That the Army has a responsibility to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians is why they are involved in those operations.

Now, here are a people who have established the culture of killing innocent travellers and dumping them in a particular place.

Much like the Shiites they even have the guts of confronting and warning the Nigerian Army against carrying out their legitimate duty of investigating a crime against the state.

What the Lafendeg people did is, in fact, worse than what the Shiites did.

At least I have not read any report that the Shiites attempted to disarm soldiers in December 2015.

Now that the Du community has deserted their houses, the first thing I advise the Army to do is to level the village and replace it with an Army formation.

This may be a barracks or a training school.

In addition to serving as a deterrent, the Army presence will provide an additional security to the area.

That is not all.

I expect the Army to look for the perpetrators of these crimes and ruthlessly deal with them.

The Army should not take it kindly with anyone who engages in any form of protest against any action it takes on this criminal community.

The Army has sworn an oath to defend our nation and we have a duty to advise it.


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