By Martha Nuhu
Jos – The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Plateau State Council, has accused the Nigeria Army of indiscriminate arrests, intimidation and harassment of Plateau residents in its search for missing Maj. Gen. Idris Alkali (rtd).
The council, in a statement signed by its secretary, Mr Peter Amine, said that the attitude was becoming a source of worry to the NUJ.
“We expect the Army to use its intelligence findings and go after those they suspect to have a hand in the matter. Unfortunately, they are arresting anybody on sight.
“We expect them to use the same intelligence they used to locate the car, to fish out the suspects in their search for Gen. Alkali or his body.
“We are worried because innocent people are not spared by the `crude method’ they have employed. Needless to also add that the attitude has instilled fear in the people and is already overheating the polity,” the statement said.
The union recalled that the Army, on Saturday, Oct. 6, assured members of the public that they would exhibit high level of professionalism and adhere to international standards in the search.
“We were happy when we heard that commitment, but all the actions so far taken have contradicted that assurance,” the statement said.
The NUJ particularly recalled that the soldiers arrested a reporter with the Punch Newspaper, alongside other persons, in a restaurant in Jos, on Saturday, saying that those “captured” were detained for 28 hours at the Army Barracks in Rukuba.
“While journalists support the search for the missing officer, the NUJ in Plateau will not hesitate to withdraw its members from covering the activities of the Army if the intimidation and harassment continue,” the statement said.
Alkali, who got missing on Sept, 13, has not been found, though his car has been found in a pond at Dura village in Du District of Jos.