The Nigeria Fire Service has joined the army in the evacuation of water from a pond in Dura, Du District in Jos, Plateau State, in the search for a missing major general, Idris Alkali (rtd).
Mr Alkali, former chief of administration, Army Headquarters, Abuja was declared missing on September 3, while on his way to Bauchi, from Abuja.
The army, after a thorough search, narrowed their efforts to the mining pond.
With efforts of divers not yielding the desired results, military personnel from 3 Div, NA, Rukuba and Operation Safe Haven, commenced the evacuation of water from the pond on September 20.
Kayode Ogunsanya, deputy director, Army Public Relations, 3 Div NA, told the News of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Jos that the evacuation was ongoing.
“The Fire Service has joined the army in the evacuation of the water, but we are yet to find anything after seven days of draining the pond,’’ he said.
Ibrahim Mohammed, Garrison Commander, 3 Div Garrison, Nigeria Army, Rukuba, Jos, who is the commander of the search and rescue operation, told reporters, at the commencement of the water evacuation, that the search was necessitated by intelligence reports suggesting that Mr Alkali might have been killed and thrown into the pond.
“We were forced into searching the water body after searching roads, hospitals and everywhere without success.
“Based on credible intelligence, we had to come to this place and we have been here for the last one week.
“We are trying to find three things – an officer who is still missing, his vehicle which is a black Toyota Corrolla, and also ascertain if the officer is alive or dead.
“We have credible information that some vehicles were pushed into this river and want to see if we can salvage something from it.
“But the river, being a mining site, is very deep. We have used all options, but as a last resort, we will evacuate the water from the pond to see what is in it,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some women, numbering about 500 and clad in black, had protested against the evacuation of the water, with their leader, Mary Yakubu, saying that it had “deep cultural significance’’ to their existence.
“This water, if evacuated, can lead to the death of our sons and husbands,’’ she said.
Mr Mohammed has, however, brushed aside such protest.
“The only thing that can stop us is a directive from the Army Headquarters,’’ he told NAN. (NAN)