I’m too old to bear pains of los­ing him – Gen Al­kali’s 93-year-old mother

For over three weeks, it has been a gloomy mood at Un­guwar Bo­lawa, Po­tiskum, some 104 kilo­me­tres from Da­maturu, the Yobe State cap­i­tal, where fam­ily mem­bers, friends and neigh­bours are yet to come to terms with the sud­den dis­ap­pear­ance of Ma­jor-Gen­eral Mo

Sunday Trust - - INTERVIEW - He Nige­rian Army said they were do­ing their best to find your miss­ing son. Are you sat­is­fied with the op­er­a­tion? Has any­body told or con­tacted you since he got miss­ing? How did you re­ceive the news of your son’s dis­ap­pear­ance? When last did you speak with

From Hamisu Kabir Matazu, Da­maturu

TMy son is a gov­ern­ment ‘prop­erty.’ So, it will be rude for any­one to tell gov­ern­ment what to do. What­ever they are do­ing to get him back is ap­pre­ci­ated. What I want is to know his where­abouts. Was he kid­napped for ran­som or what? My ap­peal is for the mil­i­tary to in­ten­sify the search. I just want to hear his voice.

At times my mind tells me that he is not in the hands of kid­nap­pers be­cause since he got miss­ing, si­lence fol­lowed and no ran­som was de­manded for his re­lease. Let me tell you one thing, ever since I was born, I have never found my­self in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion like this. I’m 93 years old, now ap­proach­ing, 94 but this is the most ir­ri­tat­ing mo­ment of my life.

My son has ren­dered 35 years of self­less ser­vice to the na­tion. It’s in­hu­man for any­one to per­pe­trate such an evil act on my son. I need gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance to re­cover my miss­ing son im­me­di­ately so that I will fi­nally get peace of mind. I know God will in­ter­vene in re­veal­ing where he is. I have sur­ren­dered ev­ery­thing to the Almighty Al­lah.

Those be­hind this in­hu­man act may not have done it to my son if they knew my age and my cur­rent con­di­tion. They should sym­pa­thise with me. I beg of them to re­lease my son. I am too old to bear a heavy bur­den like this.

It is with great shock. Ever since I re­ceived the news I barely eat. My legs be­came too weak to walk. I lost two of my chil­dren, but not in such man­ner. I saw their corpses be­fore we buried them. Al­kali’s own is more painful be­cause I still don’t know what hap­pened to him.

The last time I tried to speak with him was the day he got miss­ing. I called his phone to hear his voice but it couldn’t get through. I called his wife to con­nect me with him, but she said he must be driv­ing to Bauchi. She promised to call him when he ar­rived. Daily Trust on Sun­day

I called him be­cause I heard the news about the at­tacks in Borno and I wanted to sym­pa­thise with him and scold him as usual on why they were post­ing new re­cruits to Maiduguri. I did not know that he had met with trou­ble too.

We have sur­ren­dered ev­ery­thing to the Almighty Al­lah and we know he will an­swer our prayers.

Prayer is the sym­bol of Al­kali’s fam­ily. We don’t cry over death or any calamity that be­falls us. I have taken ev­ery­thing in good faith be­cause we be­lieve in God when­ever some­thing bad hap­pens to us.

The last time he vis­ited me was when the Army com­mis­sioned a wa­ter project in Fika town. He went back to Abuja af­ter the event and re­turned days later for his friend’s daugh­ter’s wed­ding. The wed­ding took place here in Po­tiskum. He sat be­side me on the mat. I was telling him that some peo­ple needed his as­sis­tance af­ter ap­ply­ing for re­cruit­ment into the Nige­rian Army. He’s very pa­tient and obe­di­ent to me.

My son was born ta­lented, sim­ple, kind, obe­di­ent, re­spect­ful and hon­est. He hated cor­rup­tion, right from child­hood. As a tod­dler, he was very healthy and phys­i­cally fit for all the as­sign­ments you gave him. He didn’t fight, and when he went to play with his friends, some­times they beat him, but he still joined them to play the next day. No one ever re­ported him to me for do­ing wrong. He didn’t cry, even when he was sick. I thank God for my chil­dren. They re­spect me and do what I al­ways want them to do.

I don’t know how to ex­press how he cared about me. He would al­ways ask what I wanted. He in­sisted that he would fur­nish my bed­room. I re­sisted be­cause I was born into an Is­lamic scholar’s fam­ily that doesn’t be­lieve in ma­te­ri­al­ism. My fa­ther was a judge and cleric. Be­cause of his sim­plic­ity, he would not sit on the chair nor sleep on the mat­tress. He ad­min­is­tered judge­ment sit­ting on the mat. I can­not change my life­style. I’m only in­ter­ested in en­ter­ing par­adise where it is eter­nal. Life in this world is tem­po­rary. I don’t need here but par­adise. I don’t have any fur­ni­ture in my bed­room be­cause I don’t want it.

I keep ad­vis­ing them to be pa­tient with ev­ery­thing in this world. I thank God that my chil­dren are not in­ter­ested in worldly things, they don’t en­gage in cor­rup­tion, they don’t tem­per with gov­ern­ment money and are not fetish. What­ever hap­pens to them, they al­ways re­sort to God. I am ap­peal­ing to the gov­ern­ment not to re­lent in its ef­forts to res­cue my son.

Ha­jiya Hal­ima Umaru Al­kali

Ma­jor-Gen­eral Idris Al­kali (rtd)

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