It was a rumour when it s started exactly 14 days ago.
Then it became a prayer point among Plateau indigenes as it spread like wild fire that there were plans to move the Commander of the Plateau State Operation Safe Haven, Major-General Anthony Atolagbe, from his post for his single-minded commitment to stop the killings on the Plateau.
The information went viral on social media.
It read: “PRAY for the Commander Operation Safe Haven, Maj. Gen. Anthony Atolagbe.
“Plans hatched in the Presidency to reassign and post out the Commander Operation Safe Haven for relocating his office to Barkin Ladi (B/Ladi) to stem the killings and attacks.
“His relocation to B/Ladi led to the arrest of 11 persons who made damning confessions that indicted many including top government officials who may be arrested.
“He had facilitated the arrest of 11 suspects connected with the recent killing of over 200 people in B/Ladi, Riyom and Bokkos LGAs.
“Their names were given as follows:
1. Biliaminu Abdullahi
2. Samaila Saleh
3. Muhammadu Kabiru
4. Aminu Mohammed
5. Alhassan Saidu
6. Abubakar Adam
7. Gazali Isah
8. Hamza Inusa
9. Yahuza Yau
10. Dahiru Ahmed
11. Friday Musa
“Exhibits recovered unclude
i. Five (5) AK47 Rifles
ii. Two (2) Live Cartridges.
The source in the Presidency told … “The powers above had planted people to monitor and report his movements for immediate action and that had worked previously until he decided to relocate.”
“According to the source, the arrested suspects have so far made daring confessions to the Nigerian Police Force, indicting some top government officials.”
If the plans remained within the realms of speculation, his alleged transfer has sparked off anger in Plateau State where there is a fragile peace in place. The convoy of State Governor, Simon Lalong was 10 days ago pelted with stones over his alleged cool and non-challant attitude to victims of rampaging Fulani militia.
Scores are believed to be victims of reprisal attacks by the natives.
A political party, Action Democratic Party (ADP) has however gone public to flay the redeployment of Atolagbe and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to return him to Plateau.
This may be a tall dream.
Nonetheless, the Chairman of ASP in Plateau State, Ambassador Nanyah Andrew Daman, said at a press conferencd in Jos, Tuesday, that the ASP received his transfer news with total shock, disappointment and utter suspicion.
He said further: “The ADP Plateau State joins lovers of peace and development to call on the President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olanishakin and the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Tukur Burutai to reverse with immediate effect the transfer of the award winning Operation Save Haven Commander, Gen. Atolagbe for ensuring the arrest of perpetrators of genocide against the people of B/ladi, Riyom, Mangu, Bokkos, Bassa and environs, a feat that has never been achieved by anyone since the killings in the Middle Belt regions and Nigeria at large stated.
“It is on record that Gen. Atolagbe reduced the killings in Bassa LGA when he arrested the major sponsor of the dastardly acts using a modern technology from his service and experience at the United Nations where he served for twenty-seven years out of his thirty years service in the Nigerian army.
“Like the professional soldier that he is, Gen. Atolagbe relocated to B/ladi LGA after the massacre of 23rd and 24th of June which led to the arrest of initial eleven Fulani Herdsmen terrorists involved in the genocide who were paraded after exhaustive investigation which revealed the conspiracy and complicity of the high and mighty in this government.
“His effort also in using personal security gadget he bought with his hard earned resources in order to save lives and properties, led to the arrest of another Seven Fulani herdsmen terrorists on their way to unleash another terror and killing of Plateau people in B/ladi and Riyom LGA’s
“Due to his relentless efforts and commitment to put a stop to the massacre in Plateau State, another set of seven fulani herdsmen terrorists including their major financier where apprehended and paraded, thus bringing the total of high profile Fulani Herdsmen killers to twenty-five arrested in the span of just one month.
“It is thus, astonishing and vexatious the punishment posting rather than accolades and promotion medal to Gen. Atolagbe who has done what no Nigerian General has acheived since 2001 when killings in Plateau took a frightening dimension..
“The ADP Plateau State frowns at the posting of the STF Commander especially because of the fact that it had been predicted earlier that because of the arrests of the fulani herdsmen terrorists and the relative peace achieved, the enemies of Plateau in Aso rock, Defense heads and the military high command will remove the proffesional general. It is very unfortunate that the boasting of Fulani herdsmen and their sponsors …that the STF Commander will be removed because he refused to transfer the arrested Fulani herdsmen terrorists to Abuja to be freed like in time past, has come to pass.
“The ADP Plateau is crying for justice for a man of justice who used his resources to get and use advanced finger prints technology on the bullet castings used by the Fulani Herdsmen terrorists to arrest the twenty-five terrorists who mowed (down) and killed 250 innocent women, children and men in B/ladi, Riyom, and environs.
“What a country? Where the evil is rewarded and the good is repremanded? Is it not disheartening for (another general) who has spent seven years in Plateau to be applauded while the one working tirelessly to stop the killings and bring back peace on the Plateau is punished by an unholy transfer?
“We feel the transfer of Gen. Atolagbe will frusterate the prosecution of the twenty-five Fulani herdsmen terrorists and return Plateau to the killing fields of old.”