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I lost 4 military men, daughter – Mother of late Lt-Col A.H Ali

At the residence of the late Lieutenant Colonel A.H Ali, the Commanding Officer of the 181 Amphibious Battalion, who was murdered alongside two majors, one…

At the residence of the late Lieutenant Colonel A.H Ali, the Commanding Officer of the 181 Amphibious Battalion, who was murdered alongside two majors, one captain and 12 soldiers in Okuama, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State on Thursday, it was sadness everywhere as mourners were seen expressing their feelings.

The officers and soldiers killed by some hoodlums were of the battalion in Bomadi Local Government Area of the state.

When Daily Trust on Sunday visited the family of the slain Lieutenant Colonel Ali, who was their breadwinner, his mother, Hassana Hassan, who sat in the living room of her house, looked lost in thought as she reminisced on similar situations she had faced. She, however, managed to respond to greetings and casually speak a word or two, while pausing at intervals.

She said words would not be enough to describe what she felt as a result of the death of her eldest son.

“He is one of my favourite children. As the eldest, he didn’t want to see me angry. He had never done anything wrong to me. I know him to be very loyal, easygoing and truthful in his dealings.

“He often asked for permission, just to come and see me and go back to his place of work.

“I don’t know what to do. His death is bitter in my heart, but God knows the best. The last time he came to see me was just two weeks ago. He said he was sorry that he couldn’t secure permission to come and see me until that day. He brought me foodstuff and other things to use for the fasting period and returned back to work.

“When I was in the hospital I requested some money from him to settle the medical bills and he sent it to me. Unfortunately, before we were discharged from the hospital, his brother came and said my attention was needed, that Alhaji Ali wanted to see me. I left to see him and he broke the news to me.

wife of the late lt. col a.h ali, hauwa (2nd right) and children
wife of the late lt. col a.h ali, hauwa (2nd right) and children

“Honestly, it is devastating because he is now the fourth one I lost. I have nothing to say but God is watching. He was very good to me; I lacked nothing from him. I have nothing to tell them, but God is watching everyone; he will judge on the final day,” she said.

She recalled how his brother, also an officer of the Nigerian Army, was killed by suspected bandits in an ambush in Katsina State some years ago in the course of work.

“His brother, Captain Jamilu Ali Hassan, also paid the supreme price in 2019 in Katsina State. His colleagues told me that they were helpless, so they allowed him to be killed in a manner that no one would wish even his enemy,” she lamented.

She further narrated how her daughter, who was also married to a military man, died alongside her husband and his brother in a car accident during the fasting period some years ago.

“They came here during fasting like this to greet us, but they were involved in an accident on their way back home. She had escaped, but in trying to rescue her husband and his brother, she was caught by the fire and that’s how she also died,” she narrated.

Hassana also said the fourth military man she first lost was her husband, who died peacefully after retirement from active service.

“I don’t know what to do. I am speechless. But if anybody has a hand in this, God is watching and he will judge accordingly,” she added.

None of my children will join the military – Wife

At the residence of the late Lieutenant Colonel Ali, his wife and six children were also mourning.

Hauwa, his wife, could only shake her head as tears kept rolling out of her eyes.

Obviously, her mother was the wife of an erstwhile strong military officer.

Flanked by her two boys and a girl, Hauwa told our correspondent amidst tears that she was married to the late lieutenant colonel for 16 years and they had four boys and two girls.

“Words cannot describe him because he was everything to us. He was a man of his words, dedicated to both his family and work.

“Apart from his family, he sacrificed his life for Nigeria, and that’s the price he has paid. I pray that wherever he is God, would continue to be with him.

“His dedication to humanity is one thing I will always remember. No matter how he was, once he was called to work, he would make sure he fulfilled it,” she said.

Asked if she would allow some of her children to join the military in future, she said, “I will not advise any of his children to be in the military. Their father has already sacrificed his life for the country.

“We know that death is inevitable. As Muslim we have to die at some point and time, but I am really shattered by the way my husband was killed. He called me that very day and told me that he was going for a peace mission. I never knew that it was the last time we would speak.

“Nobody could call to tell me the news until Saturday. I was called from the State House.”

Nigerians demand probe, compensation for affected families

Reacting to the killing of the military men in Delta State, some Nigerians, online and offline, have continued to call on the authorities concerned to investigate the matter, while others are demanding for compensation for the affected families, as well as the need to sponsor their children through education.

The chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, Ahmad Lawan, described the incident as an assault on the security and stability of the Niger Delta region.

In a press statement, Lawan urged security agencies to investigate the incident, bring perpetrators to justice and restore peace and order in the area.

Abdulmalik Hamza, a businessman in Kano, said the incident showed a huge gap in the security architecture of the country. He also called on the authorities concerned to investigate it, and the government should, as much as possible, compensate the affected families of the fallen heroes, as well as take care of their children.

He said, “We all know how life turns out to be for your family once you are gone.

The families of the fallen heroes must be taken good care of; at least they died in the course of protecting lives, property and ensuring peace in the country. They must be compensated and their children sponsored through education.

“Most of their kids are still young and cannot fend for themselves. What Lt Col Ali left may not be enough to take care of his children, who are still young. The wife should not be left to suffer. Their extended families, who are also dependent on them, must be considered.”

Usman Isah Musa also said, “The act is condemnable, and the perpetrators must not go unpunished. No stone should be left unturned to fish out the killers of these military men and bring them to justice.

It is very devastating to see our patriots killed in such a manner. May the soul of the departed rest in peace! Aameen.”

Also reacting through his Facebook page, Lt Col Ali’s friend and former colleague, Lawan Danjuma Adamu wrote, “May Allah forgive the soul of Lt Col Ali Abdullahi Hassan who was killed in a gruesome manner alongside other officers and soldiers in Delta State.

“As young men, Ali and I joined the Army together in 1996 as members of 43 Intake. We attended the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, with him being a year ahead of me. When I was leaving the Army voluntarily 20 years ago, Ali got a commission into the officer cadre of the Nigerian Army.

“I last saw him in Maiduguri when he came to see me at my hotel in February 2022.

“His younger brother, Lieutenant Jamilu, was killed in a similar way by bandits some three years ago in Batsari, Katsina State.

“Ali’s father also served in the Nigerian Army. He died in retirement some years ago. The family has paid their dues to Nigeria. Oh my God! It was shocking how Ali was mutilated. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and those of the other soldiers who were killed while suing for peace in Okuama.

“The authorities must fish out their killers and bring them to book! This death is big and devastating.”

The Delta State governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, on Tuesday had said his administration did not bargain for what happened in Okuama community. He regretted that the communities involved in the dispute had signed a peace accord before the killing of the soldiers.

He, however, promised to provide succour to the families of the slain military personnel.

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