25th October, 2013
Governor Umaru Al-Makura of the central Nigerian state of Nasarawa on Friday denied any link with the ‘Ombatse’ group that allegedly killed dozens of security operatives at Alakyo village on 7 May this year.
Al-Makura made this disclosure when he testified before the Commission of Inquiry on the killing of security operatives and other crises in the state in Lafia.
He said that he had no knowledge of the existence of the group prior to the incident at Nasarawa-Eggon in November 2012.
The governor said that there was a protest in November 2012 at Nasarawa-Eggon by some youths who obstructed traffic and held commuters hostage for almost six hours.
He said the youth alleged that the military obstructed their prayer session at Alogani village, adding that he went to the scene and invited them to his residence in Lafia.
He said that it was in his Lafia residence that the name “Ombatse’’ was first mentioned to him.
The governor, led in evidence by commission’s Counsel, Mrs Funsho Lawal, denied being the financier of the group as alleged by Ombatse’s lawyer Mr Zamani Allumaga.
Earlier, Allumaga, while testifying told the commission that the governor gave leaders of Ombatse and Eggon Community Development Association one million naira each when they visited him in November 2012.
Al-Makura said that he only gave the youth he invited to his residence one million naira not two million naira as alleged for their transportation and refreshment.
On the allegation that some members of his cabinet sabotaged the ill-fated security operation at Alakyo on 7 May, he said there was no evidence that government officials were involved.
“But the case of sabotage cannot be completely ruled out,” he said.
Al-Makura also dismissed as untrue the allegation that government failed to heed the warning of Eggon elders through retired Justice Ahmed Ubangeri, a former Chief Justice of the state.
The warning was that government should postpone the ill-fated operation in order to allow elders to meet with Ombatse priest, Baba Alakyo on 9 May, over activities of the group.
The governor explained that the deputy governor informed him of the decision of the Eggon elders at about 6p.m on 7 May while he was in Jos.
He said when the information got to him, the security operatives were already on their way to Alakyo.
Al-Makura said that before he could act on the information, another call came from the deputy governor about 20 minutes later telling him that the security operatives were attacked.
He also denied ever ordering for the head of the Ombatse priest Baba Alakyo as alleged by Allumaga, saying “will that be a lawful order to security operatives.
“I do not know when Baba Alakyo became John the Baptist,” Al-Makura said.