REVEALED: How 2015 gov race fuelled Nasarawa killings •IGP orders Nasarawa leaders to fish out killers; police widows continue protest
by Tayo Babarinde
MORE facts have emerged over the recent killings of security agents in Nasarawa State with reports indicating that that the battle for 2015 governorship between Governor Tanko Al-Makura and the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, was the motivating force behind the killings, counter-killings and violence in the state.
Investigation by Sunday Tribune revealed that the Ombatse group behind the killings and counter-killings is the front for the majority Nassarawa Eggon people who are bent on producing the next governor of the state, while the state governor represents the other ethnic population of the state bent on retaining the governorship in 2015.
While the Eggon are said to be consolidating their hold on the majority through the Ombatse group ahead of 2015, those opposed to their aspiration and sympathetic to the incumbent governor are reportedly scheming to weaken and destroy the group before the next elections.
The confrontation reportedly led to the police raid of Ombaste’s shrine located at Alogani village in late 2012, an event that ended peacefully and was followed by peaceful demonstrations by Eggon people across the state. It was gathered that the state governor was then barred from visiting the shrine.
Following last year’s raid, Sunday Tribune learnt that the pro-Muslim group and pro-Ombatse group had stepped up their scheming with the Ombatse group said to be gaining the upper hand while selling their son, Maku, as a replacement for Governor Al-Makura.
The situation was said have reached a climax in December 2012, when the leader of the Ombatse group, Zachary Zamani Allumag, a retired magistrate, opened up on developments in the state, blaming the tense inter-ethnic relations on plot to stop the Eggon people from claiming their right in the state’s politics.
According to him: “The reason there is serious animosity against the Ombatse group is simply that they are aware that we went to Azhili and prayed for the political landscape of Nasarawa State to change for good; and, indeed, it changed. Our prayer is working. As 2015 is approaching, we are aware that some people are planning to ensure the Eggon nation is dislodged from the political landscape of the state. So, they call us all kinds of names so that they can hang us.
“We also discovered that some politicians from Eggon nation, the like of Solomon Ewuga, now a serving senator, who aspired to be governor of the state, was rigged out by Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, the first civilian governor during the PDP governorship primary election. As I am talking to you now, the result of that primary election has not been declared, apart from their simply saying Abdullahi Adamu won it. Nobody has told anybody what margin he won with.
“As if that was the end, when his government got to power, he conspired with other tribes in the state and brought up a policy he called the deployment policy. In other words, according him, all Eggon should leave wherever they are settled in the state to Nasarawa Eggon. A decision that was challenged and we went as far to the Supreme Court and the judgment was delivered April this year in our favour, declaring such directive as illegal.
“It was an infringement on the fundamental right of the Eggon people. They all know that the Eggon were on ground before whoever arrived in Nasarawa State. And now, you are the one telling us today that we should go to Nasarawa Eggon. I can assure you that no fewer than 20 of our people died as a result of resisting that policy and the hardship it created.” Sunday Tribune was told that all the ethnic undertones were captured in several security reports which allegedly suggested an attempt at ethnic cleansing by successive Muslim governors of the state.