Ombatse Killings - Nasarawa Assembly Demands Emergency Rule
The Nasarawa State House of Assembly yesterday at its plenary session roundly condemned the attacks by the Ombatse militia on Adabu, Obi and Assakio Alago communities which left in its wake scores of people, mostly women and children, dead and property worth millions of naira destroyed. The lawmakers described it as an all-out war and called on government to declare emergency rule on the southern senatorial district of the state.
Similarly, the Assembly resolved to invite Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, the director of the Department of State Security, the police commissioner and commandant of the of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to appear before it at an executive session to give reasons why breakdown of security has continued unabated. The date for the session will be decided when Al-Makura returns from his foreign trip, said the speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Musa Ahmed Mohammed.
The members were unanimous in condemning the federal government's inability to restore public confidence in its ability to guarantee safety of life and property, especially given the silence that trailed the killing of 73 security operatives at Alakyo village on May 7, 2013, and the inability to bring to justice those who are believed to be members of the proscribed Ombatse group who continue to roam the street freely.
In his submission, the member representing Udegye/Loko constituency and chairman, House Committee on Information and Security, Hon. Mohammed Baba Ibaku, regretted that Nasarawa has become the "home of solid crisis" and called for a state of emergency to be declared in the southern senatorial district of the state so as to find a lasting solution to this lingering crisis. He also chided the first civilian governor of the state, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, for absolving Governor Al-Makura of any blame because he does not control the military, police or civil defence corps.
Hon. Francis Orogu, representing Keana constituency, blamed laxity on the part of the security operatives as responsible for the magnitude of the destruction, saying there had been rumours of possible uprising since Thursday morning but no machinery was put in place to avert the crisis. He warned that the carnage should not be seen as an Alago problem alone but a threat to the peaceful coexistence and security of the entire state, saying except it is treated collectively no one shall be safe from this militant group.
The Assembly also called on youths to desist from being used by politicians in fighting for their personal political goals by inciting ethnic sentiments, even as the condoled with all those who lost their loved ones to the crisis. It also chided the state government for embarking on local government elections while the state was on fire, saying the government must get its priority right by restoring peace and security before talking of local polls.
Fear grips Nasarawa communities
Meanwhile, fear of the unknown has gripped several communities in Nasarawa State, especially in the southern senatorial district, following the series of attacks by youths believed to be of the outlawed Ombatse group who laid siege to three Alago communities over the weekend killing at least 50 people and destroying property worth millions of naira.
On Sunday afternoon, the boisterous Shinge cattle market in Lafia, the state capital, was deserted following rumours that the Ombatse militia were trailing some Fulani people to the market. People left their businesses and scampered out of the market to safety despite calls by the state government and the Nigerian Police for people to go about their normal businesses.