At least, 20 policemen, including an assistant commissioner of police, were on Tuesday killed in Alakio village, about 10 kilometres from Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital.
leant that out of the 11 troops-loaded trucks that were deployed to recover cache of arms in the possession of the leader of the militia group, known as Ombaste Baba Lakwo, only nine have made it back with policemen numbering about 20.
Although casualty figure was still sketchy at the time of filing this report, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura confirmed to newsmen in Abuja, after a meeting with the Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, that over 20 cops were killed in the mayhem.
The policemen were at Alakio as part of a security measure to avert the breakdown of law and order in the area.
Al-Makura told State House correspondents in Abuja that over 20 policemen were killed by a group of cultists known as Ombatse.
The governor said he was at the State House to seek the assistance of the federal government to curtail the excesses of the group, adding that the state government had a year ago dislodged the group, but only re-surfaced about a fortnight and continued unleashing terror and mayhem on the people.
The governor said that his administration was determined to uproot the group, adding that he would hold an emergency meeting of the state security council to decide on what action to take.
He said: “The incident happened in a village called Alakio about 10 kilometres from Lafia, the state capital. The position of this militia is unacceptable to the government. Already, we are taking appropriate steps to see that the perpetrators of this act are brought to book.
“That is why I have given the necessary information at the federal level so that by the time we begin to take on these perpetrators, nobody should cast aspersions on the justification.”
Meanwhile, addressing newsmen in his office at Lafia, the state commissioner of police, Mr. Abayomi Akeremale, said that the operation was meant to avert religious crisis by stopping the forceful administering of concoction by the leader of the group, popularly called Baba Alakyo.
When our correspondent visited the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), in Lafia, it was discovered that no fewer than nine officers who managed to escape from the crisis area were being attended to by the medical personnel.
Slain cops’ wives reject Shettima’s N5m donation
In a related development, wives of slain policemen and other security agents in Bama, Borno state, yesterday rejected the N5 million donated by Governor Kashim Shettima.
Instead, the women demanded for the impossible return of their husbands back to life.
An emotionally drenched Shettima who, yesterday, has paid a second visit to Bama town in less than a week to commiserate with victim’s of the army, Boko Haram shootout that almost razed down the entire town, however, pleaded with the women to accept death as an inevitable end for every human being.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NAMA) said it has recorded over 300 internally displaced persons after the police and military authorities said Tuesday that more than 50 persons died as soldiers, police and Boko Haram turned the commercial border town into a battle field.
The Police Area Commander in charge of Bama, Sagir Abubakar, said he has lost many of his men, even as he lamented that the District Police Officer (DPO) of Bama, Eko Lawu, has been missing since the gunmen ran over the police formation.
Shettima, who drove through Bama amidst heavy motorcade of security details, couldn’t helped, as he wept profusely when he accosted a group of bereaved police families who kept wailing and chanting: ‘We want our husbands; please help us bring back our fathers; we don’t want money’.
Some of the women, who went out of control laid on the road before the governor’s motorcade, daring to take their own lives if vehicles were not provided to take them to their home towns.
The governor, moved by what he saw, instantly took the decision to adopt three kids, whose parents were killed on Tuesday. The kids are Saviour, John and Emmanuel.
Shettima ordered that some of the badly injured police officers, who were still reeling in pain without medication, be transferred to Maiduguri.
gathered from sources that the worst hit by the Tuesday fight were officials of the Nigeria Prisons Service whose officials were massacred in cold blood.
A resident, who pleaded anonymity, said that apart from the 14 prisons officials declared killed on Tuesday, many others were also killed in their houses.
At the prisons yard, it was gathered that some of the prisoners turned against their jailers by pointing out to the Boko Haram attackers where prisons officials were hiding within the prisons.
A police officer told Blueprint on condition of anonymity that the “Boko Haram terrorists came like a full army brigade with different kinds of sophisticated rifles, including anti-aircraft guns. We ran out of ammunition, while they kept on firing; that was how most of our officers were killed. We became helpless at a point until one of our courageous officer took the personnel armoured car and drove to our 33 mobile base to get us more ammunition’.
The officer, a sergeant, said the gunmen carted away most of the corpses of their killed colleagues.
Dialogue should not be taken as sign of weakness – Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the attack by armed terrorists on Bama which claimed scores of lives, saying that the federal government’s decision to resolve the current security challenges in the country through dialogue was not a sign of weakness.
In a statement issued by the presidential spokesperson, Dr Reuben Abati: “The president warns that the federal government’s consideration of dialogue as an option for the elimination of some current threats to security should not be seen as a weakening of its resolve and determination to use all the forces at its disposal to crush all brazen affronts to the powers and sovereignty of the Nigerian nation.
“The President urges the armed forces and police not to be disheartened or daunted by the loss of their colleagues, but to remain focused and undeterred in discharging their responsibility for the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria”.
President Jonathan promised that the federal government would continue to give the armed forces and the police the fullest possible support to enhance their ability to meet the continuing challenges of terrorism and insurgency.
“President Jonathan extends sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of the soldiers, policemen and prison officials who lost their lives in the dastardly attack. President Jonathan also commiserates with the families of the innocent civilians who were either killed or injured in Tuesday’s attack on Bama,” the statement said.