GOVERNOR Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has raised alarm over the activities of those he referred to as cultists in his state who he said slaughtered at least 20 policemen in an ambush at Alakyo village, about 10km from Lafia, the state capital, on Tuesday.
He was at the State House, Abuja on
Wednesday to confer with Vice President Namadi Sambo on the
deteriorating security situation in Nasarawa State and ways to bring the
menace under control following the discovery, two weeks ago, of an
armed militia group.
This came as Benue State governor,
Gabriel Suswam, who was also there to brief Sambo of Fulani herdsmen
attacks on villages in his state, advocated a decisive action on armed
groups which take the lives of uniformed security personnels.
Speaking to correspondents after the
meeting, the Nasarawa governor expressed bitterness over the existence
of the cult whose leadership he said was trying to hold the state to
ransom by recruiting people, subjecting them to an oath and arming them.
He revealed that a team of policemen
met their deaths when they were detailed to storm the shrine of the cult
leader with the aim of arresting him but unfortunately, they fell into
an ambush and were killed.
According to him, “I am here to meet
with His Excellency, the Vice President to brief him about the security
situation in my state. Just yesterday (Tuesday), we have a very bitter
security problem that has caused the death of some security officers in
“Two weeks ago, we discovered a
certain militia group holding arms and carrying out cultist activities
in the state. Since January, this thing has not abated and in the past
two weeks, it took a total different dimension.
“They have been going for one place
to another including churches and taking people from that particular
ethnic group to come and take portions that are meant to empower them to
do what they want to do.
“This escalated and is causing
serious concern for the state. We decided to hold security meeting to
find a way of solving the problem. The solution was to go to the shrine
and pick on the cult leader so that the problem will be solved once and
“As security operatives were
approaching the shrine, unknown to them that ambush has been laid for
them, these people attacked them and resulted in the death of more than
He said that the situation has become
so grave that he felt it was important to come and brief the Vice
President and to seek federal government’s assistance to bring it to an
“This is a situation that is so grave
and I feel it is very important that I come to brief the Vice President
about the security situation and to seek assistance so that we can
handle the matter once and for all,” the governor stated.
Al-Makura also noted that the group,
which he said was of “Eggon extraction and called Ombatse,” has
previously been proscribed since the beginning of this year because of
the activities of the members.
He added: “They go from one place to
another, harbouring arms, attacking any area that has any conflict with
any of their members. The group is banned and its members are those
causing this problem in the state and we feel it is necessary to bring
this to the notice of the Federal Government.”
The governor maintained that there
has been no arrest made before Tuesday’s incident but that security
agents were making arrangements to contain the situation.
“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,” the governor declared.
He promised that government would assist families of the victims of the attacks whether or not they were security operatives.
But Nigerian Tribune gathered from
Lafia, the state capital that, over 98 people were said to have been
killed, 55 of them being mobile policemen, when members of the outlawed
Ombatse militia group laid ambush for them on their way to the latter’s
shrine at Lakyo village in Lafia East Development Area of Nasarawa
State, on Tuesday evening.
Reports from the area indicated that
out of 110 security operatives that went to the village with 11 Hilux
vehicles, only two vehicles returned. Nine officers sustained various
degrees of injury, while 11 came back unhurt. The nine other vehicles
were said to have been burnt by members of the militia group. Eight
members of the group were said to have been killed during the gun duel.
Informed security sources told the
Nigerian Tribune that the Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, ‘B’
Department, Operation, AC Momoh and his counterpart from the SSS who led
the operation also lost their lives during the attack. It was
exclusively learnt that the mission of the security men to the shrine
was to capture a man who was alleged to have been forcing all Eggons by
tribe to join the group in preparation for 2015 elections.
Findings by the Nigerian Tribune
revealed that apart from the police and SSS officials, soldiers were
also on the entourage. As they were approaching the village, the
soldiers were said to have stayed behind with their vehicles, with a
view to capturing the suspect if he wanted to evade the arrest.
The incident, according to the
witness, who sought anonymity, caught the security personnel unawares,
as members of the group, believed to have built water-tight security few
kilometers to the shrine, suddenly opened fire on them.
“We also killed them but we lost many
officers. Out of 11 Hilux vehicles, only two came back with nine
injured. Although, some of our men escaped into nearby bush, we are yet
to see them up till this moment, it was a pathetic situation,” a senior
police source added.
As of the time of filing this report,
no official figure came either from the state police command or the
SSS, but the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Abayomi Akeremale, while
addressing newsmen in his office in Lafia, the state capital, on
Wednesday, confirmed the attack, saying “I cannot give details now
because we dispatched our men to the area this morning and they are
still in the bush trying to rescue the injured officers and bring them
back to the city.”
At Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital
(DASH), Lafia, the nine policemen that sustained injuries are still
there and responding to treatment.
It was also gathered that 15 members
of Nigerian Civil Defence Corps also died. An emergency security meeting
was held at the deputy governor’s office but journalists were not
briefed on the outcome of the meeting.
The CP, who addressed newsmen few
minutes before the arrival of the Assistant Inspector General of Police,
Zone 4, Makurdi, AIG Michael Zuokumor, lamented that “the plan of the
command for today (Tuesday) is to inaugurate additional three Hilux
vehicles given this command by Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr.
Mohammed Abubakar for patrolling, with a view to ridding the state of
crime and criminality, but unfortunately, something else happened which
we have to attend to, as a matter of urgency.”
It is recalled that Ombatse, which
means the time has come, was dislodged from its base recently by the
military personnel in Nasarawa local government area of the state and
since then, it has been a cat and mouse game between them and security
FG asked security agencies to unravel killers of 13 prisons officers
Federal Government on Wednesday condemned the gruesome murder of 13
Prisons officers and release of 105 inmates from Bama Prison, Borno
Government has accordingly asked security agencies to ensure that those behind the act are brought to justice.
Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba
Moro, reacting to the attack on Bama Prisons by suspected Boko Haram
sect, noted with grave sadness, the killings of 13 officers of NPS,
including the Chief Superintendent in charge of the Prisons in the wee
hours of Tuesday May 9 at the ancient city of Bama in Borno.
A statement by the Special Assistant
to the Minister on Media, Mr George Udoh said “Moro is seriously
worried that the dastardly act was committed only a few months after the
killings of some prisons officers in similar manner by suspected
members of Boko Haram sect.