Contrary to the testimony by legal adviser of Ombatse, Zamani Allumaga that Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State gave Ombatse youth N2 million for refreshments, the governor has said he gave only N1 million.
Appearing before the Fola Gbadeyan-led commission of inquiry into the Alakyo killings, Gov. Al-Makura said he invited the youth to hear their grievances after they blocked the Akwanga-Lafia highway at Nasarawa-Eggon in November 2012.
“There was a protest in November 2012 at Nasarawa-Eggon by some youth, who obstructed traffic and held commuters for almost six hours, alleging that the Military obstructed their prayer session at Alogani Village.
“After admonishing the youth leaders, about 15 of them, on the need for peace amongst all citizens, irrespective of religious inclination, and they listened, I felt it was only proper to give them some money for transportation and refreshment since I did not give them lunch,” Mr. Al-Makura stated.
The governor told the panel that it was after the encounter with the youth that the name ‘Ombatse’ was first mentioned to him. He claimed that prior to the November 2012 incident, he had no prior knowledge of the existence of the group.
Mr. Allumaga had earlier in his own testimony to the panel alleged that the governor gave leaders of Ombatse and Eggon Community Development Association, ECDA, N1 million each when they visited him in November, 2012.
Gov. Al-Makura also dismissed as false, the allegation that government failed to heed the warning of Eggon elders, through Ahmed Ubangeri, a former Chief Justice of the state, to postpone the ill-fated operation.
The elders had allegedly asked the state government to allow them meet with the Ombatse priest, Baba Alakyo, on May 9 over the activities of Ombatse.
However, the governor explained that the decision of the Eggon elders was communicated to him through his deputy, Dameshi Luka at about 6 p.m. on May 7, while he was in Jos, Plateau State.
Upon receipt of the information, the governor claimed that there was nothing he could do as the security operatives were already en route Alakyo. He said it was about 20 minutes later that he got another call from Mr. Luka informing him of the attack on the security operatives.
Gov. Al-Makura also denied the allegation by Mr. Allumaga that he ordered for the head of the Ombatse priest.
“Would that be a lawful order to security operatives?” he asked. “I do not know when Baba Alakyo became John the Baptist”.