Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State yesterday dismissed the option of granting amnesty to members of the outlawed Ombatse cult group, who were involved in the massacre of scores of security operatives in May this year.
He made this known while speaking with journalists on Thursday in Abuja.
According to Gov. Al-Makura, granting amnesty to Ombatse – a militia group largely made up of Eggons, would amount to preempting the work of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by the state government to determine the immediate and remote causes of the killing of over 60 security operatives made up of policemen and personnel of the State Security Services in Alakyo, Lafia Local Government Area of the state.
The governor, who had also appeared before the Commission last week to give testimony on his knowledge of the group, was reacting to what he described as misrepresentations of a comment attributed to him during his lecture at the Institute for Security Studies in Bwari, which suggested that his administration was considering following the precedence set by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua by granting amnesty to ethnic militias.
His words: “The administration is not considering amnesty to the outlawed Ombatse militia of the Eggon ethnic group widely accused of killing and perpetrating other heinous crimes in some parts of the state. A story of such magnitude was published without recourse to what I said while delivering a lecture on the topic: ‘Contemporary Security Challenges in Nasarawa State’ at the Institute for Security Studies in Bwari, Abuja, on October 29, 2013. It will amount to pre-empting the work of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the killings of security personnel at Alakyo who were on their routine duty and to also unmask their sponsors.
“This story as published by a section of the media is a figment of the imagination of the writers. The report is a misrepresentation of what I said during a question and answer session after delivering the lecture. I only implored security agents to intensify efforts at recovering arms that are illegally in possession of the militia and other unauthorised persons,” Al-Makura said.
The governor expressed concern about the inconveniences the report may have caused the public, especially victims of the attacks and the Judicial Commission of Enquiry currently investigating the killings. While assuring that his administration would continue to maintain peaceful co-existence among the diverse ethnic groups in the state, he assured that no effort would be spared in ensuring that the perpetrators and their sponsors are brought to book.
“I insist that these criminals must be fished out and they must not be left unpunished. We are waiting for the commission of enquiry to finalise its sittings. I will like to assure all and sundry that this government is focused and consistent in our search for peace and justice; justice must be done for people who have been offended.”