Ombatse Group Sues Nasarawa For N500m

members of the Ombatse group arrested by the police
members of the Ombatse group arrested by the police

The Ombatse group, allegedly responsible for the massacre of security operatives in Alakio, Nasarawa State on May 7, 2013, is seeking N500 million for the breach of the fundamental human rights of its members.

In a suit filed by the legal adviser of the group, Zachary Zamani Allumuga, he sought for reliefs on the abuse of the group’s fundamental human rights and an injunction to stop the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the massacre from submitting its report, and the state government from receiving the report and releasing the White Paper.

In a counter affidavit filed by the secretary of the commission, Abubakar Sadiq Ishaq, who doubles as the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, the commission accused Ombatse of perpetrating evil which held the state to ransom.

Abubakar, who declared that he was working under the authority of his chairman and other members of the commission, disclosed that the commission received a total of 22 memoranda and found Ombatse culpable of the offences leveled against it.

“That I know as a fact that a total of 22 memoranda were received by the commission and out of these numbers of the memoranda, six came from Ombatse group said to be represented by one Zachary Zamani Allumuga the applicant,” he said.

“That I read the supporting affidavit by the applicant and the memoranda submitted by all other persons, groups and/or communities affected by the crises that led to the setting up of this commission and i know as a fact that the said memoranda received revealed that the Ombatse group proscribed by the state government is opposite of what the applicant (Allumuga) claimed the group represents as deposed in paragraph 5,6,7,8,9,10,12,13 and 14 of the said supporting affidavit of the Ombatse.

“That I know as a fact that the memoranda received from various communities and persons that were attacked by Ombatse showed that the group is an ethnic militia that engages in killing, maiming, looting and dangerous acts that are inimical to good governance, peace, and security of Nasarawa state,” Abubakar said.

The commission’s secretary stated that despite the proscription of Ombatse, the group continued to unleash terror, mayhem, killing and destruction of lives and properties”.

He described the suit filed by Ombatse as useless as, according to him, the group cannot “demonstrate any wrong done to or likely to be done to the applicant by the commission to necessitate the action filed against the commission”.

Ombatse group had on October 20, 2013 filed a case at the High Court of Justice of Nasarawa State against the state governor, the Attorney General and the Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing Alakio killings and other related matters.

In the suit, the group opposed its proscription saying Nasarawa State notice No.4 of 2012 made by the governor is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

According to Allumaga, the rationale for their assertion is because neither he nor any member was invited to be heard before the proscription was pronounced.

He declared that by virtue of S. 40 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, Ombatse has the right and freedom to assemble freely and to associate with other persons.