By SONI DAniel, REGIONAL EDITOR, NORTH
Plausible reasons why the Ombatse cult killed no fewer than 100 policemen and security operatives in Eggon community of NasarawaState have begun to emerge.
Findings by Vanguard revealed that the fear by the Eggon-speaking natives of the state that Governor Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, is planning to renege on his pledge to serve for only a term of four years, triggered the lethal onslaught.
Competent government sources confirmed to Vanguard, yesterday, that Governor Al-Makura was interested in a second term although he had served notice in 2011 to do just four years and hand over to an Eggon politician, since the area has never tasted the governorship seat in the 16 years of the state’s existence.
According to findings, Eggon, which are mostly Christians and constitute the dominant ethnic race in the state, are found in all the LGAs of Nasarawa State but they feel politically marginalised by successive administrations.
The latest attack by the Ombatse, which is said to have emerged as a ‘private army’ to protect the political and social interests of the Eggon, was believed to have been carried out to send “appropriate message” to the governor that the ‘Eggon time has come’ to take over from him.
Senator Solomon Ewuga, an Eggon politician, who backed Al-Makura to emerge as governor on the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, platform in 2011, said in an interview that it was wrong for the governor to repudiate on his vow to serve only a term and give the chance to an Eggon.
According to the lawmaker, “These are the very people who have voted consistently in every election to support or remove one government or the other. The present governor, Al-Makura, is a beneficiary of Eggon vote and not their violence,” the lawmaker pointed out.
“The governor told me he wanted to come back for a second term but I reminded him of his promise to do just one term but he asked me if we had an agreement he was going to hand over to me and I said no but that he had promised the people to do a term during and after his inauguration”.
2015 linked to attack
It was not clear last night what steps the Federal Government was planning to take against perpetrators of the evil act apart from the retirement of the DSS director in the state and the redeployment of the police commissioner.
The police authorities, however, assured that killers of the policemen and the security operatives would be brought to justice. Force Spokesman, CSP Frank Mba “investigation is on-going, we are unwavering in our commitment to finding the killers and bringing them to justice”.
The Federal and Nasarawa state governments have paid N2 million to each of the families of the slain policemen and security agents.
Further finding showed that there were fears that going after the cult group could spark more trouble in the state and alter permutations for the 2015 poll.
It was learnt that the opposition in the state was keen on fielding an Eggon candidate in the next election to oust governor Al-Makura from office.
It was learnt that those opposed to the governor’s stay in office beyond 2015, were seriously considering tapping Senator Ewuga to defect from the CPC and join the PDP, which has strong followership, so as to recapture the state.
Alternatively, the anti-Al-Makura camp, is said to be looking in the direction of Labaran Maku, the information minister, to challenge the governor in the next gubernatorial contest.
But Al-Makura has defended himself, saying that he has invested immensely in Eggon and should be appreciated.
However, the Chief Priest of Ombatse, Chief Ala Agu, has blamed the governor for the attack, saying that the governor never called him for dialogue before sending troops to kill him for no just cause.
Agu denied killing the policemen, saying that his god killed them before arriving Eggon.
“When the security men came and because they were drunk, my god did not allow them to come to me and they died on the way,” Agu said.
The Director General of the Department of State Service, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, said last week that the service had forgiven those who killed 10 of its men during the failed attempt to uproot the Ombatse cult group last month. Ekpenyong spoke at an event to honour the dead security men in Abuja.
President Goodluck Jonathan had also mentioned the Nasarawa pogrom in his state of emergency address to the nation but did not say if any action would be taken to challenge the cultists.