Ombatse chief priest: Why we killed policemen
The Chief Priest of the Ombatse cult group in Lakyo, Nasarawa South Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Ala Agu, has opened up on the recent killings of police men by adherents of the group.
Agu, 76, said that security men that invaded the community were ordered by the state governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, to kill him.
The chief priest , who is popularly called Baba Lakyo, spoke with journalists on Wednesday at Lakyo during a visit of Senator Solomon Ewuga (Nasarawa North Senatorial District) to the community.
He spoke through an interpreter.
According to him, the security operatives did not come to arrest him, but to kill him 'and cut off my head and take it to the governor.'
He said, 'It is the governor that asked the people (police officers) to come here and arrest me, cut my head and take my head to him.
'When they came, because they were themselves drunk, my god did not allow them to come to me and they died on the way.
'The question I asked is, 'has the governor ever invited me and I refused to go?' If am invited, I will go. But he sent people to come and kill me and to destroy Lakyo as a whole. That is just what it is.'
Baba Lakyo said that he had never been invited by security agencies, contrary to reports that the police invaded the village after he shunned their invitation.
The chief priest said that he was willing to honour any invitation either by the governor or the police.
Although Lakyo is peaceful, besides the sight of burnt vehicles used by the security men, Agu said he was unhappy with what happened and was apprehensive of what might befall him afterwards.
Ewuga toured Lakyo community, and led reporters to the home of Agu, which represents the 'shrine' of the Ombatse.
Agu however denied ever forcing people to join the group through any initiation or drinking of concoction.
'I am grateful for your coming, Senator. I am very, very grateful for your coming. Even if the Senator did not come here, I had intended to go and see him in his house but since he is here, I am very grateful,' he told the senator.
Agu also said that he was in a nearby village when the incident took place only for him to come back to be informed that the governor sent people to come and kill him.
Asked whether the incident had anything to do with the politics of the state, he said, 'If you are talking about politics, it does not bother me. I don't even understand Hausa language. Politics is not for me because I am not a politician. Politics is for politicians but I hear that the time for politicking has not even come.
'If I ever opened my mouth to force anybody to take oath, God should punish me'.
He said that Ombatse was an association of Lakyo boys into which nobody was forced to belong.
He said he was ready to honour any police invitation but insisted that nobody had invited him.
According to him, it is even more saddening that he is being linked to the incident, especially when he knew nothing about what happened to the policemen.
But Al-Makura on Wednesday dismissed Agu's claim that he was never invited for any meeting.
The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Iliya Aliu, in a telephone interview, said it was on record that the head of the cult group did not honour several invitations extended to him.
He said, 'It is not true that he was never invited. The Emir of Lafia who is the Chairman of the Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs invited him, he refused to honour it.
'Are Eggon, who is the chief of his area invited him, he refused; the Police, the SSS all invited him before this incident but he refused to honour any of them.
'His followers attacked and killed people in Asakiyo Alago; they went to Arga Migili, Kwadere and did the same.
'No responsible government will sit by and watch such things happen without taking action.
'It was after he refused to answer all of these invitations that the state security council met and decided that he should be arrested.
'Even their name, Ombatse, means it is our turn. Their turn for what?
'In any case, no matter the grievance, no individual or group has the right to kill innocent security officials.
'He and all those responsible must face the consequence of their action.'
The President of the Egon Cultural Development Association, Mr. Chris Mamman, said the only way to get to the root of what happened at Alakyo was for the Federal Government to set up a judicial commission of inquiry.
Ewuga said he decided to tour the affected area as a matter of national responsibility, saying he needed to see things for himself since he is also an Eggon man even though it was not within his senatorial district.