Ombatse cult attack: Senators Ewuga, Adokwe differ on imposition of emergency rule in Nasarawa

by ‘Jola Sotubo

The call for the declaration of a state of emergency in Nasarawa following the recent crises that have rocked the state has led to a disagreement between the  two of the Senators representing the state.

Senator Solomon Ewuga, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who represents the Nasarawa North constituency, and his counterpart representing Nasarawa South, in the person of Senator Suleiman Adokwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have taken opposing sides over the latter’s call for a declaration of emergency rule in the troubled state.

Ewuga, reportedly said yesterday that although he was deeply concerned that the communal crises in the state had remained unabated, despite several peace efforts made by the federal and Nasarawa state governments, religious, traditional leaders and concerned individuals, he was still optimistic that continuous dialogue with the warring parties, than coercive force, would bring the situation to a permanent end.

Although he welcomed troops’ deployment to the state by the Federal Government to help bring the situation under control, Ewuga, however, feared that military force could further escalate the situation.

While noting that the latest crisis was primarily in Adokwe’s senatorial district, Senator Ewuga disclosed that he would hold private talks with his Nasarawa South counterpart, saying the outcome would give him the next direction on the matter.

Recall that Senator Suleiman Adokwe, who represents Nasarawa South, had last Thursday, at a briefing in Abuja, appealed to the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the state, saying the series of crises in the state had reached the level that could no longer be treated with kid gloves.

Adokwe said: “I am going to back the members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly who have already called for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state.”

Ewuga and Adokwe’s disagreement came as two Peoples Democratic Party chieftains in the state, Ibrahim Saleh and Kawu Dalhatu, in separate statements in Abuja, expressed concern that two weeks after the latest violence, Minister of Information and supervising Minister of Defence, Mr Labaran Maku, a prominent indigene of the state, was yet to undertake an assessment tour of the crisis area.

The Federal Government had since deployed military troops to the state to restore peace and order after the latest crisis believed to be between Ombatse militia youths of Eggon extraction and Alago ethnic nationality, left many people dead, many others seriously injured and property worth several millions of naira destroyed.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been trading blames as to who was responsible for the spate of crises that had enveloped the state in the past two years.

While APC accused PDP of having a hand in the crises, the PDP, in the state, through its Chairman, Mr Yunana Iliya, particularly accused the state government of being behind the skirmishes.

The APC had not only accused a party chieftain and Minister of Information, who doubles as supervising Minister of Defence, of being behind the crisis but demanded his removal from the Defence Ministry.

The party said he was not only an Eggon man by tribe, but also would not be favourably disposed to giving neutral assessment of the crisis in the state.
But Iliya, in a statement, had not only exonerated Maku of complicity in the crisis but also blamed the APC government in Nasarawa State for the on-going violence in the state.

“The APC government in Nasarawa State is largely responsible for the on-going violence in the state,” Mr. Iliya said.

But reacting to Iliya’s support for Maku, some PDP chieftains in the state said their party’s chairman’s support for Mr Maku was hasty.

The party chiefs, Ibrahim Saleh and Kawu Dalhatu, accused the PDP chairman of not making a formal statement condemning the crisis.

Rather, they said he chose to travel to Abuja to make what they termed as “provocative comment.”

They said chairman of their party was being careful with his action so that they could again, win the support of majority of the people of the state and as a result, reclaim the state in the 2015 election.

Both chieftains of the party who did not only narrowly escape but saw their property at Asakyo, Lafia local government area during last crisis razed down by Ombatse members, expressed dismay with the party chairman’s remark.

Saleh said making statement in the media was not enough but for the chairman to come down to the affected area to assess the level of damage caused and sympathise with the people.

He challenged the chairman to state categorically when Maku ever invited elders of the state to advise them on the need to caution their children over becoming members of Ombatse.

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