Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State on Friday denied any links with the Ombatse group that allegedly killed security operatives at Alakyo village on May 7.
Al-Makura made this disclosure when he testified before the commission of inquiry on the killing of security operatives and ensuing crises in the state.
He said that he had no knowledge of the existence of the group prior to an incident at Nasarawa Eggon in November 2012.
The governor said that there was a protest in November 2012 at Nasarawa-Eggon by some youths who obstructed traffic and held commuters for almost six hours.
He said the youth alleged that the military obstructed their prayer session at Alogani village, adding that he went to the scene and invited them to his residence in Lafia.
He said that it was in his Lafia residence that the name “Ombatse” was first mentioned to him.
The governor, led in evidence by commission’s counsel, Funsho Lawal, denied being the financier of the group as alleged by Ombatse’s lawyer, Zamani Allumaga.
Allumaga had earlier testified before the commission that the governor gave two leaders of Ombatse and Eggon Community Development Association N1 million each when they visited him November 2012
Al-Makura admitted giving out some monies, but explained that he gave N1 million to the youths he invited to his residence for their transportation and refreshment and not N2 million as alleged.
On the allegation that some members of his cabinet sabotaged the ill-fated security operation at Alakyo on May 7, he said there was no evidence that government officials were involved, noting, however, that “sabotage cannot be completely ruled out.”
Al-Makura also dismissed as untrue the allegation that government failed to heed the warning of Eggon elders through retired Justice Ahmed Ubangeri, a former Chief Justice of the state.
The warning was that government should postpone the ill-fated operation in order to allow elders to meet with Ombatse priest, Baba Alakyo on May 9, over activities of the group.
The governor explained that the deputy governor informed him of the decision of the Eggon elders at about 6p.m on May 7, while he was in Jos.
He said when the information got to him, the security operatives were already on their way to Alakyo.
Al-Makura said that before he could act on the information, another call came from the deputy governor about 20 minutes later telling him that the security operatives were attacked