By Adams Abonu in Lafia
National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Labaran Maku has said that Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura is orchestrating a campaign of calumny to implicate him as sponsor of a ‘new’ Ombatse militia in Nasarawa State.
Maku, who was governorship candidate of APGA in the last election in Nasarawa State spoke exclusively to THISDAY at APGA National Secretariat in Abuja on Friday alleging that he was being targeted because of his perceived political visibility in the state.
He alleged that Ombatse was the creation of Almakura’s campaign for power in 2011, adding that there was nothing like ombatse in the history of Nasarawa State before Governor Almakura’s rise to power.
“I have been a subject of a mischievous campaign by Governor Tanko Al-Makura to tarnish my image and to frame me up as sponsor of an alleged ‘New Ombatse militia in Nasarawa state. You have covered Nasarawa State and the crises that have engulfed the state in the past four to five years as a journalist. You are aware of the crises between Ombatse and Fulani mercenaries that were imported into the state for violence. I am also sure that THISDAY covered the destruction of so manycommunities in the state from Assakio to Tudun Adabu, Dedere, Gidan Gambo, Bassa, Rutu, Agbashi, Arikiya, ODABU, Fadama Bauna and several others that were destroyed. I am also aware that you covered the destruction of Agbashi town that was almost totally razed down.
“What Al-Makura is trying to do is to distract the public from his reign of violence and misrule in the state and to employ divide and rule tactics to plant his minions in Government House as 2019 approaches. The people of Nasarawa who are under the burden of his misrule have seen through these mischievous plans,” Maku said.
While alleging that Ombatse militia was the political tool Al-Makura used to assume power, Maku revealed that his public criticism against what he termed “reckless exploitation” of Nasarawa people was the reason for being targeted in the allegations.
He added that “the idea behind their mischievous fabrication is because suddenly, Maku has become the opposition leader in the state and their calculation is to target 2019. First, they want to silence me as the opposition leader calling attention to the misrule that is going on in Nasarawa State.
‘Secondly, they want to present me as sponsor of violence in their fear that I may recontest election for office of governor. They intend to blackmail me a sponsor of violence so that the various communities they are alleging that are billed to be attacked by the so called new ombatse would turn against me or any aspirant from the Eggon community in 2019.
“And let me remind you that the Eggon people voted Al-Makura into Government House in 2011 because of the pact they had with Senator Solomon Ewuga. The idea now is to scandalise me, scandalise the Eggon ethnic group ahead of 2019 so that they would have the chance to plant their surrogates whom they would easily control.”
He denied any involvement in any militia group in the state saying he has been the most consistent voice against violence in the state in the past five yarsof Almakura’s regime.
There has been allegation and counter-allegations of complicity between the Nasarawa State Government and Mr. Maku over the alleged emergence of a ‘New Ombatse’ militia in the state. The militia wrecked havoc on communities and security agents in 2013.