On Thursday, 19th September, 2013, Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC), issued a tendentious statement which tried to question the integrity of the Honourable Minister of Information and Acting Minister of Defence, Mr. Labaran Maku regarding the civil disturbances in Nasarawa State.
In the statement, Lai Mohammed attempted in vain to defend the APC government in Nasarawa State over the unending violence that has gripped Nasarawa State since they (APC) assumed leadership in the state two years ago.
Apart from the Ombatse violence with Alago youths at Obi and Assakio recently, other wars in Nasarawa State under the APC government of Governor Al-Makura include Tiv-Fulani clashes in Awe; Fulani-Migili and Eggon clashes in Duduguru, Agyaragu and Yelwa; Tiv-Fulani and Agatu war at Ekye Development Area of Doma Local Government; the Fulani-Eggon-Gwandara strife at Mburumburum, Iggah, Barkin Abdullahi and Kwandere (Governor Al-Makura’s hometown).
Other instances of civil strife are the Fulani-Eggon and Mada war at Bassa; and Fulani-Gwandara clashes at Angoro in Kokona Local Government Area. There are also the Fulani-Afo and Agatu clashes at Udege Development Area in Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state. Discerning Nigerians must wonder why under the APC Government, communities that had hitherto lived in peace are now at war everywhere in Nasarawa State.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State wishes to state unequivocally that the APC government in Nasarawa State is largely responsible for the ongoing violence in Nasarawa State.
For the enlightenment of Lai Mohammed, when the Information Minister Mr. Maku came out over one year ago campaigning against the emergence of “Ombatse” on radio, television, Churches, and Mosques all over Nasarawa State, Governor Al-Makura was hand-in-glove with Ombatse, even defending the group as a cultural association.
Mr. Maku’s campaign against violence was open and daring, considering the fact that he hails from the Eggon nationality.
Maku’s records in peace promotion in Nasarawa State date back to his days as the Commissioner for Information, Youth and Sports, and later as Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State.
In 2001, he played a critical role in helping the state government overcome the communal crisis that engulfed the Tiv community, Fulani and other ethnic groups in the state.
Since the eruption of violence in the last two years of APC government in Nasarawa State, Maku has been a strong voice visiting communities (Agyaragu and Assakio) to give them strong moral support.
It was no wonder therefore that our revered Royal Father and Chairman Nasarawa State Traditional Council, Emir of Lafia, Alhaji (Dr.) Isa Mustapha Agwai The First, singled out the Honourable Minister of Information for praise at the ongoing sitting of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry over the crisis in the state.
Most residents of Nasarawa State are aware of Mr. Maku’s effort in the last few days which led to quick intervention by the Federal Government in sending soldiers to quell the latest violence even before Governor Al-Makura could return from his usual sojourn abroad.
It took the intervention of Mr. Maku and some traditional rulers to deal with the latest violence as the Governor was as usual out of the country.
Maku as Minister along with Senator Walid Jibril had several months ago summoned all members of the National Assembly and key functionaries of Nasarawa State in Abuja twice to meetings sponsored by him to help the state government deal with the crisis, but the APC government failed to heed their counsel, which was passed on to Governor Al-Makura in writing.
We in Nasarawa State are fully aware of the APC origin of the ongoing crisis in our state, and we advise Lai Mohammed to steer clear as his latest attempt at propaganda on behalf of the APC government in Nasarawa State can’t exonerate the state government from complicity in the ongoing crises.
Even Ombatse in a well-advertised position in national dailies recently, confessed their role in bringing Al-Makura to power in Nasarawa State, and we know of how close the APC government was with Ombatse until the honeymoon ended suddenly.
Lai Mohammed’s futile and puerile attempt to transfer the blame for current violence in Nasarawa State from APC’s Governor Al-Makura to Honourable Minister of Information and Acting Minister of Defence shows clearly how desperate APC leaders are over Mr. Maku’s enviable records of service in Nasarawa State and his sterling performance since he became Minister over three years ago.
CHIEF YUNANA ILIYA
Chairman PDP, Nasarawa State