Some widows and children of the 74 security operatives killed at Alakyo, outside Lafia in Nasarawa State, last year, were joined by several students and other youths in protest over what they called federal government’s passive attitude towards the May 7, 2013 incident.
The widows, led by the leader of the network of widows of slain police officers and men who died in the incident, accused the federal government of insensitivity to their plight, just as they wondered why the authorities have treated their late husbands like bandits killed in an illegal operation.
“They have not given our husbands justice. Now, they won’t even pay their entitlements. No welfare!” screamed one of the widows during the protest march in Akwanga, where most of the policemen in the ill-fated operation were deployed from.
Akwanga is the base of the mobile police Squadron 38, also known as Tiger Squadron.
The security operatives were killed during an ambush on them by members of Ombatse, a tribal group of Eggon people of Nasarawa State, the police and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) had told a panel of inquiry. But the Eggon group has since denied involvement in the killings, saying their god did it to save them from persecution.
The Akwanga protest, which was led by Afiniki Daniel, leader of the network of widows of slain security operatives, lasted for several hours. It began about 9am and ended at 12pm.
The protest, which also attracted members of the National Youth Assembly of Nigeria (NYAN), students and other concerned youths who carried placards, took the protesters on a procession through major roads and streets of the metropolis, including Lafia, Jos, and Keffi roads.
The protesters chanted anti-establishment slogans, demanding answers on why the federal government and security agencies have forgotten the slain security operatives and their surviving widows and children, only a year after.
The leader of the widows said their late husbands’ entitlements had not been paid, one year after the incident, a development that has sparked concerns from them and other Nigerians.
“If they have forgotten our husbands, we cannot forget them as well. God knows what we have been going through after our husbands were killed last year,” Mrs Afiniki, widow of a slain police sergeant said. She said they have been finding it very difficult to pay their children’s school fees. She lamented that most of their children have been forced to drop out of school.
Comrade Kassim Moh’d Kassim, who spoke on behalf of the students and youth groups in solidarity with the widows, said it was out of “sheer inertia” that the federal government and other concerned authorities have turned a blind eye on the Alakyo incident.
“At least, let them pay the entitlements of the deceased officers and men of the security agencies. Let their families not miss them that much,” Comrade Kassim said.
He said the pitiable plight of the widows and their children would discourage other officers and men of various security agencies from putting put their best to the job, knowing that the same fate awaits their families should they die in active service. He advocated a special scholarship for children of the slain security operatives.