How Ombatse ‘Cult’ Group Killed Scores Of Security Agents In Nasarawa-PREMIUM TIMES

Relatives of dead police officers
By Sani Tukur

Security leaders in Abuja were late Thursday scratching their heads, trying to make sense of how a militia group in Nasarawa State, the Ombatse, that built a fierce loyalty through blood oaths, killed over 55 police officers and 10 operatives of the Directorate of State Security.

Part of the puzzle, knowledgeable sources told PREMIUM TIMES, was how the security officers were lured into a cruel ambush, dispossessed of their weapons, brutally murdered, and then burnt into cold ash.

“It is the most cold blooded act I have witnessed against the law enforcement community in my three decades in the force” a senior police officer in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa State, told PREMIUM TIMES struggling to conceal bitter groans.

Other puzzles include who authorized the ill-fated operation in the first place, both at the police end, and at the Directorate of State Security end, which cost both institutions of the team leaders of the operation.

Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mbah, describing the event as an act of impunity in Abuja on Thursday, adds that “enough is enough,’’ promising also that the police will track down the killers, which robbed the institution of its operational chief in the state, Mohammed Momoh, an Assistant Commissioner of police who hails from Kogi State.

Force headquarters also repudiated earlier claims Thursday that the Nasarawa State Police Commissioner, Abayomi Akeremale, due for retirement at the end of the month, had been placed on suspension, and that the operational coordination of the crisis had been handed over to a deputy Inspector General of police from Abuja.

The DSS, on its part, would not confirm its casualty to PREMIUM TIMES; merely saying it had deployed a search and rescue team to determine fatalities of its operatives on the assignment.

However, sources in Lafia disclosed that the Nasarawa state director of the Service has been recalled to Abuja and placed under “some preliminary punitive sanction while full investigations is apace,” evidence, according to the sources, that he might have over-reached his powers in ordering such a high level operation without the mandatory clearance and approval from Abuja.

Eight operatives and two drivers of the agency were reportedly killed in the operation, including the team leader, a mid career officer, thought to have been “obviously saddled with an assignment beyond his pay grade.”

PREMIUM TIMES also gathered that the local army unit declined to join on the Tuesday mission citing the need for higher authorization. Police and security sources in Lafia have so far been mute on civilian casualties, but the broader narrative of the Nasarawa tragedy, late Tuesday, pointed more on the role of the Nasarawa state administration, its desire to calm rising political temperature in the state, the fear that the Eggon militias bore the marks of a nascent terror movement, and the pressure it put on the security forces to initiate the Tuesday raid.

Security sources said the state administration triggered the initial petition to the DSS and the police on the presumed nefarious role of the militia.

Based on the security report from the DSS, PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the police proceeded to build an armada of 13-truck load of men late Tuesday on a mission to Asakio village to disrupt a planned oath ceremony of the group, destroy the shrine, which houses the shrine of Ombatse cult, a deity of the Eggon people, and to arrest its spiritual leader.

Police sources and officials in the state administration, in Lafia, who sought anonymity told PREMIUM TIMES that just ten kilometers out of Lafia, what set out as a clandestine operation came upon an ambush, well laid out by the Eggon attackers, who took on the security convoy ultimately turning their mission into a monstrous killing field.

“This was planned as a clandestine operation for which resources in men and materials were mobilized from different units of the Lafia command, and for which almost none of the men in the convoy knew their destination. Now how it all ended so terribly, that the cultists would anticipate and wreck this kind of attack on security people speak volumes of either infiltration or mission betrayal” a distraught police officer told PREMIUM TIMES in Lafia.
 

Mission of the police

Yet the Eggon crisis that led to this tragedy was not a new phenomenon. The militia forces attacked Agyaragu community in December last year, which led to the death of ten persons of Koro extraction including a traditional ruler.

That attack led to the banning of the group by the government of Nassarawa State in an official gazette. Also last year, soldiers reportedly stormed the shrine in the group’s ancestral home in Nassarawa-Eggon local government and dispersed them, forcing the cult’s leader and some of his members to migrate to Asakio.
But while at Asakio, the group soon began having difficult relationship with the dominant Arago tribe leading to skirmishes and perennial loss of lives.

Some residents of Lafia who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES painted the picture of a powerful group that has members in many establishments in the state, and which built a tight loyal core through an oath administered on members at the Ombatse shrine, called “the Mbase.” The oath, observers of the group claimed, was always the prism through which members sought to read presumed injustice in political power, and sought to restructure the political and power landscape in Nasarawa State.

Persons who took the Ombatse oath, and swore to its loyalty pledge, were therefore assured of presumed “invisibility to bullets,” PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

Tuesday’s raid was an attempt by the state government, using the security agencies to break the nerve of the group.

According to Eggon News, a local newspaper, the Ombatse, which means ‘time has come,’ was founded by six people. They include Alaku Ehe, Zabura Musa Akwanshiki, Shuaibu Alkali, Hassan Musa Zico Kigbu, Iliyasu Hassan Gyabo and Abdullahi Usman.

Mr. Zico was quoted in a chat with Eggon News as saying the group was born from a revelation through a dream where their ancestors directed them to “rise up and cleanse the land of societal ills such as adultery, fornication, drunkenness, theft, and killings.”

Sources in Lafia informed PREMIUM TIMES that politics may be behind the oath of secrecy, initiation and violence by the group. They said the Eggon people are primarily based in Nassarawa-Eggon and Akwanga Local Governments, but added that “they are spread in almost all parts of the state”.
They also said despite their numbers and perceived influence, the Eggon have not been able to produce the governor.

“The Ombatse therefore, pledged that come 2015 they will not be kingmakers, but must produce the king themselves.” said Salisu, a resident of Lafia.
Throwing more light, Mr. Salisu said the group felt that they were unable to produce the governor because they are not united and are always fighting each other, hence, he said, “I am not surprised they are taking an oath this time around.”

To buttress his point Mr. Salisu said “Look at Labaran Maku (Information Minister) and (Solomon) Ewuga (a senator), they are both Eggons, very influential, but hardly see eye to eye politically.”
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how there u say dat Maku is

how there u say dat Maku is part of d cult group, for ur information he is a God fearing man

Northern elements!

Very terrible the loss of lives and all. If this had happened in Plateau state now, all the Northern governors will be calling for the removal of Jang! why haven't the said anything ?? Na their brother dey there ba?

GOVERNOR WHAT HAVE DONE

THE GOVERNOR OF THAT STATE SHOULD BE HOLD RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT LOST OF LIFE.

IS FORCE THE LAST THING IN DEMOCRACY?

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO THE CHIEFS OF THIS PEOPLE TO CALL THEIR PEOPLE TO ORDER?

HAVE U EVER ADDRESS THIS MATTER ON A TV STATION?
BUT IF IT WHERE CAMPAIGN YOU WILL EVEN GO TO THEIR VILLAGE AND DO THAT VERY WELL.

JUST IMAGINE THE LIFE OF INNOCENT POLICE THAT YOU WASTED THEIR BLOOD IS ON YOUR HEAD.

GO TO KOGI STATE ASK GOVERNOR IF HE HAS EVER SEND POLICE TO SUCH CULT IN HIS STATE.

OR DO YOU THINK IS ONLY YOUR STATE THAT HAVE CULT.

THE ONE IN AKWAIBOM STATE STRONGER THAN THAT ONE HAVE U SEEN ANY POLICE KILLED IN THAT STATE BEFORE.

secular

Nigeria is a secular state the last time i checked. I will never support killing in any form, what did the people to warrant using trucks loaded with armed police men. If are police had acted in a descent manners, it would not have come to this. it was a civil issue, why the load of arms. Maybe like we know them to be they started shooting even b4 they got there, as such those people acted at of shock and self defense.

Why block roads.

Why are the police wives in Akwanga bocking the highway and preventing innocent commuters from going about their lawful business? If they are so strong, I think they should leave the highway and go and face the Ombatse that killed their husbands.

naija d learn work...

Its disheartening absolutely in any organised society! So our dear country, NIGERIA has turned to a platform for lawlessness;on the part of the citizenry & our dear security institutions... I just got violated by men of the BENUE SARS unjustly! There's nothing I can do! Its high time we've to identify our prime enemies! Our dear cops must embrace the citizens & shower us with sincere concern for efficiency!! Else, (cops) they're our common enemy! Abeg make police upgrade I take GOD beg una...NIGERIA 1st!!

Hmn

Hmn another one again.

t s disheartening

This s outrageous, t s saddening, ds must stop. at ds age, t s barbaric, t should not be swept under d carpet like others.ao many homes has been thrown into mourning now, when are we going to put an end to ds ugly drive towards anarchy n turbulent nations, 2015 may not keep us together again. we need to watch-out.

nasarawa cult

i wish i could have an alternative country to call mine. Cry, the beloved country, my heart bleeds for a country once called the giant of a whole continent. How are the mighty falling.

police killing

The Nassarawa state governor and the state commissioner of police should be held responsible for the killing of these security personnel in the state.what security measure have they take before send hundreds of security personnel to go after a poor man who is doing his best to prevent crime and other anti social verses in their fatherland,it very shameful for the commissioner of police to cover the truth and deceive Nigerian that these group are cult and they are torturing,forcing people both in christian and muslems to join the groups,Haba oga commissioner remember on the last day you will give account of yourself God,why do you allow a mere civilian to used you for his personal gain while million of people will suffer because of your statement,one thing is certain,and that is, you and the state governor will certainly paid for the evils done to this innocent people.

misplaced write-up

U must be a cutlass, gun and grenade carrying potential terrorist yourself, where is ur right sense oh you foolish writer?

State Open Service(SOS not SSS)

You are so on point, our security can't keep their mouth shut, always bragging to people about operations that are meant to be clandestine, throwing out unsolicited info at every opportunity. Nonsense. May the souls of the departed RIP.

GEJ, Why this blood blood every day

In the days of our fathers, when strange things happen they consult the gods for solution, today we are the Oracle, let our leaders check them self, You can not sever two masters. First they should fight corruption or legalize it, Stop marginalizing some for others. Look at nigeria today a militant dat is not schooled is counting millions in Bayasa while Engineer in Bayasa is looking for Job. To get contract in NDDC you must have carried arms, and we are worried at the rate of violence? every youth now in this country want to be warrior, for government to recognize them. It is a sham that our leaders pay criminals, Some people said they are freedom fighters and are fighting for the Niger Delta region, today they are big time contractors while the region they claim to be fighting for is highly impoverish. Look at Rivers State a Governor that is working is now to go for political reasons the interest of the people is nothing to political interest..

Ombatse-police encounter is a repeat of B/Haram, GEJ hmm!!!

GEJ should learn from the mistake on the beginning of BH-police/military attack that lead to where the nation is today on northern insecurity. Eggon people and Ombatse, is being there for as long as their history is. Early missionary christian conversion did not work on them, even the so call converts amongst Eggon, will always go back to their traditional worship, as the other major Nigerian tribes. GEJ has to be tactical with Ombatse, so there will be no ripple effect as B/Haram.God save Nigeria, amin.

Respect Nigeria and its President

Idiot, Morons, and Otuoke Clown are not words to be used in public by a schooled person.. haer your self out, you are only talking like a trouble maker. insulting the president of Nigeria is like insulting your father, be wise, let our criticism be constructive and mature. are you saying you are happy with the death of the 10 NYSC members, it is careless talk like you posted now that caused it...

Were the police officers charmed? Did they go empty handed?

How can a group of untrained criminals disarm trained officers of a police force without any gun fight? Maybe I'm not understanding this story well, but how do our police enter danger zones such that the all of them become killed, with very minimal casualty on the side of the criminals? Do they go empty handed or with just batons? As criminality increases in the country due to corruption which has deprived the citizens, it behooves the authorities to place emphasize on on-going training sessions and drills. The police should hold joint training sessions with all arms of the military on a regular basis. And the drills should mimic real-life crime situations as much as possible, and be continuous, not a 1-day or a few days activity. This is how capacity is built, and it's high time we become competent in this country.

Ombatse cult

Nigeria is finished!

War war war

Soon everyone will be up in arms fighting the authorities so as to get attention and amnesty.
This is the new politik in nigeria

"scratching their heads" ke? Blame it on corruption in the NPF

It's easy to deduce that the police operation was sabotaged because the thugs successfully laid deadly ambush that thwarted their arrest. Security leaders should be scratching each other's head to see which one is leaking information. There is certainly a Judas among them. Those cultists expectedly had "scouts" along roads leading to their Shrine who obviously phoned their comrades upon sighting the "convoy" of police vehicles heading towards their enclave. Shikena! Not rocket science, just street wisdom. But, NPF still have to explain how come they lost so many men against people wielding machetes. Were they hypnotized?

Since security agents know the cult's founders and base, proper and clinical operation should be undertaken to bring the thugs to book (within the Law) before they ripple out to become BH copy-cat, with demands for amnesty. Lebaran Maku and Sen. Solomon Ewuga should be sent to the Shrine to dismantle their juju or harness it for the war against BH.

Nassarawa killings

How are we sure labaran make is not a member of the cult. He should be thoroghly investigated.

Al makura...Its an alert on you

How because of greed you have caused the dead of so many souls. Government House Lafia is not your fathers property and by the grace of God no power under the sun or in the sea can help you. What is your business with peaceful Eggon people?

RE: EGGON PEOPLE OF NASARAWA VICTIMS OF H-FULANI RAIDERS

We have a lot of uncultured, ignorant, uncouth,xenophobic and mouthy Nigerians whose comment on issues is mischievous and divisive. I am at a lost as to how the recent massacre of security men in Nasarawa state by the Ombatse blood thirsty cult has to do with the Hausa- Fulani. Like us or hate us, the undeniable fact is that the Hausa-Fulani stock is a power to reckon with in Nigeria. If u are not happy with us, eliminate us if u can,STUPID AND FILTHY COMMENTATOR!!!

ombatse or party thugs arms with tax payers money

it a common phenomena across the country for political parties and politicians to keep this kind of arm thug for the purpose of winning election sorry rigging themselves to power. they enjoy protection from security forces and operate at will, it is rather unfortunate this group turn it gun against the hand that feed it. probably they are not in control in the state.

PDP And Fight for 2015

From the concluding paragraphs you can see that this is all a fight for 2015 elections by rival PDP factions. Its a 3 way dod fight between Information Minister, Labaran Maku versus Senator Ewuga versus the incumbent State Governor.

Stupid Corrupt Police: Like Boko Haram , like Mbatse

This was the same way Modibo SHeriff, Borno state former gov used the police to brutalise the Boko Haram sect in Borno and the whole thing boomeranged.

The idiotic gov in Nassarawa is doing same now and before you know it this Mbatse sect will become violent and Dumbo Jo's foolish followers would keep hallucinating about some people who claimed they would make the country ungovernable for their Otuoke Clown !
Fools; if you buy a car and your friend is envious of you, that friend is automatically guilty if that car is eventually stolen or you got into an accident with it ! MORONS !

The minister and Senator are

The minister and Senator are said to be EGGON, meaning they come from that tribe. It does not mean they belong to the cult! Please get your facts right and stop spreading falsehood!

amnesty for amboste freedom fighters

Yes, GEJ should set up a committee to grand Ombaste community amnesty else he is marginalizing the ombaste people. He gave his Niger-Delta amnesty who grounded Nigerian economy to a halt. He is in the process of giving boko haram amnesty who killed over 700 uniform officers and over 3500 civilians. Why the hell cant he give ombaste community amnesty for killing just about 100 police.
If Niger-Delta and Boko Haram deserve amnesty, then ombaste too deserve it.

amnesty for amboste freedom fighters

Yes, GEJ should set up a committee to grand Ombaste community amnesty else he is marginalizing the ombaste people. He gave his Niger-Delta amnesty who grounded Nigerian economy to a halt. He is in the process of giving boko haram amnesty who killed over 700 uniform officers and over 3500 civilians. Why the hell cant he give ombaste community amnesty for killing just about 100 police.
If Niger-Delta and Boko Haram deserve amnesty, then ombaste too deserve it.

we have the most crude

we have the most crude methods of approaching issues in the world. why on earth would our security agencies make their operations public. is it because they have always undermined the power of their opponents. the army, police and all other security outfits in Nigeria are never secured when it comes to conducting operations because the arrangements to do so are always broadcasted by their basket-mouth superiors or strategists at joints, clubs and bars, so many days, weeks or even months before they are conducted. may the souls of the innocent departed rest in peace.

Verily verily I say un2u, Nigeria is nt a country bt a continent

Hear the police command lament how information got to the Bokostani Republic county, ...“This was planned as a clandestine operation for which resources in men and materials were mobilized from different units of the Lafia command, and for which almost none of the men in the convoy knew their destination. Now how it all ended so terribly, that the cultists would anticipate and wreck this kind of attack on security people speak volumes of either infiltration or mission betrayal” ...Why should the police wonder how information got to the sect members? Did Great Jona not tell the whole universe that boko haram are in every unit of his government including the armed forces? Nonsense. The police must be stupid to wonder how info got to the sect. Pure stupidity. Is this not sufficient reason for those fools who believe in one Nigeria to have a rethink? Verily verily I say unto you, Nigeria is not a country but a continent. SS&SE break away NOW!

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