Eggon Nation at war with Gov Al-Makura
By Ohia Israel
The Eggon Nation has come out to indict Governor Al-Makura, the Nasarawa State Governor, of sponsoring the insurgence against the Eggon people. In a joint world Press Conference held in Abuja on the 24th of November by the Eggon Cultural and Development Association, Abuja Branch and also the Eggon Youth Movement also Abuja Branch said it condemned in its totality, the Blood Bath that is taking place in Nasarawa South and Nasarawa North Senatorial Zones, comprising Lafia, Obi, Keana, Awe, Nasarawa Eggon and some parts of Wamba LGAs, primarily targeted at the Eggon Nation of Nasarawa State.
Giving the prelude to the attacks, it said that; “In 2013, the umbrella organisations of Eggon people i.e Eggon Cultural and Development Association (National), ECDA Women Wing and Eggon Youth Movement (National) issued a press release that there was a conspiracy on the part of the Nasarawa State Government led by Governor Alhaji Umar Tanko Al-Makura, when mercenaries were recruited to attack mainly Eggon farmers’ settlements. They also listed over 2,000 houses that were destroyed and over 230 Eggon people who were killed while about 100,000 were displaced at that time.”
Speaking further, the conference noted that; “It may interest the world to know that such callous and wanton destruction took place without the state governor, Alh. Umar Tanko Al-Makura issuing any press statements. The only time the world’s attention was drawn to Nasarawa State was when the Governor (Al-Makura) organised some police officers, SSS, along with mercenaries in official force uniforms to go and arrest the spiritual leader of a traditional religious group. The mission failed.
It should be noted that this group of insurgents being termed Fulanis are actually not the Fulanis that have lived and co-existed with the Eggons for decades. The Fulanis led by the Miyetti-Allah in the state concluded and signed a peace pact with the Eggon Nation early 2014 only for a fresh attack to ensue. One begins to wonder whether the Governor is employing the divide and rule strategy to achieve his political ambition.”
Indicting the Nasarawa State Government, the Eggon people indicting the Nasarawa State Government under the leadership of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura said; “The Nasarawa State Government led by Governor Al-Makura has always looked the other way when situations that could lead to volatility arise, especially if he imagines that the Eggons would be at a disadvantage. A good example was the incidence where the Chief of Asakyio imposed a produce tax on the Eggons living in Asakyio. All efforts by the Eggon people to get the Nasarawa State Government intervene failed until that situation deteriorated to where the Alagos and the Eggons of Asakyio attacked each other. Presently, a town known as Asakyio, a very large national market for Agricultural produce has been deserted by both the Alagos and the Eggons. Nasarawa Assembly through her spokesman said that the Governor, Alh. Umar Tanko Al-Makura was behind the crisis in the state.”
According to the Assembly spokesman, “The Governor uses the state resources to import mercenaries into the state for an agenda best known to him”. He further added; “This renewed crisis is happening barely three days after Governor Al-Makura held a meeting with Fulani mercenaries, shared money to them and appointed one of them to advise him on how to kill the Eggon people of Nasarawa State and destroy their properties.”
Consequently, a captured mercenary Mal Abdullahi Buidi at Gidan Gambo, made startling revelations about their sponsors to the media, and was handed over to the Force CID, Nasarawa State Police Command sometime in September, 2014. The revelation out-rightly fingered the Nasarawa State Government as their sponsor but nothing came out from this information.
It is also on record that when the Governor of Benue State revealed that Nasarawa State is the sanctuary of terrorists that were attacking his state, coupled with the fact that the Federal troops identified and attacked the mercenaries’ base at Keana, the Benue attacks ceased. Interestingly, Al-Makura appeared on the News telling the world of the Human Rights abuses by the Nigerian Military (?) He was quick to visit and commiserate with the Fulanis living around the area.”
The conference also accused Al-Makura of Genocide On The Eggons Of Nasarawa State; “What Al-Makura Government does is to misrepresent facts of the crisis in the state to the general public; set up a pre-arranged kangaroo Commission of enquiry and demonises the Eggon Nation as the aggressors while unleashing an arsenal of gruesome war machine by hired thugs and paid killers. Sightings have been made of strange persons arriving in trailers and even petrol tankers to Lafia town at night. Strange mercenaries are camped at Obi; Wamba, Keana wielding Kalashnikovs (AK 47s) and other sophisticated machine guns. The NigeriaPolice Force has no capacity to confront such strange mercenaries. It baffles one that no mention is being made of the mercenaries but when the youths of Eggon extraction rise to defend themselves against such insurgents and are able to contain them, they (Eggons) are called names as Eggon Militia or Ombatse Militia.”
According to them “The following communities have suffered sustained attacks by the mercenaries: Alingani, Angwan Embugu, Galo, Rafin Pa, Arikya Agbu, Agbulagu, Wuji Arikya, Gidan Mai Akuya, Angwan Agyo, Kampany, Kantsakuwa, Wayo, Assakio, Agbulagu Kadaura, Agbulagu Angwan Dogo, Shimel, Angwan Usman Azo, Angwan Kawo, Angwan Baba Anza, Angwan Agbadu Kotso, Angwan Amidu, Angwan Sule, Angwan Mamman, Tudun Adabu, Abagu, Lega Obi, Akpeka, Ome, Ekpusoge, Daddere, Atabula, Gidan Gambo, Sabon Gida, Ashagwa, Madugwa. This list excludes many smaller villages and hamlets.
Recently and specifically on the 16th November 2014, Alawuza and Shabubu in Doma LGA were attacked. Two villages, Sako and Agyabana were razed down. Agricultural products ready for harvest are cut down with machetes and sprayed with poisonous chemicals.
Painfully, some of the communities have been attacked more than once, probably to ensure total and irreparable damages. These include: Arikya, Agbulagu Kadaura, Agbulagu Angwan Dogo, Ome, Kampany, Ashangwa. A visit to Arikya, Kampani, Agbulagbu and Fadama-Bauna will reveal a story of well-planned and executed destruction that will take years and billions of Naira to reconstruct and rehabilitate people.
In Lafia town, houses belonging to prominent Eggon people have been burnt down (example is the house of the National President of Eggon Youth Movement) and Dr. Dominic Bako the Head of service of Nasarawa State the Eggon man that was blocked and shot a day after the Governor had a peace (WAR) rally to mark his birthday. Eggon Youths are being picked at random and locked up on some trumped up charges. The names of about 15 Nigeria Police Officers of Eggon extraction were forwarded from the Commissioner of Police, Nasarawa State to the Inspector General of Police in 2013 and they were summarily dismissed without recourse to any specific acts of wrong doings whatsoever. These officers are still in detention.”
The Eggon people also lamented that there has been loss of human lives during those carnage, as it added; “The areas covering Fadaman-Bauna North and South, Asakyio, Arikya, Arugbadu Gona, Ugah and a host of other communities where the Eggons (predominantly farmers) lived for over a hundred years and over half a million people of Eggon extraction have been displaced from their towns, villages, hamlets and farms since the crisis started. This may interest you to know that these communities feed the metropolis of Lafia and Nigeria at large. Asakyio a very large market patronised by traders from Kano, Port Harcourt, Warri, Onitsha, Benin and Lagos to buy grains, yams, goats, sheep and etc is now a ghost town. All that Governor Al-makura would say to the world is that “NASARAWA STATE IS AT PEACE” but the truth is that he is at “WAR”.
As we speak, these displaced persons are seeking refuge at Nasarawa Eggon town and environs, Akwanga LGA and Benue State with no assistance whatsoever getting to them. The Governor of Nasarawa State does not owe any body apology as long as he achieves his sole aim of retaining power at all cost by displacing the local population that voted him into power because they have since lost faith in him as one who would take the state to its enviable height. It is worthy of note that the State Governor does not visit crisis ravaged settlements belonging to the Eggons and does not also sympathises with them.”
They also lamented of material, economy and intellectual loss as; “The areas being attacked by the insurgents are the most productive agriculturally in Nasarawa State. Large stocks of Agricultural produce in millions of bags like corn, melon and groundnuts have either been looted or burnt/destroyed with chemicals. Others like yams and cassava tubers and livestock have been looted as well. People’s motor cycles and vehicles; houses with valuables have been utterly destroyed. The most unfortunate thing is that the Law enforcement Agents who should stop these looters watch them helplessly.
All schools (Primary, Junior and Senior Secondary schools) in these affected areas have been closed down. An area covering 5 Local Government Areas have been deserted with no government presence, comprising cottage hospitals, and police outposts etc. Towns, villages and hamlets/settlements that their inhabitants took centuries to build suddenly disappeared overnight.”
The Eggon nation said that the Al-Makura led Government, having lost grip of the state, has resorted to terror, intimidation and an atmosphere of fear to suppress those whom he perceives would not vote for him in the forthcoming election.
By displacing the people, they (the affected displaced persons) will not be able to obtain their permanent voter cards that will soon be distributed by the INEC. It is an outright dis-enfranchisement. The plan is to sustain the attacks and terror on the people such that the people do not return to their homes before the general elections early next year, 2015.
They conference also sent a clarion call on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene as it hinted that; “Having clearly highlighted reasons behind these sustained attacks and the implication of this action; it becomes very necessary to urge the Federal Government and the International Community to intervene urgently so that the genocide does not degenerate more than it is at present. The State Government has clearly demonstrated that it is behind the crisis hence it will not serve its interest to request for deployment of troops to clear the camps of the mercenaries.
We therefore call on President Goodluck Jonathan, who is not only the Chief Security Officer of the country but the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces to urgently order the deployment of troops to stop these mercenaries who are camped at Wamba, Awe and Obi Local Government Areas and the governor’s home town Kwandere of the State from raining more havoc on innocent Nigerians.”
However, it said that the way forward is that; “There can be no development without peace. What are the insurgents looking for? What do they have at stake at the areas being attacked? The body language of Governor Al-Makura seems to say that he is enjoying all that is happening around the state.
The ethnic groups that are pitched against each other must come together to fight their common enemy the mercenaries. Note that these communities have lived together for more than a century without any fracas.
The Nasarawa State Governor must not be allowed to scheme on a divide and rule tactics and creation suspicion and mutual distrust to unleash mayhem at each other for his selfish reasons.
As INEC prepares to distribute permanent voter cards (PVCs), we call on INEC to ensure that the displaced persons are properly organised and issued their PVCs to avoid being disenfranchised.
An independent arbiter should be constituted by the Federal Government to bring back communities together as Al-Makura has lost the trust and confidence of the people that have voted and surrendered their lives to him.”