The Nasarawa Governor stated this on Friday.
The Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, has confirmed PREMIUM TIMES report that there was a security leak that enabled members of a sect to ambush and kill scores of security officials in the state.
Mr. Al-Makura spoke on Friday when he received a delegation from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), who came to help in the search and rescue effort for victims.
Reliable security sources told PREMIUM TIMES that only few public officials and heads of security agencies where aware that a large security team, later confirmed by the Nasarawa Police Commissioner as 93 officials, was being sent to dislodge members of the Ombatse sect from a planned oath ceremony in Asakio Village.
A source said the secrecy of the mission was so high that most of the officers were not aware of the details as they embarked on the exercise.
Mr. Al-Makura justified the reason the state government worked with security operatives to dislodge the sect members.
“If we leave the group to continue infringing on people’s rights by forcing them to take concoction in order to initiate them into their fold, it would degenerate into a religious crisis,” he said.
“That is the justification for the action we took, unfortunately, we were betrayed by saboteurs,” the governor said.
The governor said the ambush on policemen was an act of sabotage by the group, which might have infiltrated the ranks of security operatives in the state.
He explained that the state had tried to check the excesses of the group in the past. He said prior to the operation, the government made efforts to invite the leader of the group, “but he refused to honour the invitation to explain some of the activities of the sect.”
He said the security agencies had been on the trail of the leader for months and had to take drastic action in order to check the excesses of the group.
Mr. Al-Makura also confirmed the police statement that the official death toll had risen to 43. The Nasarawa Police Commissioner had also said on Friday afternoon that 28 police officers were found alive among the 93 that went for the operation.
The governor said the killing was unacceptable and that the government would do all within its power to bring the perpetrators to justice. He commended the emergency agency for its prompt response and assured it of adequate support in the discharge of its duties.
Earlier, Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, Director of Search and Rescue of NEMA expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased and the state government.
Mr. Otegbade said the team was in the state to assess the situation and report back for proper intervention as well as to provide immediate relief to families of the victims
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