The federal government has deployed troops to Nasarawa.
The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday, responded to the misgivings of the All Progressive Congress, APC, over the appointment of the Information Minister, Labaran Maku, as the acting Minister of Defence and his possible involvement in the current Nasarawa State violent crisis.
The National Publicity Secretary of APC, Lai Mohammed, had on Thursday issued an indicting statement questioning the integrity of Mr. Maku regarding the civil disturbances in the state. The party had also asked President Goodluck Jonathan to remove Mr. Maku as the acting Minister of Defence, an appointment which was added to his portfolio following the recent sack of nine ministers.
In a statement by the Nasarawa State PDP Chairman, Yunana Iliya, the party blamed the APC government in Nasarawa State for the on-going violence in the state.
“The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State wishes to state unequivocally that the APC government in Nasarawa State is largely responsible for the on-going violence in (the state),” Mr. Iliya said.
Defending Mr. Maku’s alleged involvement in the crisis, Mr. Iliya said that the Information Minister had been actively involved in an open and daring campaign- considering the fact that he is Eggon- through various avenues, including the media, against the emergence of the now dreaded Ombatse group.
“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 (Tanko) Al-Makura was hand-in-glove with Ombatse, even defending the group as a cultural association,” Mr. Iliya said.
He said that the Minister’s records in peace promotion in the state dated back to his days as the Commissioner for Information, Youth and Sports, and later as Deputy Governor of the State.
“In 2001, he played a critical role in helping the state government overcome the communal crisis that engulfed the Tiv, Fulani and other ethnic groups in the state. Maku has been a strong voice visiting communities (Agyaragu and Assakio) to give them strong moral support. It was no wonder 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 inthe state,” the state PDP chairman said.
Mr. Iliya said most residents of the state were aware of Mr. Maku’s part in the quick intervention by the Federal Government following the latest spate of violence. The federal government had deployed troops to the state on Wednesday to quell violent clashes between Eggon and Alago youths.
“It took the intervention of Mr. Maku and some traditional rulers to deal with the latest violence as the Governor (Al-Makura) was as usual out of the country,” Mr. Iliya said.
He advised Mr. Mohammed that his latest attempt at propaganda on behalf of the state’s APC government could not exonerate it from complicity in the ongoing crises.
Mr. Iliya pointed out that aside from the Ombatse violence with Alago youths at Obi and Assakio recently, other wars in Nasarawa State under the APC government 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 (Mr. Al-Makura’s hometown).
He listed other clashes as strife between Fulani-Eggon and Mada at Bassa; and Fulani-Gwandara clashes at Angoro in Kokona Local Government Area, the Fulani-Afo and Agatu clashes at Udege Development Area in Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.
He enjoined discerning Nigerians to question why communities in the state that had lived in peace were now at war under the APC Government.
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