Indicted for False Evidence

Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Nasarawa State Governor

Two National Assembly members and a state legislator who tried to mislead the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Nasarawa State government to probe the Ombatse killings of federal security personnel in May last year, have been indicted and recommended for prosecution

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Mar. 24, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

THE Commission of Inquiry set up by the Nasarawa State government on Ombatse killings of May 7, 2013, has indicted some national and state legislators for giving false evidence on oath before it. Those indicted were Solomon Ewuga, senator representing Nasarawa north senatorial district, Haruna Kigbu, a member of the House of Representatives representing Lafia/Obi federal constituency and Nathaniel Mesa, a member of Nasarawa State House of Assembly, representing Lafia North constituency. The report also indicted the Eggon Cultural Development Association, ECDA, and the Eggon Youth Movement, EYM, as promoters of the militia group.

The commission said it discovered that Senator Ewuga and other notable Eggon elders are financiers and promoters of the Ombatse militia and recommended that they be prosecuted. “All persons on the stated list who appeared before the commission whether as summoned witnesses or memoranda witnesses and intentionally gave false evidence on oath before the commission should be prosecuted forthwith under Section 158(1) of the Penal Code Law (as applicable in Nasarawa State).

“Their false testimonies were calculated to misdirect the commission and prevent it from making proper findings on its terms of reference. The law qualifies such false evidence as an act to pervert the cause of justice. For the avoidance of doubt, the commission is particularly recommending the following persons for immediate prosecution under the section given the high social standing of the persons who are least expected to misdirect the cause of justice, Senator Solomon Sunday Akku Ewuga, Hon. Dr. Haruna Joseph Kigbu, Hon. Nathaniel Agyo Mesa,” the Commission said in its report.

The report of the commission stated that 74 security personnel, comprising 64 policemen and 10 personnel of the Department of the State Services were killed by the Ombatse militia group at Alakyo village on May 7, 2013. The report further stated that it was not any spiritual force that caused the death of the security officials as evidence revealed that the Ombatse militias used firearms, cudgels, cutlasses and other lethal weapons in killing and injuring the affected personnel who were on lawful duty at Alakyo.

The commission’s report further said that a combination of factors were responsible for the spread of communal violence in the state, some of which include ethnic rivalry to achieve political dominance; youth restiveness due to non-profitable engagement such as the high unemployment rate; manipulation of the youth by the political elite to achieve personal political objectives, and mutual ethnic suspicion and antagonism.

The document stated that the Ombatse group had been deeply involved in all communal clashes in the state and that there is a definite political dimension to Ombatse militancy. It also noted the Fulani herdsmen had also been involved in the crises that have engulfed the state.

The federal government was not, however, spared by the report. It said that the federal government’s lack of concern over the Alakyo killings even when its agents were the victims had not helped in the containment of violence in the state. “The federal government’s attitude has given room for tendentious interpretations, largely of a political nature.”

The commission also condemned the role played by the Eggon traditional council and its elders in the tacit support of the activities of the outlawed Ombatse group noting that the commission would have recommended the outright sanction of the council but, however,  strongly recommended  the formal admonition and reprimand of the Council and its elders in the interim, for their moral failure to call the Ombatse and such affiliated Eggon groups to order when they exceeded the bounds of reason.

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