From Uche Nnorom Makurdi
Benue State Security Council has increased from N10 million to N50 million the reward for anyone who volunteers information that will lead to the arrest of a notorious criminal Mr. Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as Gana.
This was announced at the end of the State Security Council meeting by the State Commissioner of Information Lawrence Onoja Jr.
This is even as there was palpable tension in Gboko at the weekend following the deployment of soldiers, believed to have been sent by the Army Headquarters.
The troops who arrived the town around 8 am Thursday, patrolled the area brandishing their weapons, a situations that sent fear into residents, who thought they may have come with ulterior motive.
A resident from Gboko who pleaded anonymity told Peoplesdaily that when the soldiers arrived Gboko, rumours started filtering round the town that they were sent and directed to “kill and burn houses.”
According to him, the incident sent fears into residents who started scampering for safety creating confusion in the town.
But Assistant Director Army Public Relations,707 Special Forces Brigade covering 36 states of federation with Headquarters in Benue, Major Olabisi Olalekan Ayeni, said the Army were sent to the area to maintain peace and order.
“We are aware of the incident. It is true that the Army has been sent to Gboko, but they are there to maintain peace and not to kill or burn houses.
”What happened is that when they got there, they went round patrolling with about seven Hilux vehicles to register their presence and to scare away criminals and law breakers who will want to cause disturbance and havoc in the area.
”The Army is for all Nigerians and it is against our ethics and against the profession to just kill people or burn houses,” he said.
Meanwhile, briefing newsmen after the Security Council meeting, held yesterday at the Benue People’s House Makurdi, commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Lawrence Onoja, said the council directed security to intensify their search until Gana is arrested.
He said the Benue state government also directed security to arrest anyone caught with illegal arms.
”Benue State government is not sponsoring armed militia, the Livestock Special Guard, are not allow by law to carry arms, so anyone or member of the Guard found carrying weapon should be arrested and prosecuted,” he added.
He said security men were also asked to arrest anyone who cover vehicle plate including government officials except traditional rulers who were given the grace till end of February when they may have gotten their official numbers.
He said “security council has banned blaring of sirens, and directed security to arrest anyone found doing so.
”The Benue State government also sympathised with families of seven travelers who were killed by bandits in Gboko,” he noted
He said security agencies were also asked to intensify implementation of the Benue anti-cultism law, warning that anyone caught breeching the law will not be spared.