From: Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom has said that there was no act of betrayal in the death of the dreaded criminal Terwase Akwaza also known as Gana.
The Governor who said this yesterday while briefing newsmen at the Banquet Hall of Benue Government House, expressed shock at his death, maintaining however, that he is yet to be officially briefed by the military.
“Shortly after we left yesterday night, there was a press statement issued by the Special Force, that is Operation Ayema Kpatema in Doma, Nasarawa State. I reached out to the Commander of the Force and told him that I was surprised and needed an explanation. He assured me that he will explain to me but I must say that I am surprised at what happened. I do not want to join issues with the military but I have a duty to protect the lives of the people. I want Benue people especially Sankera people to remain calm”, Ortom pleaded.
Asked if the death of Gana will truncate the amnesty program, the Governor answered in the negative, stating that the amnesty program is already going ahead with the profiling of over 47 repentant criminals,even as he insisted that the amnesty program this time was not his initiative but that of the leaders of Sankera axis.
“It was not my decision to this amnesty. First of all, it was the people themselves who pleaded that amnesty should be granted to these people and I informed the security Council and they accepted. So, by the time I hear from the Commandant of the Special Forces, I will now relay this to the security Council to know the next step to take”, he said.
Ortom had told the repentant criminals that there is no condition attached to the amnesty, assuring them of government support if they chose the right thing.
It should be that there was palpable tension in Benue on Tuesday evening as speculation hit the roof the dreaded and wanted criminal Terwase Akwaza also known as ‘Gana’ was picked by soldiers.
Gana had since 2016 been declared wanted by the Benue State Governor and a bounty of over 50 million placed on him.
He was reported to have arrived Katsina-Ala, headquarters of Sankera axis on Tuesday with the Social media awashed with pictures of his heroic reception at the Felix Atongo Stadium, Katsina-Ala where he was received by traditional rulers and other stakeholders from the axis.
Meanwhile, the Military spike Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS headed by Maj. Gen Adeyemi Yekini have been on the trail of the dreaded criminal with his base at Gbise in Katsina-ala destroyed and most his allies killed while several others including his arms bearer were arrested.
Penultimate week, the Tor Sankera Chief Abu Shuluwa convened a meeting to discuss the raging security challenges in the axis comprising of three (3) local governments of Katsina-Ala, Ukum and Logo. At that meeting, it was agreed that the criminals who willingly laid down their arms should be considered for amnesty by the State government.
This, was subsequently granted by Governor Samuel Ortom last week Friday while addressing the people during the Commissioning of road project and as such, the stage set for another amnesty to be granted Gana and many of his cohorts.
It was at this point that news filtered in that the convoy conveying Gana had been intercepted at Yandev, Gboko local government area allegedly by the military.
The mood at Government House was like that of a graveyard as several persons were visibly angry while security was said to be beefed up around and within the seat of government.
Traditional Chief from Sankera led by the Tor Sankera also, wore angry faces as they entered the Banquet Hall where the amnesty event was billed to take place.
Confirming the incident, Governor Samuel Ortom said they security Council had agreed to reconvene by 4pm when information reached them that soldiers had apprehended Gana and taken away in the official car of the Chairman Katsina-Ala local government area at a check point around Yandev, Gboko local government area.