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Gana: Interrogating extrajudicial killing and why Ortom, Suswam are pained



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By all indications, Terwase Akwaza, alias Gana was the most wanted criminal in Benue State and by extension, North central, Nigeria.

It’s an incontestable fact that his notoriety for crime and criminality knows no bound and had been nightmare to the society and security agents including the military that snuffed his life off him on Tuesday.

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The way and manner the militia was killed raises questions than answers. Notwithstanding that the Benue State government has previously placed a N10 million ransom on him for tips on his whereabout, yet he was nowhere to be found. His whereabout defied all security intelligence since 2015, when he was declared wanted in Benue State for crimes.

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But the latest negotiation cum amnesty by Governor Samuel Ortom administration as well as the thought of traditional rulers that saw the dreaded Terwase Akwaza coming out of his cocoons with his gangsters would have been allowed to materialise. push({});

In fairness to Samuel Ortom as Governor of Benue, he cannot be seen to be pampering a notorious criminal in the class of late Terwase Akwaza, who had caused security breach that has cost the State, human and material resources humongously.

The amnesty, in our view, was the jaw-jaw approach which was happily working to the advantage of Benue people, security circle and even those states within the sphere of Gana’s operation.

It’s time the military or other agencies balance the probabilities of their actions and reactions to avoid backlashes in circumstances like this as it did happen with the late leader of Boko Haram insurgents, Mohammed Yusuf. It was the gruesome killing of Mohammed Yusuf that escalated activities of Boko Haram even when the security community didn’t understand well enough their capacity and ideology.

Late Gana wields influence in his own right. On Tuesday, reports said, he came out with about 172 boys and while on their way to the Benue Peoples House, he was intercepted at a military checkpoint at Gbese-Gboko-Makurdi junction.

A community leader said he was thrown into a military vehicle and driven away only to be announced at noon day of that Tuesday by Commander of the Special Forces Command, Maj. Gen. Moundhey Ali that Gana was killed in a shootout with “Troops of Operation ‘Ayem Akpatuma III.”

If Gana was killed in a routine encounter with the military, there will be no qualms; neither governor Ortom nor Senator Gabriel Suswam would be pained in a manner they are, but the initiative this time that saw the militia surrendered with his proteges was purely peaceful where confrontation failed.

Gana was a gang leader and would not have been a lone to engage the military in gun duel on that fateful Tuesday, hence, the should tell the world if Gana’s fighters were also shot, if we are to believe the military’s report that he was killed in gun battle with the military.

There were notorious evidences to prove the events of amnesty; that there were moving in government convoy; that there were about 172 of Gana’s boys; that governor Samuel Ortom and his cabinet members were already waiting at the Government House; that only 42 of Gana’s boys made it to the government house on that Tuesday for amnesty programme, while others turned back in the ensuing millee.

Governor Samuel Ortom and Gabriel Suswam’s condemnation that trailed the killing of Terwase Akwaza on Tuesday should not be seen as politically motivated, but as genuine bid to restore peace which was an oath the governor and the Senator swore to uphold in the course of their political offices.

In saner climes and the world over, the military having seized Gana in the manner they did would have been to take him into custody for the following reasons:

1. If prosecuted in court, it would have enriched the nation’s criminal jurisprudence.

2. Extraction of information on how he was being funded, sponsors of criminal gangs in the State.

3. Source of weapons and how weapons were being brought into Benue State.

4. How were boys being recruited into criminal gangs.

5. Shedding information on some controversial killings and invasion of communities in Benue and Taraba States, etc.

Therefore, the danger that the extra judicial killing of Terwase Akwaza might pose is that militias would find it difficult in having confidence in government organised amnesty or negotiation.

This is so, because no gangs or rebels anywhere in the world surrenders all their weapons at first sight because of lack of confidence until they are sure of their safety.

That’s why the issues raised by Senator Gabriel Suswam that the murder of Gana could spark another insurgency in a restive North Central region was germane, and rather than throwing tantrums, we should all be reprehensible over what Gana’s boys who turned back and those who are still hybernating in forests might resort to.


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