Wednesday, September eight, 2020 marked the top of one of the wished gangsters within the nation. His identify is Terwase Akwaza alias Gana.
He died in controversial circumstances, simply as he had lived. He wished to be seen as a savior and a defender of the Tiv individuals towards exterior aggression. However sources stated that he perpetrated atrocities on his kinsmen even whereas claiming that he was defending them towards exterior aggressors. Mr. Akwaza was infamous for alleged a number of prison actions together with banditry, kidnapping, assassinations, ritual killings and cattle rustling.
When Governor Samuel Ortom initiated an Amnesty programme in 2015, Gana was the best beneficiary. On the final day of the programme, he turned in 84 assorted firearms and hundreds of ammunition. He was granted Amnesty and made Chief of the beneficiaries. The State Authorities made him a income guide as a part of his rehabilitation and that of the opposite beneficiaries and he made a fortune.
Sources stated he reneged after it was alleged that he sponsored the assassination of the Senior Particular Assistant to the Governor on Particular Safety, Mr. Denen Igbana. As a substitute of creating himself out there for investigation and the judicial course of, he selected to return to his vomit. Actually, many concluded that Gana constituted himself into an alternate authorities and loved the standing of a most ruler within the jungle. Safety sources stated his space of operation was primarily what’s often called the Sankera geo-political axis which contains Katsina-Ala, Ukum and Brand native authorities areas of Benue State.
He reportedly presided over the actions of that empire from the jungle of Gbise, his rapid neighborhood the place he allegedly loved the safety of the neighborhood which performed a giant function in shielding him from the arm of the regulation. The Benue State Safety Council moved towards him by declaring him wished and putting a bounty of N10 million which was later elevated to N50 million on him.
The state safety equipment carried out a number of expeditions to his enclave in a bid to arrest him, all to no avail. These efforts had been later complemented by the Federal Authorities which joined the manhunt by means of, first “Operation Ayem A Kpatuma” and later “Operation Whirlstroke”. All efforts to trace and arrest him, nevertheless, proved abortive. In the meantime, police sources stated he ran an organized and refined community of prison actions in his chosen area and performed affairs with an iron fist. Any problem to his authority was met with dying.
Sources revealed that at Akwaza’s orders, complete communities had been razed down. His actions in 5 years between 2015 and 2020 led to the close to complete collapse of socio-economic actions in that axis. He strangulated the complete Sankera space which was once essentially the most productive a part of Benue State notably in agriculture. It’s this geo-political axis that gave Benue State the standing of Meals Basket of the Nation.
It was reported that Akwaza killed his victims with relish. He was alleged to have buried individuals alive and gunned down many on the slightest provocation. On this method, a number of conventional rulers had been killed in chilly blood together with the District Head of Mbayongo, Chief Aloo Alev, and his counterpart in Michihe, Chief Chiahemba Livinus Shom,in Katsina-Ala Native Authorities Space. His final sufferer amongst conventional rulers was Chief Awua Alabar, District Head of Kundav in Ukum Native Authorities Space, who was killed within the presence of his household.
Outdoors this group, quite a few others from varied walks of life had incurred his wrath. These included Mr. Igbana, Senior Particular Assistant to Governor Ortom on Particular Safety and Msugh Tyavyar alias Pastor whose roles within the prosecution of the primary amnesty programme he thought-about a risk to his curiosity.
Each had been brutally gunned down by individuals believed to be despatched by Mr. Akwaza. Maybe what many think about incomprehensible and most dastardly was the kidnapping and homicide of Mrs. Esther Nguumbur Tur, spouse of Justice Tine Tur of the Court docket of Attraction and her companion, Mrs. Mbalamen Kpensuen Aminde, allegedly on the orders of Mr. Akwaza, after amassing ransom and seizing the Hilux van car by which they had been kidnapped. The Attraction Court docket Justice couldn’t survive the trauma of his spouse’s homicide. He died shortly afterwards.
Akwaza was on the centre of the disaster brewing between Benue and Taraba border communities resulting in the dying of many and destruction of property value billions of naira on each side. He was believed to be the person behind most kidnappings in Taraba and Benue States. His Tiv kinsmen suffered the implications of his dastardly actions on many events.
A neighborhood chief in Makurdi advised Saturday Vanguard that the notion that Gana was defending Tiv individuals from Fulani assaults is without doubt one of the most fictional tales of this decade. Our investigations don’t level to any occasion when Akwaza put the curiosity of his individuals above his quest for private glory and wealth. He was recognized to be answerable for cattle rustling in conspiracy with Fulani parts. He was by no means a defender of Sankera individuals.
Extortion and unlawful levies
“Mr Akwaza positioned particular levies on farmers, merchants and distinguished individuals in his area. Failure to pay meant dying. He fought supremacy gang wars along with his former allies which visited devastation on a number of communities in Ukum and Katsina-Ala native authorities areas. This state of affairs prompted distinguished indigenes of the geopolitical axis, together with political, non secular and conventional leaders to request for a 2nd Amnesty programme particularly for the reason that army had didn’t nab him,” the chief who sought strict anonymity acknowledged.
On Friday, 4th September, 2020, Governor Ortom whereas on undertaking commissioning and inspection tour of the Sankera axis accepted the request of the leaders. The governor gave an ultimatum for individuals who wished to embrace the 2nd Amnesty to give up their weapons on Tuesday, eighth September to grow to be beneficiaries of the programme. Earlier than the governor’s current go to, main stakeholders from the Sankera space had finished painstaking work to influence these with unlawful weapons of their custody to embrace the 2nd Amnesty programme by surrendering these weapons. Such had been the circumstances Mr. Akwaza discovered himself within the second Amnesty programme.
Police sources stated in firm of spiritual leaders, he left his hideout and offered himself on the Emmanuel Akume Atongo Stadium in Katsina-Ala in full public glare to embrace the programme. The State Safety Council was holding a gathering on the New Banquet Corridor of Authorities Home, Makurdi the place the second Amnesty programme was to be formalized. Chosen conventional rulers, distinguished indigenes and safety personnel took off with Mr. Akwaza and different potential beneficiaries from the stadium to come back and current them to the Council. It was gathered that earlier than he left his area, he beckoned on leaders of his foot troopers and advised them that he was suspecting foul play and if ultimately he didn’t return, they need to proceed from the place he stopped. On their option to Makurdi, the army intercepted the convoy at Masaje, near Yandev in Gboko Native Authorities Space.
How he was killed
The troopers reportedly pulled out the Katsina-Ala Native Authorities Chairman, Alfred Orya Atera and his safety element, a former Home of Meeting member, Dr Ianna Jato, from the Chairman’s official car in which Mr Akwaza was being conveyed to Makurdi. The army took the car and Mr. Akwaza away. Additionally they arrested near 100 different potential Amnesty beneficiaries from Katsina-Ala, Ukum and Brand native authorities areas. Unconfirmed experiences alleged that the army killed a few of the potential beneficiaries close to Moji Farms after Tse-Kucha, and later killed Mr Akwaza at one other location in Nasarawa State.
Information of this growth filtered into the venue of the Expanded State Safety Council assembly as unconfirmed rumors. Dependable sources revealed that the majority of these current, together with Governor Ortom, Senator Gabriel Suswam and the Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, had been shocked. This prompted the abrupt finish of the assembly. Governor Ortom whereas addressing journalists later acknowledged that the convoy conveying Mr. Akwaza and different potential Amnesty beneficiaries had been intercepted and that Main Common Adeyemi Yekini of Operation Whirlstroke had confirmed this and promised to get again to him.
Assertion from the Army
What got here subsequent was an announcement from the Commander of the four Particular Forces primarily based in Doma, Nasarawa State, Main Common Moundhey Gazama Ali, that Mr. Akwaza had been killed in a gunfight with the army, with the image of the wished gangster behind the official car of the Katsina-Ala Native Authorities Chairman. His dying elicited combined reactions as many thought that Governor Ortom, Senator Suswam, conventional and spiritual leaders betrayed Mr. Akwaza. Nonetheless, others acknowledged that the army, performing the script of the Fulani conquest agenda, eradicated Gana to pave method for additional unhindered assaults on Benue communities.
Political pundits in opposing camps canvassed the opinion that the All Progressives Congress (APC) could have used Mr. Akwaza within the 2019 normal elections and have determined to dump him on account of his insatiable monetary calls for, therefore they determined to make use of the federal authorities managed Military to remove him and put the blame on Governor Ortom. But, many conversant along with his prison actions acknowledged that it was the regulation of karma or retributive justice that caught up with Mr. Akwaza. They imagine that the blood of his victims has cried out to God for vengeance.
Investigations, nevertheless, revealed that Governor Ortom, Senator Suswam and leaders from the Sankera axis didn’t reckon that the army would remove Mr. Akwaza on the best way to Makurdi. Findings present that the leaders weren’t aware of the army operation and that the army seized the chance to upturn a most prized safety trophy that had eluded them for years. It’s reported that when the information of the elimination of Mr. Akwaza filtered into the venue of the Safety assembly, Senator Suswam and leaders from Sankera had been dumbfounded on the flip of occasions. They felt that their individuals would conclude that they had betrayed them and collaborated with the army to remove Mr. Akwaza and the others.
Apprehension, fears over reprisal
Safety sources advised Saturday Vanguard that the hazard therein is that Gana had a big community and it’s not potential to remove all his gang members on the similar time. Which means that his dying may spark reprisals. A authorities home supply acknowledged unequivocally that “From the primary Amnesty programme, Governor Ortom had indicated clearly that he was dedicated to the carrot method particularly when the army didn’t cease Gana. Often a person of his phrase, he couldn’t have damaged his phrase by arranging Gana’s elimination.”
Nonetheless, the overall feeling amongst individuals interviewed is that it amounted to extra-judicial killing for the army to have executed Mr. Akwaza and the others after that they had surrendered. Such individuals think about the assertion by the army that Gana was killed in a gunfight as untenable. Others acknowledged that as on the time the army intercepted Mr. Akwaza and his gang members, they had been but to be beneficiaries of the Amnesty programme. Conclusively, the worry is that for Gana to be extra-judiciary killed with out recourse to civilized norms and world finest practices, a significant disaster akin to Boko Haram menace could have been ignited from Benue axis.