By Adejare Ibrahim
Terwase Akwaza, aka Gana, is a Tiv by tribe, from Gbishe Community in Katsina Ala Local Government, Benue State. His nefarious activities are known to many Benue citizens. He is dreaded and feared. They believe he possesses some mystical powers that make him invincible. He has his criminal militia gang. His criminality started in the first term of former Governor Gabriel Suswam, which he had confessed to bringing dangerous weapons into Benue. During Suswam administration, they robbed, maimed and killed. He later took to his heels when his militia gang was disbanded and declared wanted by the Police.
In the buildup to the 2015 election, Samuel Ortom, the current Governor of Benue State, worked with some Gana’s boys to attain victory. Immediately after the victory, the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Katsina-Ala played a prominent role in the dialogue between the state government and Gana’s militia group. On 31st August, 2015, amnesty was granted to Gana in Benue Government House (Check the pictures of Gana with other stakeholders in Benue State). In appreciation of his leading role in Ortom’s victory, he was appointed the Senior Special Assistant on Security to Governor Ortom. Later, he was relieved of his post and given one of the revenue-generation outfit of the state.
Gana failed to ‘settle’ some of his boys in his newfound job. These boys felt cheated and sidelined. They struck. When violence broke out, the state government had to withdraw the revenue outfit from Gana. To show his dissatisfaction with the unfavorable step taken by the state government, Gana unleashed terror on the people of Benue, especially in Tor Donga, Gbishe and Zaki Biam. Also, this notorious criminal threatened some government officials and carried out his threat: he killed Mr Denen Igbana (Special Assistant To Ortom On Special Security).
Akwaza (Gana) was declared wanted by the Nigerian Police last year March; over the killings of many innocent persons in Zaki Biam and the wanton destruction of property worth millions of Naira. He is also wanted for other violent crimes committed across the state. Up till today, Gana and his boys are still wrecking havoc, inflicting bloodshed and causing mayhem in Benue. Many deaths have been traced to his militia group. This militia group is armed to teeth: they have sophisticated weapons (automatic rifles, guns of different brands, cutlasses, matchets, axes and other dangerous weapons).
I deliberately made these findings because of the widespread propaganda by the media. The Nigerian media are culprits in these senseless killings. They twist many events to suit their diabolical intents. No sane person will exonerate or absolve some Fulani herdsmen of criminality. However, heaping all the blames of all the killings in Benue and Taraba on Fulani herdsmen is unfair and a wicked misplacement of facts. Yesterday, some criminals were arrested by ACP Abba Kyari in Benue for arrays of criminal allegations; ranging from gunrunning to kidnapping and assassination of innocent people of Benue. We all know where they come from. They are not Fulani herdsmen.
His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom, is the Chief Security Officer of Benue State. He is saddled with the statutory responsibility of protection of lives and property of every Benue citizen. He should rise to the challenge. Blame game or buck passing solves nothing. A governor must act in accordance with the fundamental mandate he swore to on the day of swearing-in. May God restore the lost peace in Benue, Taraba and other war-ravaged states in Nigeria.
Adejare Ibrahim writes in from Abuja