by Dyepkazah Shibayan, The CableNG
Gabriel Suswam, senator representing Benue north-east, has condemned the killing of Terwase Akwaza, better known as Gana.
The army said Gana, who is alleged to be the most wanted criminal in the state, was killed in an exchange of gunfire on Tuesday.
Moundhey Ali, commander of ‘4 special forces command’, said 40 members of Gana’s gang were captured after his death.
But in a contrary narrative, Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, said the army killed him on his way to surrender.
In a statement on Wednesday, Suswam said security operatives have not learnt lessons from the crisis triggered by the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, founder of the Boko Haram sect.
Security operatives were said to have killed Yusuf in front of the police headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno state, in 2009, and shortly after the sect launched a campaign of violence which rages till date.
The former Benue governor said by killing Gana, the opportunity to learn “vital lessons” about the structure of crime in the state has been lost.
“The lessons of the Boko Haram escalation after a similar murder of its leader are still here with us. If this method is accepted as a norm in our country, there will be no need for laws and courts,” the senator said.
“We stand to benefit more by subjecting suspects to due process of the law. Information extracted from a living Gana would have helped security agents get to the root of activities of criminals.
“By this gestapo style execution, we have missed an opportunity to learn vital lessons about the structure of crime in the area. Even war criminals captured alive are entitled to certain rights.
“I was totally dumbfounded to learn that while Gana was on his way to Makurdi the state capital to present himself to the State Governor who was waiting, his long convoy that included political leaders, Traditional rulers, clergy men and security agencies was ambushed by allegedly armed soldiers and he isolated and taken away.
“In the midst of the confusion, pictures began to circulate on social media of the bullet ridden body of Gana with a rifle callously placed on his side.”
The legislator, who said many were excited when Gana “renounced crime”, added that his death has escalated tension in the area.
“Our joy was multiplied when we saw him along with his militia surrender arms and publicity renounce a life of crime. Our revered king extracted a pledge from him never to turn his kingdom into a wasteland,” he said.
“Those present at this forum heaved a great sigh of relief with the thought that finally, a life full of uncertainty has come to and end.
“This is a time to heal and not war. This is a time to hold each other to our common values as human beings. This is a time to rebuild our fractured society. This is a time to rally together as brothers and say Enough is Enough.”