Army, Gov. Ortom brew controversy over killing of Benue crime kingpin

It was a controversial end for wanted Benue crime kingpin, Terwase Agwaza alias Gana on Tuesday as the military said he was killed during a ‘firefight.’

Channels Television quoted the the Commander of the Four Special Forces command, Doma local government area, Brigadier General Maude Ali Gadzama  as confirming that Gana was killed during a firefight with a firefight with soldiers on Tuesday.

But Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom disputed the military’s claim.

According to the Governor,  Gana and other members of his gang were on the way to Makurdi, the Benue State capital to accept amnesty offer of the state government after they accepted to abandon all form of criminality, including surrender of their weapons.

According to reports, no fewer than 172 militia boys, including Gana, had surrendered early Tuesday at an event attended by traditional rulers, priests, and local government officials in Katsina-Ala local government in Benue.

Governor Ortom confirmed that Gana came out after several years of hiding and surrendered for the amnesty programme in Katsina Ala township stadium in Katsina Ala local government area of Benue north senatorial zone on Tuesday.

The Governor, however, said the gang leader, who has a bounty of N10m on his head was snatched from a government’s convoy which was transporting the repentant militants in the Gboko area of the state by soldiers.

Gana had in 2015, accepted similar offer of amnesty, but returned to his alleged criminal activities.

Specifically, Gana and his gang were said to be behind the murder of Governor Ortom’s aide on security, Denen Igbana as well as criminal activities in Ukum, Logo and Katsina Ala local government areas and the entire Zone A senatoria part of the State.

The Police later declared Gana wanted after which the Benue State Government placed a N10 million bounty on him.

The military had blamed Gana for the upsurge in criminal activities attributed to herdsmen in some parts of the Benue State.

The military had also at least twice in the past few months lamented that Gana escaped during operations targeted at killing or arresting him and members of his gang in the Katsina –Ala local government area.

It was learnt that the latest amnesty deal for Gana and members of his gang was arranged by some elders led by Senator Gabriel Suswam.

The elders were said to have convinced Governor Ortom to grant amnesty for Gana and his gang despite the failure of his first effort.

The Governor was waiting to receive the gang leader and other repentant leaders when news filtered in that he has been killed.

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