Controversy has erupted over the manner of the death of Terwase Akwaza, alias “Gana,” who had been described as the ‘most wanted criminal’ in Benue State.
Gana was declared wanted by the Nigerian Police for allegedly killing several innocent citizens including Governor Samuel Ortom’s Special Assistant on Special Security, Denen Igbana.
The state government later placed a N10 million-naira bounty on him.
It was gathered that on Tuesday, September 9, Gana was sighted in Katsina-Ala township stadium in Benue-North, claiming that he wanted to surrender for an amnesty programme out together by the state government.
He had reportedly in 2015 surrendered for same amnesty programme, but sooner went back to the life of crime, although why he did so has not been established.
Gana according to the Army fell to superior fire power on Tuesday, according to unimpeachable military sources, after an exchange of gunduel between his convoy and the military.
Gov. Ortom has, however, refuted the claim, saying that Gana was removed from a government convoy after he had handed himself over and executed.
Gana has a controversial reputation in Benue State but had reportedly come out recently to accept the amnesty offered by the state government.
News of his death became public when the Commander, 4 Special Forces Command, Doma, Nasarawa State, Maj-Gen. Moundhey Ali, told newsmen that Gana was killed along Gbese-Gboko-Makurdi road, following an exchange of gunfire.
Ali said: “About 12:00 hours on Tuesday, we received strategic information on the movement of the dreaded bandit, Terwase Akwaza Agbadu, AKA Gana, along Gbese-Gboko-Makurdi road.
“Troops of Operation ‘Ayem Akpatuma III’ moved swiftly and mounted roadblocks along the routes.
“At about 13:00 hours, there was an engagement with the convoy of Gana, a shoot-out ensued and the bandit was killed.”
The claims of the military are being disputed by the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
The governor said Gana and other members of his gang were heading to Markurdi, the Benue State capital, to accept the amnesty offer of the state government after they had surrendered in Katsina Ala Township Stadium in Katsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue-North Senatorial zone (Zone A) on Tuesday.
Ortom said “Gana and his members were snatched from a government convoy transporting the repentant militants in the Gboko area of the state by soldiers”, until he was declared dead.
The controversy was rearing its head following the pattern of the execution of the founder of the Boko Haram militant leader, Mohammed Yusuf, who was also reportedly executed by the police in a similar fashion after having been apprehended by the military and handed over to the police.