Some youth leaders from Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States have commended the Nigerian Army over the killing of militia leader, Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as Gana.
The group at a joint press conference at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, on Tuesday, expressed total confidence in the troops to “continue to defend our people from the other Ganas and their political allies that are still out there”.
In a statement co-signed by three of its representatives, Comrade Ibrahim Kabir Dalla, Comrade Kifasi John and Comrade Agbara Thomas Abeda, the Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba Youth Fora said its delegation would visit headquarters of Operation Ayem Akpatuma III to appreciate the troops for all their efforts and commitment.
The fora noted that the people of Benue, Nassarawa and Taraba will not forgive Gana in a hurry for all the atrocities that he committed such as killings, banditry, cattle rustling, rape and industrial-scale sacking of entire villages and farmsteads.
According to the group, the Benue State Government was insincere all along with its supposed amnesty program.
“This militia warlord was not unknown to the Benue state government, which was the reason political leaders were packaging the one-sided amnesty to provide an easy exit for Gana at a time that government troops were closing in on his position. The shabby manner in which the amnesty was packaged within Benue state and poorly communicated to its neighbours and the Federal Government attests to the skeleton in the cupboard. The same goes for the level of contact that Gana had with traditional rulers in the areas in which he operated. The state government has contact with Gana, certain political leaders had contact with Gana and the traditional institutions were in constant touch with the now deceased militia leader,” the statement said.
“Yet, all the aforementioned did not for once prevail on him to stop flooding their land with human blood. They only prevailed on him to seek refuge in the amnesty programme only when it was clear that the laser target of the military was irreversibly locked on him.
“Armed with this background, we, the youths from Benue, Nassarawa and Taraba States came together to review the circumstances surrounding the killing of the notorious terrorist, Terwase Akwaza aka Gana, who reportedly engaged the troops in a firefight.
” From our factfinding, the troops did not engage in any act of extra-judicial killing as it took professionalism to deliver the kind of precision strike that ensured that no other person than the wanted terrorist was killed while his fighters were arrested.
” We, therefore, make bold to exonerate the troops even as we vow to stand by the Nigerian Army and the troops of Operation Ayem Akpatuma III as they continue to defend our people from the other Ganas and their political allies that are still out there and are even angling to replace the killed militia warlord.
” The fora resolved to send a delegation to the headquarters of Operation Ayem Akpatuma to appreciate the troops for all their efforts and commitment to the unity of the Nigerian state. Nigerians are proud of the troops and its leadership and will continue to urge them to stop at nothing until the last criminal is flushed out of the north-central and by extension the northeast”.
The group, however, condemned the use of ethnic slant to glory evil in the land.
It said those who have expressed opposing views are evildoers, killers and mercenaries against the people of Nigeria.
The group further expressed confidence that with the end of Gana politicians will no longer be able to visit the people they are supposed to protect with evil and peace and tranquillity will finally be restored to the once peaceful communities.