By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, says the army has besieged Gbishe in Katsina Ala local government area of Benue State, in a manhunt for Mr.Terwase Agwaza, also known as ‘Ghana’, for his alleged involvement in series of crimes and the murder of Mr. Denen Igbana, a former Special Assistant to the state Governor on Special Security.
Buratai spoke to reporters in Makurdi where he attended the rowing out ceremony of five retired generals of the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers at the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineers, NASME.
Represented by Major General Lincon Ogunewe, the Chief of Policy and Planning, Army Headquarters, he stated that the military operation was intended to restore normalcy in the area.
He said, “It will be a crime if we keep quiet in the face of the heinous crimes going on there, so we will ensure that all the masterminds of the crimes were arrested and brought to justice.”
Corroborating the development, the state government, in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Dr. Bem Melladu, said the action followed the refusal of Akwaza to report to the police to answer charges of murder, kidnappings, and armed robbery level against him.
Part of the statement read, “The operation was approved by the State Security Council. Security reports have linked Mr. Akwaza with the assassination of Mr Denen Igbana, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Security, five Civilian Joint Task Force members in Ukum local government area and several killings as well as the kidnap of the Dangote Cement Company Indian workers.
“The operation is part of the second phase of the Amnesty programme of the government which is the stick approach after the carrot strategy had expired. Mr Akwaza had shunned invitations by the police hence the operations became imperative.”
Confirming the development, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bashir Makama, said the operation was intended to check the spate of killings, kidnapping and various crimes allegedly being perpetrated in parts of the state by the gang.
“The police and sister security agencies would not allow any individual or group of persons take laws into their hands with impunity and by so doing create a state of lawlessness in the state”, he stated.