By Peter Duru
Makurdi—There are strong indications that the wanted Benue militia leader, Mr. Terwase Agwaza, also known as ‘Gana’ has been seized by the military, thereby creating tension in the state.
Agwaza, who had a N50 million bounty slammed on his head by the Benue State and the Federal Government had been on the wanted list for close to four years over his alleged criminal activities in the North-East senatorial district of the state.
Governor Samuel Ortom had, in his first year in office, offered amnesty to criminal gangs operating in the state and the wanted militia leaders was among those who took advantage of the amnesty to surrender over 700 arms to the government.
However, he was said to have reneged on his promise to repent and returned to his forests hideout in the Sankera axis of the state, alongside his followers and gang members.
This was shortly after being fingered in the murder of an aide of Governor Samuel Ortom on Special Security, Mr. Deneen Igbana in 2016 in Makurdi.
A manhunt for Gana by the police and the military commenced from then until last Friday when Governor Ortom, during a working visit to that axis of the state, offered a second amnesty to all criminal gangs operating in the area, including the wanted militia leader.
Reports had it that Mr. Agwaza took advantage of the latest amnesty granted by the state government to renounce his criminal activities and also surrender his weapons.
According to our findings, the militia leader, alongside members of his gang, Monday afternoon, came out of their hiding and were received by the youths and traditional rulers of the area including the First Class Chief, Tor Sankera, Abu King Shuluwa.
He was then moved by the leaders of the area to Makurdi, the state capital, where he was expected to surrender his weapons and formally make a declaration renouncing his criminal activities and also granted amnesty by Governor Ortom and the State Security Council.
Vanguard gathered from a top government official, who was among those delegated to bring the wanted militia leader and his gang to Makurdi, that they were on a convoy with Mr. Agwaza heading to Makurdi, when a detachment of the military allegedly ambushed the convoy between Ameladu and Yandev roundabout in Gboko LGA.
The source who spoke n condition of anonymity, said: “We were between Ameladu and Yandev roundabout when we noticed that the military had used a long truck to barricade the road.
“They stopped us and ordered the Katsina-Ala Local Government Council Chairman, who was in the same Hilux Van within Agwaza and his driver, to step out of the car.
“They took Gana and some of the items that were recovered from him and his gang in the van and drove away to an unknown destination.
“They allowed us to come to Makurdi with other members of his gang. As we speak we do not know where they are.
“But I must add that while we were in Katsina-Ala we noticed that the military personnel with us were communicating with their superiors before we left there, so it is likely they were ordered to do what they did.”
At press time, Governor Samuel Ortom and the lawmaker representing Benue North-East district in the Senate, Senator Gabriel Suswam, were in a closed-door meeting with members of the State Security Council and traditional rulers from the area over the Gana matter.