Senator Suswam condemns the killing of Benue militia leader, call for independent probe
The former governor of Benue State, Senator Gabriel Suswam has called for an independent probe into the killing of Terwase Agwaza also known as Gana, after condemning the manner the militia leader was killed.
Senator Suswam who represents Benue North Senatorial District, made the call after the military announced the execution of the militia leader who had been on the run for years in a gun duel.
In a statement titled, ‘A Time to Heal’, Suswam said, “Even war criminals captured alive are entitled to certain rights”.
“The claim that Gana was killed in a gunfight needs further explanation because those who accompanied him and who watched him being taken away, including his Local Government Chairman, do not believe he was in possession of any arms.
“An independent judicial commission of inquiry will unravel facts of the matter to serve as lessons for the future”.
The reactions of Senator Suswam on the killing of Gana are in consonance with the one of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom who accused the military of truncating a deal made to bring about peace and putting the security of the state on track.
Ortom confirmed that Gana, a militia leader who had eluded authorities for years, came out of his hideout on Tuesday as part of an amnesty programme initiated by the Benue State government.
He said, “The Benue State Government along with the security agencies have long desired for a return to normalcy, peace, prosperity, and security of the area.
“We have all been in agreement that the continuous existence and activities of gangs are an ill wind that blows no one any good. That is why some leaders were mandated to reach out to these outlaws to persuade them to drop their arms and channel their energies towards the rebuilding of our thoroughly battered community.
“We were all excited to see the dreaded Gana come out of hiding to the warm embrace of our Traditional Rulers, Clergy and political leaders at a public function at the Akume Atongo Stadium in Katsina-Ala. Our joy was multiplied when we saw him along with his militia surrender arms and publicly renounce a life of crime. Our reverred King extracted a pledge from him never to turn his kingdom into a wasteland.”
Suswam in his statement confirmed that those at the forum “heaved a great sigh of relief with the thought that finally, a life full of uncertainty has come to an end”.
Suswam said he is more worried now about the future of his Senatorial district where he said Gana had been a serious terror and warned extrajudicial killings can only cause more trouble.
He said, “While I have been consistent in condemning the reign of terror he unleashed on his community, I cannot in good conscience as a lawyer of over three decades and a senior parliamentarian accept cold-blooded extra-judicial murder of an unarmed person as a solution to our security problems. The lessons of the Boko Haram escalation after a similar murder of its leader are still here with us.
“If this method is accepted as a norm in our country, there will be no need for laws and courts. We stand to benefit more by subjecting suspects to due process of the law. Information extracted from a living Gana would have helped security agents get to the root of activities of criminals. By this Gestapo style execution, we have missed an opportunity to learn vital lessons about the structure of crime in the area.”