Calm continued to prevail in Sankera area of Benue State four days after the reported killing of Terwaza Akwaza, popularly known as Gana by soldiers.
This was contrary to the earlier apprehension from many quarters over likely breakout of violent protest in the areas following the hurriedly extermination of the late criminal.
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Our correspondent who plied the Sankera axis comprising of Logo, Kastina-Ala and Ukum Local Government Areas of Benue as well as some rural communities in Wukari, Takum and Donga LGAs in Taraba State which are situated at the fringes of Benue two days after the incident, reports that there was absolute calm while security tightened up to avert any break down of law and order.
It was observed that people were going about their normal businesses while markets were opened and vehicles plied the roads amid visible presence of security operatives.
Though respondents were conscious not to mention their names in print, it was however obvious that the news of Gana’s death was received with mixed feelings by both divides of the states.
For instance, the people of Taraba state rejoiced that the killing of the outlaw who was on his way to embrace amnesty in Makurdi before the soldiers struck would translate into peaceful cohabitation among the Jukuns and Tiv.
But, the residents of Benue bordering communities feared that another Gana may pick up from where the deceased left as a mark of vendetta on security agencies.
In the eyes of the Taraba rural communities, the reign of the late Gana forced economic activities to a standstill in the area while the Wukari, Skate and Takum roads linking Benue became a death trap of some sort, alleging that at a point travellers abandoned the routes.
To this end, a community leader in Logo LGA of Benue state, Chief Joseph Anawah opined that the killing of Gana, by the Nigerian army was wrongly done.
Anawah who spoke to our correspondent by telephone, claimed that the stakeholders of the Sankera Bloc comprising three LGA of Ukum, Logo and Kastina-Ala are not happy about the development.
“Gana’s killing was very bad and we the Sankera stakeholders are not happy. This kind of killing amounts to extra judicial exercise.
“They eliminated him in a very wrong way. It is the creation of more problems for us,” he said.
The community leader who described the handling of Gana as very different from how other repentant outlaws across the country were treated, worried that some of the deceased militia kingpin boys who retreated after his arrest might regroup for further trouble.
Anawah added, “what guarantee can the military give us now that these boys will not come back after us?.”
Similarly, an Idoma Youth leader, Adakole, regretted that the society was no longer safe for bad people who decided to turn a new leaf.
He said killing of Gana, a repentant militia kingpin who had surrendered himself to embrace peace and the amnesty programme organised by the Benue state government, suggested that bad people can’t have the opportunity to live a new life.
Adakole said though Gana’s many atrocities could not be justified, there were yet examples of repentant bandits in the country’s trouble areas who were pardoned as he wondered why the case of the deceased was different.
The youth leader further posited, “I condemned the killing of Gana because you don’t summarily execute a man who willingly surrendered himself and was prepared to work with government and security agencies to fight insecurity as well as live a good life going forward.”
Soldiers on Tuesday arrested the wanted Gana near Yandev roundabout in Gboko Local Government Area of the state.
However, the military authorities announced that he was killed in a fire fight with soldiers.
Daily Trust reports that Gana, alongside some of his gang members were intercepted while being conveyed by the council of Sankera traditional rulers from Katsina-Ala town to Makurdi to be granted amnesty.
Governor Samuel Ortom told newsmen at a press conference about 8:30 pm that over 172 of the outlaws embraced the amnesty and were to be presented to the state security council before the soldiers took away Gana and many others.