Their cordial working relationship continued until unknown gunmen shot Igbana dead near his house at about 12. 35 am on May 20. When the governor visited Igbana’s residence the following morning to commiserate with the family, a head of vigilance group told Governor Ortom that the late Igbana shouted Gana’s name while he was being pursued by the gunmen. “Gana, why do you want to kill me!?” the head of vigilance group quoted Igbana as saying before he was finally murdered.
Terwase Agwaza who is popularly known as Gana shocked security agents and the entire people of Benue State when he became the first person to surrender his weapons to the committee in charge of Governor Samuel Ortom’s amnesty programme to guarantee his freedom. Governor Ortom reciprocated this by appointing him as one of the key persons to work for the success of the programme.
was saddled with the responsibility of convincing other criminals to embrace the amnesty programme and return their weapons. Governor Ortom ensured that he was provided with adequate security.
He was also given a car and he was empowered economically so that he would not be tempted to go back to his old ways.
Gana was working with the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Ortom on Special Security, Igbana Denen, a retired police sergeant who was a crime buster during his days at the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Benue State Police Command. Denen and Gana seemed to strike a good understanding and everything was going on well as many violent youths were persuaded to turn in their arms and ammunition and denounce criminal acts.
In his response, Governor Ortom vowed to fish out the killers of his security aide and bring them to Justice even if it was his son.
As would be expected, the allegation raised by the head of vigilance group has drawn public attention to Gana who was working under the deceased security aide in the amnesty programme and the bid to rid Benue of criminal activities like armed robbery, kidnapping an assassination. Consequently, everyone is asking what fate awaits the man who by the vigilante’s account should be the first suspect?
After some strenuous efforts, our correspondent was able to get Gana for an exclusive interview wherein he denied any involvement in the death of the security aide to the Benue State Governor. Excerpts:
Are you aware of the allegation that you led some people to kill the late security aide to the Benue State governor, Denen Igbana? Where were you when the late Igbana was killed?
I’m not a spirit to be in Makurdi and my village, Gbishe, at the same time. I was with the eight Civil Defence operatives the government attached to me, who look after me day and night after I accepted the amnesty programme. They also watch over my activities. They can confirm that all of us were at Gbishe at the time the allegation came out. I embraced the amnesty programme wholeheartedly.
What was your reaction when you heard about the brutal killing of your boss?
When I heard of his killing and because I was working closely with him, I drove straight to Government House, Makurdi to commiserate with Governor Samuel Ortom. He was my immediate boss also and I have nothing to fear because I had no hands in his death. I pledge to assist security agencies to fish out those who killed Denen and reveal my findings to Governor Samuel Ortom.
I was surprised to see people saying in the national dailies that I am wanted for the death of Denen. So, I ask myself, how I can be wanted when the government gave me security? They ought to have contacted me and know where I was at that time. Since he was killed, I have not been contacted by anybody. I only heard in the papers that I am wanted. The security agencies and the government can invite me to see them at any time and I will honour the invitation.
In respect of this case, no security agency has called me to come and I refused. Some people are speculating that I am at large, but it is not true. I am always in Katsina Ala and will not run because I am not responsible for Igbana Denen ‘s death.
There is also a new twist. People have been calling me of late to inform me that they have engaged the Army, Air Force SSS and other security agencies to invade my village and kill me.
Do you really believe the information that someone wants you dead?
Yes, I believe. Because before the amnesty programme of the present administration, several attempts were made on my life, using soldiers from 72 Battalion and that of Takum battalion who invaded my village in Gbishe. The facts are known to everyone. For this reason, I believe some of the information.
Do you think the governor is aware of all this?
I don’t think the governor is aware of the evil plans against me. And if there is anyone than can believe that I did not kill Denen, that person is the governor. He knows I cannot do such a thing. I embraced his amnesty wholeheartedly and I’m now born again. My old ways have gone for good. The governor has done so much for me. I can’t betray the trust.
What has the governor done for you?
He gave me freedom. You will not know what freedom is until you find yourself in my position then, living in the bush. He also gave me security and protection, including a means of livelihood. He has also seen my commitment to the goals of the amnesty progarmme in Benue State. So, how can I turn around to injure his feelings when he has done all these for me?
When did you see the governor last?
I saw the governor last when we had a meeting in the house of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, Jeo Ikyaagba, on May 7, 2016. From there, we proceeded to Government House