Police Declare Militia Leader, Terwase Akwaza Wanted

Police Declare Militia Leader, Terwase Akwaza WantedThe Nigeria Police has declared militia leader, Terwase Akwaza, also known as Ghana wanted.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, made the disclosure on Friday while parading 19 members of Akwaza’s gang at the Police Headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

“The said Terwase Akwasa, A.K.A. Ghana, is wanted for merciless killing of several innocent persons, 17 in Zaki Biam and about 50 in other different locations in Benue State; and for wanton destruction of property worth millions of Naira by arson at Zaki Biam in Benue on the 20th of March, 2017; and for other capital offences such as kidnapping, armed robbery, culpable homicide, mischief by fire, criminal conspiracy and others.

“Police investigation revealed that he is also responsible for the killing of Mr Denen Igbana (late), the Special Adviser on Security to the Executive Governor of Benue State, Mr Samuel Ortom,” Mr Moshood said.

He also announced that the Benue State Government is offering 10 million Naira to anyone who provides information leading to his arrest.

“Terwase Akwasa, A.K.A. Ghana, is a dangerous suspect (from) Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State. He speaks Tiv, Idoma and pidgin English languages fluently.

“I want to make it clear that the Benue State Government has placed 10 million Naira reward for anyone with useful information that can lead to his arrest,” the Police spokesman said.

Police Parade Suspected Killer Herdsmen, Others In Benue

Police, Kidnap Suspect, Turkish School,Four herdsmen suspected to have been involved in killing of farmers and destruction of villages in Tarka Local Government Area (LGA) have been paraded by the Police in Benue state.

The Police also paraded 14 alleged cattle rustlers, alongside some cattle said to have been stolen by them.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Bashir Makama, who paraded the suspects, confirmed the killing of two farmers in Kwande LGA by suspected herdsmen.

“Some of them are those that have rustled cows and you can see the cows there, some of them are those that were arrested at the scenes of herdsmen and farmers clashes.

“We heard there was a reprisal attack in that particular community which led to the killing of two persons, and the people (attackers) have already been identified; detectives are already out there looking for them.

“Jungle justice is not allowed, if anybody has rustled their cows, they have reasons to report and if they report, it will be treated. But for them to take the laws into their hands is not acceptable,” Mr Makama said.

He said some of the rustled cows recovered from the suspects by the Police have been return to their owners.

In another development, the Benue State Security Council, during an operation alongside the Inspector General of Police Crack Team, also recovered large cache of arms from a bunker allegedly located in the stronghold of wanted suspect, Terwase Akwaza, alias Ghana.

Items recovered include a General Purpose Machine gun, grenades, assorted riffles and live ammunition among others.

The IGP’s investigation team, led by a Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Bello, has been in Zaki Biam and Katsina Ala for over two weeks, in a bid to track down the wanted suspect.

Speaking to reporters, Governor Samuel Ortom accused Ghana of hiding behind his amnesty programme to perpetrate crime in Benue state.

“You can now confirm when I said Ghana was using the amnesty to shield himself and perpetrate criminality, but this is just one armoury. We understand from information available to us that there are many more elsewhere and you can imagine the terror they did in Zaki Biam.

“I want to assure the people of Benue state that as we work together with them, and with the team I have here today, the security men that are supporting us in this state, and the directive of the President who is very passionate about the security situation in the state, we are going to overcome this,” he said.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Coloniel Edwin Jando (rtd), highlighted the details of the operations.

“These weapons were in a bunker and someone gave the Police information and they used their instruments to discover them under the ground, the bunker was broken and taken out.

“There are so many of those bunkers out there in Gbishe, and some arrests have been made with some of those arrested taken to Abuja for further investigations,” he said.

IGP Idris Briefs President Buhari On Nigeria’s Security

Ibrahim Idris Briefs Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria's SecurityThe Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Friday met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The meeting was held to update the President on the deployment of the Police in crisis areas in Nigeria.

IGP Idris also informed President Buhari on his effort to ensure that the country and its people are well secured.

Speaking shortly after the meeting which held behind closed door, he briefed State House correspondents on the specific directives given to him by the President.

“Obviously, there should be a specific directive to ensure that all of us use all the facilities at our disposal to make sure that some of these incidents we are talking about are brought under control as soon as possible,” he said.

The Police boss said his men have made concerted effort to stop the recent communal clash in Ile-Ife, adding that investigations were ongoing while a number of suspects have been arrested.

He, however, expressed doubts over the involvement of Fulani herdsmen in the recent killings in Zaki Biam, Benue State.

According to Mr Idris, indications pointed in the direction of a wanted hoodlum, Gana who has been on police wanted list.

Wike Calls For State Of Emergency In Benue State

wikeThe Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called for a state of emergency in Benue state, following the killings resulting from herdsmen attacks in the state.

The governor was speaking when he played host to members of the governing council of the University Of Port Harcourt, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, the state capital.

“When there was no problem in Port Harcourt, they were conspiring on how to declare a state of emergency, now that the time for a state of emergency has come, it should be declared in Benue state because the governor has lost control.

“Look at how people are being killed. So if you are from Benue, sorry, I’m calling for a state of emergency,” he stated.

During a separate meeting with security officials, Governor Ortom, in response expressed his displeasure over the comments.

“I pray for my colleague in Rivers state who, instead of sympathizing with me has chosen to call that Benue state should be declared a state of emergency when the killings in Rivers is more than what is happening here.”

Zaki Biam Attack: Ortom Vows To Bring Perpetrators To Book

Ortom Sues For Calm Over Benue Market AttackThe Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has asked the people of Zaki Biam to remain calm, as everything will be done to bring the killers of some traders in the town to justice.

The Governor made the call on Tuesday when he visited the town, alongside the Commissioner of Police in the state, Bashir Makama, to assess the situation there.

The Police confirmed that 17 persons were killed in the attack, after gunmen riding on motorcycles invaded the area while shooting sporadically.

The attack on the traders took place on Monday evening at a yam market in Zaki Biam in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, north-central Nigeria.

The Special Adviser to Governor Ortom on ICT and Media, Tahav Agerzua, clarified that the killing was not linked to the activities of herdsmen.

Although witnesses claim that about 27 people were killed by the attackers, but one of the survivors alleges that many lives were lost.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement issued on Tuesday by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, condoled with the government and people of Benue State on the attack.

“The President condemns the wicked attack and directs security agencies to begin immediate investigation with a view to bring the perpetrators of the act to book,” he said

President Buhari also sympathised with those who lost their loved ones and prayed that God comforts them.

IGP Deploys Special Force To Zaki Biam

IGP Deploys Helicopters, Anti-Bomb Sqaud To Kaduna AirportThe Inspector General Of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has deployed Police Special Tactical Force to Zaki-Biam and other troubled spots in Benue state to restore lasting peace and prevent further loss of lives.

This was made known in a press statement signed by the Force’ Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh O. Moshood.

The statement read in part:

“Worried by the killings of innocent people by invading unknown gunmen at Zaki Biam in Benue state on 20th March 2017 and destruction of property worth millions of Naira, the Inspector General Of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris npm, mni, has deployed Police Special Tactical Force, comprising Police Mobile Force (PMF specially trained anti-riot policemen), counter terrorism units, conventional policemen, Special Anti-robbery Squad, SIB, detachment of EOD, police k9 (sniffer dogs section), Police Air Wing (aerial surveillance helicopters) and other undercover operatives with their headquarters in Zaki Biam, Ukum Iga, Benue state.

“The Police Special Tactical Force is led by the Commissioner of Police in charge of PMF, Force headquarters, Abuja, under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations.”

The group further stated that in order to “achieve success in the operations, the Police Special Tactical Force will be proactive, work on actionable intelligence already at the disposal of the Nigeria Police Force, and carry out massive deployment, and twenty four (24) hours surveillance and patrol, continuous raids of identified and other suspected hideouts of the assailants, with a view to arrest promptly, the attackers and their sponsors to prevent further loss of lives and nip in the bud, the senseless killings and other criminalities in the general area.”

The team is expected to cover all the communities, towns, villages, vulnerable points, government and private infrastructures and facilities in the area.

“Police helicopters will embark on guided missions and aerial surveillance of the entire area, most especially difficult terrains and will operate in synergy with other police formations on the ground.

“The Joint Investigation Team attached to the Police Special Tactical Force is made up of personnel of the force’ Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, FSARS, SIP, Intelligence Response Team, Technical Intelligence Unit and Special Tactical Squad, headed by an experienced Commissioner of Police under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General of Police (FCIID).

“The Inspector General of Police hereby urges traditional rulers, religious leaders, public office holders, politicians, opinion leaders, parents and guardians to prevail on their subjects and the youths to exercise restraint and support the personnel of the Police Special Tactical Force in the discharge of their responsibilities to bring the perpetrators of this gruesome killings to justice.”

The Force, therefore assured citizens of Benue state of its renewed commitment to guarantee and sustain the protection of their lives and property.

17 Persons Allegedly Killed In Benue Market Attack

17 Persons Allegedly Killed In Benue Market Attack Seventeen persons have been reportedly killed at Zaki Biam in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.

The Special Adviser to the State Governor on ICT and Media told Channels Television that the killings took place on Monday after an attack on traders in a yam market in the town.

He said Governor Samuel Ortom was scheduled to visit the scene on Tuesday.

Spokesman for the State Police Command, Moses Yamu, who also confirmed the attack, said the casualty figure was uncertain.

This comes as a coalition of Civil Society Organisations in the state occupied the State Government house in Makurdi, the Benue State capital in north-central Nigeria.

The group has called on the State and Federal governments to protect the lives and properties of residents in the state.

Yam Produce: Benue Farmers, Traders Seek Improved Value

Yam Produce: Benue Farmers\Traders Seek Improved ValueYam farmers and traders in Zaki-Biam in Benue State have challenged the State government to speed up its agricultural revolution programme in other to add value to the product.

The call followed the launch of the State Agricultural Revolution Blueprint by Governor Samuel Ortom in September and the flag-off of work at the Katsina-Ala yam flour processing factory.

The Chairman of Yam Farmers\Traders in Zaki-Biam, Mr Nyaku Iorsoo, said that his association recorded a great loss selling the raw yam.

Zaki-Biam is the largest yam hub in Benue State and Nigeria where over 100 truck-loads of yams are moved to different parts of the country.

One of the transporters from the Zaki-Biam yam market, Moses Ani, told Channels Television that he makes two trips a week to Aba, the Abia State commercial capital.

The Benue State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Tersoo Kpelai, said that the state government, through its programme, had made efforts to address the concern of the farmers and yam traders.

He added that the yam flour processing factory was 98% completed for large scale food processing.

The Chairman of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service, Mimi Adzape-Orubibi, also said that the agency would renew all revenue collection contracts.

The Chairman decried that some of the contractors generate 48 million Naira yearly, only to remit 4 million Naira into the state coffers.

Tiv People Ask Jonathan Not To Pay 8 Billion Naira Judgment Sum To Suswan

JonathanThirteen Tiv people who successfully sued the Federal Government for the massacre of Tiv people in Zaki Biam and environs have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to reverse his decision to pay the eight billion Naira judgment compensation to the Benue State government .

Addressing reporters in Abuja on Wednesday, counsel to the litigants, Mr Sebastine Hon, said the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mohammed Adoke, informed him that the President had directed that the money be paid to Governor Gabriel Suswan.

Hon said that the president’s directive was wrong morally and in law because the Benue State government was not a party to the case that resulted in the award of 41.8 billion Naira to the plaintiffs and emphasised that the government of Benue State was also sued by the plaintiffs.

He added that the directive by the president was shocking and embarrassing.

“The Attorney General of the Federation, as the nation’s number one chief law officer, should have advised the President that a person who is not a party in a suit cannot be given the proceeds of a judgment.”

A Federal High Court, which sat in Enugu, had awarded to the litigants, 41.8 billion Naira, as compensation for the massacre of people in Zaki Biam and environs resulting from military invasion of the communities.

Following series of negotiations between the litigants and the Federal Government, the 41.8 billion Naira was negotiated downward to eight billion Naira which the government agreed to pay to the ‎people.

ACN Urges ICC To Investigate Baga Carnage, Calls It Crime Against Humanity

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has claimed that the killing of about 185 people, in Baga, Borno State, “may constitute crimes against humanity which should attract the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

The Desolated Baga Town after clash between the JTF and members of Boko Haram left at least 187 dead

According to the opposition party, the federal government should be investigated by the ICC because it is “either unwilling or unable to prosecute those involved, going by precedence.

“Either unwilling or unable to prosecute these crimes, despite the deceptive assurances by those at the helm, hence the ICC must immediately beam its search-light on the situation in Nigeria.”

The party made this known in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday, where the party argued that “far beyond the justifiable call for a judicial commission of inquiry into the Baga massacre, it is time for leaders under whose watch these killings are being perpetrated, to be held to account.”

The ACN noted that “the killings in Baga, like previous ones in the areas where Boko Haram and the military Joint Task Force (JTF) have been engaged in clashes, are undoubtedly a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population – the definition of crimes against humanity which is one of the four groups of crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC.”

Noting that similar large scale extra judicial killing that occurred in Odi in Bayelsa State and  Zaki-Biam in Benue State occurred before 1 July 2002, when the Rome Statute setting up the ICC came into force, ACN argues that “the killings in the north, especially at Baga, fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the global court.”

The party blamed President Goodluck Jonathan, for the Baga killings for “failing to distinguish between support for security agencies battling the insurgents in the north and the incitement of the same forces against civilians who are caught in the cross fire.”

”When the President issued his tactless vituperation against community leaders, and by extension hapless civilians, during his visit to Borno and Yobe States, we warned that he was further victimising the victims of the insurgents’ attack. That action helped to set the stage for the mindless massacre in Baga,” the party said.

It is estimated that about 3,000 lives have being claimed in the violent insurgency which started in 2008, following the killing of Boko Haram’s leader by Nigeria’s security operatives.

According to the ACN, those engaged in the killings, including the Boko Haram sect, “cannot and must not get away with these heinous crimes” the party insisted.

It also noted the only reasons that the killing and maiming of innocent citizens have continued unabated in Nigeria is because such killings in the past as in Odi and Zaki Biam, went unpunished.

”Enough is enough! Even in countries at war, innocent citizens are not being daily mowed to death either by insurgents or state forces, as we are experiencing in Nigeria. It is clear that the Nigerian government is” the party declared.

Foreign Troops

Meanwhile, the ACN has urged the National Assembly to investigate how troops from foreign countries became part of the JTF troops battling the insurgents in the north

The party said this is important to find out who authorized the deployment of foreign troops in Nigeria and what their mandates are.

”We know that international troop deployments are authorized at sub-regional, continental or global levels. It is therefore important to find which body authorized the deployment of foreign troops to Nigeria, the same troops that are now said to have participated in killing and maiming of innocent Nigerian citizens,” it said.

Media chat: You are wrong about Odi, Obasanjo tells Jonathan

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday rebuffed claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that the army invasion of Odi – a small community in Bayelsa state – in 1999 was a failure.

During last Sunday’s presidential media chat, President Jonathan had said that the invasion of Odi ordered by Mr Obasanjo in 1999 was a failure.
He had said: “After that invasion, myself and the governor entered Odi…and saw some dead people. Most of the people that died in Odi were mostly old men, women and children, none of the militants was killed.

“If bombarding Odi was to solve the problem, then it was never solved. If the attack on Odi had solved the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta, then the Yar’ Adua government would not have come up with the Amnesty programme. So, that should tell you that the attack on Odi never solved the militancy problem and we had more challenges after that attack on Odi.”

Reacting to these assertions, Femi Fani-Kayode, who served as Special Assistant on Public Affairs and subsequently Minister of Aviation during Mr Obasanjo regime, released a press statement claiming that the invasion of Odi not only killed the militants but decimated their capacity to wage acts of terror against the state.

The statement reads: “During a live broadcast of the Presidential Media Chat to the nation on the evening of November 18, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the military operation in Odi by the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1999, which was ordered by President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not solve the problem or stop the killing of soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians in the Niger Delta area by the terrorists and militants. He also said that all he saw in Odi after he went there on an official visit as Deputy Governor were the dead bodies of old people. With the greatest respect to Mr. President this is factually incorrect. He has either forgotten the relevant facts or he has been misinformed. Whichever way he is mistaken and it is important for those of us that proudly served the Obasanjo administration to respond to him in order to clarify the issues, clear the air and set the record straight for the sake of history and posterity.

“I had the privilege of being briefed about all the facts by President Olusegun Obasanjo himself and Col. Kayode Are, the former DG of the SSS, immediately after the Presidential Media Chat and I believe that it is appropriate to share some of those facts with members of the Nigerian public given the grave assertion and serious charge that President Jonathan has made. Those facts are as follows:
Why Army invaded Odi

“Five policemen and four soldiers were killed by a group of Niger Delta militants when they tried to enter the town of Odi in Bayelsa State in order to effect their arrest. This happened in 1999. After the brutal killing of these security personnel, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the then Governor of Bayelsa State, Governor Alamieyeseigha, to identify, locate, apprehend and hand over the perpetrators of that crime.

“The Governor said that he was unable to do so and President Obasanjo, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, took the position that security personnel could not be killed with impunity under his watch without a strong and appropriate response from the Federal Government. Consequently he sent the military in, to uproot and kill the terrorists and to destroy their operational base which was the town of Odi. The operation was carried out with military precision and efficiency and it’s objectives were fully achieved. The terrorists were either killed and those that were not killed fled their operational base in Odi. They were uprooted, weakened, demoralised and completely dispersed. That was the purpose of the whole exercise and that purpose was achieved. The truth is that the killing of security agents and soldiers with impunity by the Niger Delta militants virtually stopped after the operation in Odi and remained at a bare minimum right up until the time that President Obasanjo left power eight years later in 2007. I advise those that doubt this to go and check the records.

“The same thing was done in Zaki-Biam in Benue State in the North-central zone of Nigeria in 2001 after 19 soldiers were murdered in cold blood and then brutally beheaded by some terrorists from that area. Again after the Federal Government’s strong military response in Zaki Biam, the killing of security personnel with impunity stopped. The objectives of the military operations in both Odi and Zaki-Biam were to stop such killings, to eliminate and deal a fatal blow to those that perpetrated them and to discourage those that may seek to carry out such barbarous butchery and mindless violence in the future.

“Those were the objectives and nothing more and clearly those objectives were achieved. There is no doubt that after Odi, there were still unrest, agitations, protests, kidnappings and the blowing up and sabotage of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area but there were hardly any more attacks on or killing of soldiers and security personnel by the terrorists and militants because they knew that to do that would attract a swift and forceful reaction and terrible retribution from the Nigerian military.
Invasions objective achieved

“To stop and deter those attacks and killings was the objective of President Obasanjo and that objective was achieved. President Goodluck Jonathan was therefore in error when he said that Odi did not solve the problem of killings in the Niger Delta area by the Niger Delta militants. Not only did it stop the killings but it is also an eloquent testimony of how to deal with terrorists, how to handle those that kill our security personnel with impunity and how to deter militants from killing members of our civilian population and thinking that they can get away with it. If President Obasanjo had not taken that strong action at that time, many more of our civilian population and security personnel would have been killed by the Niger Delta militants between 1999 and 2007.

“By doing what he did at Odi and Zaki-Biam, President Obasanjo saved the lives of many and put a stop to the killings and terrorism that had taken root in the Niger Delta area prior to that time.”

The former Aviation minister also said Mr Obasanjo’s comments last week on how to solve the Boko Haram problem were misconstrued and misrepresented in certain quarters.

“He never said that the Odi treatment should be applied to Boko Haram or that such action is appropriate in these circumstances. What he said was that a solution ought to have been found or some sort of action ought to have been taken sooner rather than allow the problem to fester over time like a bad wound and get worse.

“There can be no doubt that he was right on this because, according to President Jonathan’s own Chief of Army Staff, no less than 3000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last two years alone. That figure represents approximately the same number of people that were killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland and the British mainland in the 100 years that the war between them and British lasted and before peace was achieved between the two sides.

“The same number of casualties that the IRA inflicted on the people of the United Kingdom in 100 years, is the same number of casualties that Boko Haram have managed to inflict on our people in just two. This is unacceptable and it is very disturbing. The Federal Government must cultivate the courage and the political will to stop the killings by Boko Haram and to find a permanent solution to the problem.”