Sunday, September 20, 2020
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Extra – judicial killing of High Profile Criminals

Nigeria witnessed the death of two high profile criminals within a spate of the  last two weeks.

  They were Terwase Akwaza alias   Gana in Benue state, and Honest Diagbara  in  Rivers. In all, while many were relieved with their death since they were considered as nuisance to the society, the manner of their killings left much to be desired about our security men.

The security men  who handled their arrests  or tried to nab them ended up compounding issues  involving the two men  instead of addressing them.  Many questions are left unanswered as a  result of  their killings.  For Gana, controversies continue to trail the killing of the wanted Benue crime kingpin. Report had it that  he  was killed on Tuesday, September 8, at Yandev, near Gboko on his way to Makurdi to meet Governor Samuel Ortom, after  he   allegedly surrendered at an elaborate ceremony at the  Katsina Ala Satdium.

 

The military   said he was killed during a “fire fight”.  Commander of the Four Special Forces Command, Doma local government area, Brigadier General Maude Ali Gadzama  was quoted  as saying  that Gana was killed during a fire exchange   with soldiers on the ill-fated day.

The questions that follow are: How come nobody in the long convoy was injured in an exchange of fire between the two parties as claimed by the military? Was the Military not aware that the criminal had surrendered and at that point no longer armed? Where did he get the weapons he used in gun fight against the military after he allegedly surrendered his guns at the Katsina-Ala stadium. Many more questions can be asked.

It is no wonder therefore, that Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom, disputed the military’s claim. According to Governor Ortom, Gana and other members of his gang were on their way to Markurdi, the  State’s  capital to formalize the  amnesty offer with  the state government after they accepted to abandon all forms of criminality, including surrender of their weapons.

According to reports, no fewer than 172 militia boys, including Gana, had surrendered earlier in  the day at an event attended by traditional rulers, priests, and local government officials. Governor Ortom confirmed that Gana came out after several years of hiding and surrendered for the amnesty programme. The Governor, however, said the gang leader, who had a bounty of N50m on his head was snatched from a government’s convoy which was transporting the repentant militants in the Gboko area of the state by soldiers. If the later report is true, the manner of his death is unacceptable and deserves to be probed to unravel the mystery surrounding his demise.

 In a similar vein, the police authorities in Rivers also   arrested a suspected kidnapper said to be the most wanted person in the state, Honest Digbara, popularly known as Boboski.

The gang leader, who hailed from from Nwidera, Gokana Local Government Area was nabbed at Korokoro community in Khana Local Government, where he was hiding with his gang members. This was confirmed last  Saturday by the State’s  Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, at the state police headquarters in Port Harcourt.

The Commissioner of Police  said the arrest of the criminal followed credible information by members of the public. To Mukan, Boboski and his gang members were responsible for the kidnapping and killing of one Barrister Emelogu after collecting ransom.

He also blamed the group for the killing of a Divisional Police Officer in Afam Division, Moses Egbede, killing of a Civil Defence official at Glo pipeline, the kidnap and killing of Chief Mbu of Ogu/Bolo after collecting N7million as ransom among others.

“This suspect is responsible for most of the criminal activities in the state. He was responsible for the kidnap of Barrister Emelogu who was killed after collecting ransom, he is also responsible for the killing of a Divisional Crime Officer Afam Division, SP Moses Egbede, as well as the killing of a soldier and personnel of Civil Defence at Gio pipeline in Ogoni last year, killing of two Policemen at a Federal Highway at Botem among others,” he said.

Also, several attempts made by Boboski to disappear was resisted by the police. Sequel to his arrest, Governor Nyesom Wike had  placed a N30 million bounty on Boboski’s head, for any member of the public who would provide useful information that will lead to his arrest.

 But to the surprise of Nigerians Boboski  died shortly after his arrest  from “injuries”. Civil society groups said he died as a result of foul play. In summary, substantial evidence suggest that Boboski like Gana, were extra judicially killed.

 As its well known,  extra judicial killings are  against  the laws of the land and  should never become a “new normal” no matter the circumstances. It is a settled mater in the nation’s  jurisprudence that no matter the offence, the suspect  is  deemed innocent until  otherwise decided by court of the land.

 By this form of killing, critical information that would have been extracted or gotten from such high profile criminal figures would be lost.

In the past security officials were implicated as accomplices to such criminals. We hope that the hurried execution of these criminals was not meant to destroy information or evidence that might have implicated some people in the security establishment and others in high places.

Besides, information extracted from criminals like Gana would have been useful for future response by security officials to criminal activities in the area.

It is for the above reasons that we urge the Benue state Government to institute a probe into killing of Gana.

On the whole,  call  on the security officials to  put a definite end to extra-judicial killing of criminals no matter the urge, as such acts are against the principles of the the rule of law just as much as they desecrate the nation’s democracy.

We also call for a comprehensive probe of the the extra-judicial murder of Gana

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