By Amos Aar, Makurdi
THE Benue State government has called on the Nigerian Army to release the alleged repentant criminals who were apprehended last Monday by Operation Ayem Akpatuma while they were on their way to receive amnesty in Makurdi, the Benue State Capital.
Governor Samuel Ortom, who addressed journalists on Friday at the Government House, Makurdi after an expanded meeting of the State Security Council (SEC) with stakeholders from Sankera axis also requested for the return of items ceased by the army which include an official Toyota Hilux van of the Chairman, Katsina-Ala local government council, Hon. Alfred Atera, as well as government documents, noting that some of the confiscated items were even hired.
The governor expressed worry at the press statement made by the Commander of Operation Ayem Akpatuma, Major General Madzama Maude Ali, that the late Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as Gana, was killed during a shootout.
“I want you to take it as God’s doing because we cannot wake up the dead. As a government, we are waiting for more clarifications from the Nigerian Army on what happened. We will continue to dialogue with the security agencies but we are not going to be confrontational.
“The press statement by the Commander of Operation Ayem Akpatuma was very worrisome. But we have resolved to move forward and we must continue to work and partner with them,” Ortom stated.
He also appealed that if there was any form of prosecution for the arrested youths who were still under the custody of the Army as at the time of filing this report, it should not be by military, as he stated that it is rather the police who should carry out the prosecution if necessary.
Governor Ortom appreciated the Sankera stakeholders for their understanding and encouraged them to sustain their peace efforts.