A human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has asked Benue state government to institute a commission of enquiry on the recent killing of Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as Gana.
Gana, who was accused of being a militia leader of a criminal gang in the state, was killed by troops of operation AYEM AKPATUMA III.
In an exclusive telephone conversation with our correspondent on Sunday, Falana said it was wrong for state governors to throw their hands in the air in hopelessness when human rights are violated in their domains.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria argued that state governments were not at the mercy of the federal government, urging Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state to be courageous in tackling rights violations in the state through the instrumentality of the law.
“I have told the governor of Benue state repeatedly, ‘don’t cry, and don’t say you are helpless.’
“Just look at what happened recently in Benue, they (traditional rulers and clerics) were bringing a suspect to him (Governor Ortom), the Nigerian Army killed him (Gana).
“So, you either setup a judicial commission of enquiry; there is a corona inquest law in that state. So, the corona should do an investigation.
“Therefore, the state governments are not at the mercy of the federal government; they (states) put themselves at the mercy of the federal government. That is the problem,” Falana said.
It would be recalled that the Benue state government and the military authorities bickered over the circumstances that led to the late kingpin’s murder.
Addressing journalists in Doma LGA of Nasarawa state, headquarters of the 4 Special Forces Command where the lifeless body of Gana was paraded, the Commandant, Major General Moundhey Gadzama Ali had said: “I invited you this evening to witness another breakthrough by troops on operation AYEM AKPATUMA III
“At about 1200hrs today, we received strategic information on the movement of the dreaded bandit named Terwase Akwaza Agbadu AKA Gana along Gbese-Gboko-Makurdi road.
“Troops on operation AYEM AKPATUMA III moved swiftly and mounted snap road blocks along routs at 1300hrs, there was a meeting engagement with the convoy of the dreaded bandit AKA Gana,” he had explained.