Ortom’s Aide’s Murder: Why Former Militants May Return To Forest

Governor Ortom


By Terdue Kingsley Akaakase

It’s been several weeks since the murder of the Senior Special Assistant to the Benue State governor on Security, Mr. Denen Igbana who was murdered in cold blood by yet to be identified assassins. Although arrests have been made including the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties and 8 others, there is still apprehension in the state over the issues surrounding this gruesome death.

The state government through the governor, Samuel Ortom has severally on different occasions expressed its resolve to bring the killers to book not minding their position or status; this actually was proven with the arrest and subsequent detention of the Special Adviser, Arc. Joseph Kyaagba, who has been fingered in the plot alongside a notorious militant, one of those who recently renounced during the state amnesty programme, Mr. Terwase Akwaza popularly known as “ Ghana”.

Although arrests have been made, revelations which have began to question the state government’s sincerity in fishing out the culprits of the matter have began to surface, despite the fact that one of the principal witnesses- Ghana is yet to be apprehended even with the rumoured mention of his implication by the slain governor’s aide.

Already tongues have begun wagging as to the governor’s refusal to arrest Ghana who is known to be close to the governor and was even granted an interview in the governor’s media outfit, Nigeria Oracle, where he tried to exonerate himself of involvement in the matter.

Though it has been gathered that only two days ago, the governor ordered the withdrawal of the heavy armed security men deployed to protect the former militant who has since threatened to return to his forest enclave as he claims his life is threatened with the move.

According to our source that is close to Ghana but only agreed to talk on account of anonymity, the former warlord has expressed fears over his life due to the recent withdrawal of his security retinue.
Our source disclosed that the latter’s fears emanate from the circumstances that surround the Special Adviser’s case. He said Ghana who was known to be close to the governor and the arrested Joseph Kyaagba believes like Joseph, his relationship may have began to severe with the governor due to the secrets he shares with certain members of the cabinet whom now fear for exposure of deals and even involvement in the case.

He said Ghana had fears since him and the Special Adviser on Security matters, Col. Edwin Jando whom he had turned down an offer by the governor to act as go-between during the negotiation process of the amnesty as according to him, he was not comfortable with Col Edwin Jando (rtd) and the late Denen Igbana because they had earlier done some fishy deals which included sale of the arms he used for operations but opted to relate with the arrested Joseph Kyaagba and Bishop Peter Adobo who convinced him to accept the amnesty.

According to him, Ghana’s fears may not be unconnected to the rumour that the detention of the Special Adviser may be as a result of an earlier disagreement between Kyaagba and the late Denen concerning the next phase of the amnesty which Denen had suggested the killing of the arrow heads of the militants including Ghana and the already gruesomely murdered one Pastor for whom Denen was fingered. This suggestion according to him did not go down well with the arrested Adviser as he disagreed with Denen proceeding to murder Pastor as such showing his determination to further his elimination plot. This according to our source has formed the basis of Ghana’s withdrawal to the forest as according to him, with the implication of Kyaagba and the withdrawal of his security it is pointer enough that there may be plans to implicate him in the murder, even as his name has already been bandied as being responsible.

Meanwhile Ghana who has severally (even in the interview with Oracle) insisted that the murderers of Denen Igbana were not from the state has also been quoted to say that the death of the former aide was a result of a deal gone sour. He is quoted to have said the deal that took down the governor’s aide was the kidnap of the wife of popular Benue businessman simply known as OFICON.

According to our information, Ghana often claims the late Denen Igbana had approached him wanting him to arrange for the kidnap of Mrs Gloria Igbu popularly known as Madam Oficon, saying the woman’s husband was wealthy and they would share the proceeds of the ransom.

However when he declined, Denen Igbana arranged boys from Aliade who carried out the kidnap and took the woman to a state in the east and ransom was demanded and paid by the wealthy Ibo man who is still grateful to the slain Assistant and even supplied the drinks at his funeral free of charge.

He said after collecting the ransom, Denen led a team of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)) to rescue the woman. He however failed to settle the boys appropriately. When they complained, he locked up some of them.

Ghana added that Denen Igbana knew the boys were after him when they were released. These same boys brought their colleagues from outside the state to assassinate Denen.

Meanwhile the repentant militant has insisted his innocence while making it clear that with the withdrawal of his security detail he is bound to retreat to the forest to protect himself from being implicated in the murder as already plotted.