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Brother of late militia leader Gana arrested over N300m ransom money

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Terkula Akwaza, elder brother of Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as Gana, has been arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team.
It will be recalled that Gana was shot dead by soldiers while heading to the Benue State Government House in Makurdi after he was offered amnesty by the government. He was accused of kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism.
Terkula was arrested for assisting his brother to save money collected as ransom and also for investing it in property, even knowing it was proceeds of crime.
An audit of Terkula’s account revealed that Gana deposited over N300 million into the account within three years.
Aside from 47-year-old Terkula, three other gang members of Gana were arrested.
The suspects are Saatee Undi, Terhile Tsabee and Henry Terkula.
The operation, which led to the arrest of the four suspects, was headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
The Police disclosed that Gana and his gang, sometimes in 2018, kidnapped a Medical Doctor, his friend and the friend’s son and they killed all three even after collecting a ransom of N7.5 million for their release.
Terkula, however, shocked IRT Operatives when he told them he was not sad over the death of his brother.
His words: “I’m happy now that my brother has been killed.
“We will have peace in our family.
“I will stop running up and down now because my brother was hunting me.
“Security agents, who were looking for my brother, were also hunting my family members and I.
“Government can take my entire brother’s property.
“He got them through crime.
“I don’t need them!”
Terkula disclosed that he assisted Gana in saving his money and using part of it to buy property for him because he was afraid of his brother.
He added that he also didn’t want people to think that he was jealous of his brother’s ill-gotten wealth.
He said since his brother took to crime, the whole family had been on the run.
Terkula explained: “Gana started his criminal life in 1993.
“He started smoking Indian hemp.
“We didn’t know what to do about him.
“In that same year, a truck got stolen in the market and when it was found, it was discovered that Gana stole the truck.
“He was beaten.
“He ran away from the village and returned five years later with so many boys.
“The boys were loyal to him and worked on the farm.
“Later, they all moved into robbery.
“He became so notorious and highly dreaded to the extent that politicians started using him to kill opponents.
“My family ran away from Benue State due to his activities.
“I came back in 2016 after he was granted amnesty by the state government in 2015 and given a slot to collect taxes for farm produce.
“He set up a company and made me the Managing Director.
“We were paying salaries to people working for the company and remitting the government’s percentage.”
Terkula said everything appeared fine, but then Gana later that year was accused of killing a Special Adviser to the Governor.
He was declared wanted.
Gana escaped and from his hideout, started sending money to Terkula’s account.
Terkula used the money to buy property and mechanised farm tools for him.
Terkula recalled: “He sent me over N200 million between 2017 and the day he was killed.
He bought property in his children’s name.”
Another suspect, Tsabee, 27, admitted being a member of Gana’s gang.
He said after collecting ransom and killing the Medical Doctor, the gang shared the money.
He got N300,000 as his share.
He recollected: “It was while I was trying to find other means of survival that I met Teerna.
“He is the trusted gang member of Gana.
“Initially, I thought he was a farmer until he told me the truth.
“He explained how they were surviving and said that if I didn’t want to be harassed by Gana’s boys, I should join them.
“I joined them because I needed money.
“Unfortunately, in 2018, we did a job that Teerna decided to execute the victims.
“I had gone to visit Teerna in the bush where they were hiding to beg for money.
“He told me times were hard, that we should go out to hustle.
“We just went out to an area that has a deep hole.
“The hole forces drivers to slow down.
“We planted our gang member there.
“His job was to alert us about oncoming vehicles.
“When our lookout called us, we came out and later discovered that the victim was a Medical Doctor.
“We were four in number and we had an AK47 and a pistol.
“We were able to kidnap the Doctor who was coming to Benue State from Taraba State.
“He was with a friend and his friend’s son.
“We handed him over to Teerna who negotiated with the family.
“The family paid N7.5 million ransom after three weeks.
“I was given N300,000, but I kicked against it.
“Teerna told us to disappear before Gana orders our execution.
“He told us that Gana determines sharing formula.
“We later heard they killed the three victims.
“I don’t know why they killed them.
“Yes, I have seen Gana before at the church in 2015 when he was given amnesty.
“I followed those that came to see him because he was a dreaded lord in our area.
“I have heard so much about him, but that day was the first time I set eyes on him.
“He was a kidnapper, an armed robber and a terrorist.
“Even as a farmer, he gave us trouble.
“We pay him N3,000 every year.
“He will send his children to come and collect the money on his behalf.
“If you have a big farm, you will give N3,000 and a goat every year.
“I’m so happy that he is dead.
“We have suffered a lot in his hands.
“The money that we made from farming, he collected.
“I know I’m a bad person, but with the death of Gana, it will be easy to survive.”
Undi, 24, said he was the person that negotiated the ransom after the Medical Doctor was kidnapped because he understood the Jukum Language.
He also admitted being angry after he was given N250,000 as his share of the ransom.
Undi said: “It was Terhile that took us to Teerna.
“I observed that Terhile was always buoyant and spends money lavishly.
“When I asked him, he told me his money was from kidnapping.
“I decided to follow him.
“He carried me to Teerna’s hideout in the bush.
“His hideout is between Taraba State and Benue State boundary.
“He promised to contact us if there was any need.
“A month later, we went back to his house inside the forest.
“He said there was no money that we should go and work.
“We went out and kidnapped the Medical Doctor, his friend and son.
“We took them to Teerna.
“When we realised they were Jukum people from Taraba State, I was told to negotiate with them.
“They brought the money after three weeks.
“When it was time to collect the money, Teerna sent me out, insisting I could betray them by speaking the language in the forest.
“The next day I was given N250,000.
“But he said they gave N300,000 for me, but since I did not come on time, they removed N50,000 from it.
“We argued with him and he said that the bulk of the money was for Gana.
“He said Gana determines the sharing formula.
“I don’t know why they killed the Doctor.
“The Doctor was alive when we left.
“I have not seen Gana personally, but I have heard so much about him.
“I saw him during the amnesty time.
“He came to church with the governor.”

 

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