We were alarmed when we read one Alhaji Abubakar Tsav’s allegations that Governor Samuel Ortom and his Security Adviser, Colonel Edwin Jando, retired, were behind criminal activities in Benue State.
The former policeman once known as Mr. Augustine Danmagana Tsav before he became a Muslim also made various other false allegations against the Governor and the Adviser hence the need to correct the wrong impression he seeks to create and also set the records straight.
Mr. Augustine Danmagana Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, an avowed critic of the Ortom administration and notable associate of former Governor Gabriel Suswam, claimed that he based his accusations on the statements of a notorious gangster, Mr. Terwase Akwaza, alias Ghana, made during an interview with Channels Television.
Mr. Akwaza stated during the interview that he bought guns from Colonel Jando, retired, several times during his criminal career but when asked to state the period he hesitated for a while before saying it was during the early part of former Governor Suswam’s first tenure.
The Channels reporter confronted the Security Adviser with the allegation and he denied promptly, stating that he did not serve under Suswam and wondered why he should be associated with any of his tenures.
However, faced with one person’s word against another, the former policeman believed the testimony of the gangster.
Mr. Augustine Danmagana Alhaji Tsav proceeded to cast aspersions on the military career of Colonel Jando, retired, by saying he lost his job in the army under a situation that he should not be trusted.
It is on record that during proceedings at the late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the late General Nathaniel Madza, confessed openly that he unjustly framed up Colonel Jando in the 1997 coup and openly sought forgiveness which he was granted and it was widely circulated in the media.
The military authorities also exonerated the colonel.
Yet Alhaji Tsav, for partisan reasons, seeks to cast the former military officer in negative light and attributed political killings in two local governments in the state to him for which he cannot prove his connection.
To underscore the malice he holds against the security adviser, without any proof whatsoever, Mr. Augustine Danmagana Alhaji Abubakar Tsav claims that Governor Ortom and Senator George Akume are determined to hoist Colonel Jando, retired, as the next Tor Tiv.
This cut is most unfair against the retired military officer, other contenders, and the electoral college saddled with the responsibility of electing the Tor Tiv.
It is equally baseless to assert that Governor Ortom sought to recruit the gang leader for his re-election campaign in 2019.
Close watchers of events in Benue State can testify that Governor Ortom neither armed nor used thugs or militia to prosecute his 2015 governorship campaign during which he defeated Alhaji Tsav and his political associates well known for arming thugs.
The Amnesty Program did not focus on Mr. Akwaza.
It’s history indicates that he surrendered on the last day of the third month, and requested a one month extension to enable him persuade more members of his group to also turn in.
However, he surrendered close to one hundred assorted weapons making him the greatest beneficiary of the program by virtue of the weapons and followership that he turned in.
It was impossible to execute all aspects of the program like overseas training under one year.
But Mr. Akwaza was made a revenue agent in order to provide an incentive for him and his group to have a financial base that would discourage them from returning to their old ways as an interim measure.
From the magnitude of the arms recovered, over 600 assorted weapons and ammunition, and the number of people involved, 900, one can say that the first part of the Amnesty Program, the carrot approach, was a huge success.
The peace that pervaded the state in the aftermath and the testimony of indigenes as well as many organizations within and outside Nigeria also reflect the success.
Yet the program, right from the beginning, was designed to be in two parts with the second as the stick approach.
One had thought that as someone with experience in security matters Alhaji Tsav would use better channels of communications to make inputs on rather than playing to the gallery and overstretching his partisanship.
By doing so many take note that he was silent throughout the eight years of the former Governor Suswam’s tenure in spite of the security and other challenges obviously because he was compromised through patronage.
His constant media outings against the Ortom administration should therefore, be dismissed as a partisan campaign to settle political scores.
Special Adviser, Media and ICT.