Former Benue state governor, Dr. Gabbriel Suswam was released from the custody of Directorate of State Security, DSS following partial completion of ongoing investigation on arms and other items allegedly recovered from him. This is coming just as a group of elders from his state alleged that the former governor’s travails is political vendetta. Suswam was released following representations from his lawyers with assurances for him to be available should his attention be required for further investigation.
In calling for his release and freedom, the group, Committee of Concerned Benue Elders yesterday warned against the politicization of the earlier detention of the Suswam.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the group said the attempts to link the former Governor with a well known militia leader, Mr. Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as Gana, was tantamount to “giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it” The group in the statement signed by Chief Michael Umenger said it was absurd to link the said militia leader with the ex-governor, and urged the DSS not to get entangled in local, Benue politics.
The former Governor Suswam, was picked up by the secret service at the weekend and is being investigated over alleged possession of arms and alleged links with the Militia Leader, Agwaza, among But in a signed statement yesterday, Umenger said if the DSS were serious about knowing Gana’s whereabouts or activities, the proper person to ask was the incumbent governor of Benue state.
The statement reads in part: “It is at once absurd, preposterous and ridiculous that anyone, least of all the DSS, should link the ex-governor, a lawyer, with the activities of the militia leader, Terwase Akwaza alias Gana. We submit that Dr. Suswam is a victim of political persecution, primitive blackmail and executive vendetta.”
“In Benue state today, if not the whole country, everyone knows that Gana is a personal friend of Gov. Samuel Ortom. But beyond this, the governor also has an official relationship with the militia leader. He traced Gana to his hideouts in the bush, brought him to Makurdi, gave him a most curious amnesty, and handed him licenses to run his schools. The group claimed that Mr. Agwaza’s dealings and association with the present administration in Benue state was an open secret he fell out of grace with top officials of administration.
“The Benue state government gave Akwaza or Gana and his associates the lucrative contract of collecting produce revenue all over the state. He was given full complement of security details and unlimited access to Government House Makurdi”
The statement claimed. “So, if the DSS is making enquiries about Gana, his activities and whereabouts, the service should contact the state Benue government.
The statement further reads: “It might interest the DSS and the general public to know that throughout Suswam’s eight-year tenure, Gana was a persona non grata in public and operated only in the shadows or outside the state. It was under the present government that Gana/Akwaza became a titled and chauffeur-driven public figure, with a juicy contract, security details and convoys.
“We urge the DSS to arraign Suswam or release him immediately as doing otherwise will amount to a violation of his fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the constitution. We counsel security agencies against being used by political forces in Benue state to even scores with the former governor who they see as a political threat to their respective political ambitions” the group stated.
The group, said it was firmly persuaded that the DSS would refuse pressures by self-Serving politicians seeking to control the political momentum in the state by towing the path of professionalism.
The group, however, thanked the DSS for granting the detained former governor access to his wife and lawyer since his detention in their facility