Again, Ortom Buries Security Aide

By Denen Achussah

The internment of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Christopher Dega (retd), makes it the second in six years of a top security aide to Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom.

It means twice in six years, gunmen have claimed the lives of the Governor’s aides on Special Security. The two have been killed variously.

First, it was Denen Igbana, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Security, in 2016. Igbana could not make it, after suffering severe gunshot wounds in the early hours of 20th May, 2016.

Igbana was a retired senior Non Commission Officer of Police. His killing was the reason Terwase Akwaza a.k.a Gana returned to the trenches, after Gana’s first amnesty.

No fewer than 14 persons, plus the then Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties were arrested, in connection with the murder. They were charged for criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and illegal possession of fire arms and punishable under Penal Code Law of Benue State and Section 3(1) of Robbery and Fire Arms (Special Provisions) Act Cap.R.11 LFN 2004.

According to a police report, on 20th May, 2016, one Ephraim Tyover reported to the Police “D” Division Makurdi, that Igbana was trailed to his house by unknown gunmen who opened fire on him and killed him.

Gana and 22 others never turned up to answer the charges. All the accused persons were later freed by order of court.

And Gana, the principal accused person, sometimes in July, 2016, took to his heels. He had earlier told Channels TV in an exclusive interview that he did not kill Igbana. He nevertheless denied any involvement.

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In a speech at the burial of Igbana, in Vandeikya Local Government Area of the state, Ortom vowed that killers of Igbana would be brought to book no matter where they go, urging them to confess to God and publicly for they, including their families will know no peace.

Ortom was pained that the killers targeted to smear his amnesty programme. Igbana, according to the Governor was instrumental to the success of the programme.

As if that was not enough, on 2nd June, 2021, yet to be identified gunmen assassinated AIG Dega (retd) in the Bukuru area of Plateau State.

Ortom, in condemning the attack said AIG Dega was very active even in retirement.

“Retired AIG Dega served with me here and this is someone who has retired but it not tired and very very active. So for him to have been murdered in the manner they did, a retired AIG gunned down. This is very sad,” Ortom said.

He also sympathised with the family of the ex-top cop and urged security agencies to apprehend killers of his aide.

Meanwhile, the Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong was outraged over the killing. His reaction was conveyed in a statement by the Director of Press & Public Affairs to the Governor of Plateau State, Makut Simon Macham.

He said the murder of the retired senior police officer is condemnable and will not go unpunished.

Lalong said: “My heart goes out to the family of the deceased and to the Government and people of Benue State over this sad development. I have been in touch with the police and other security agencies in the State with a clear directive to swiftly arrest the perpetrators of this heinous crime and bring them to justice.”

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The Plateau State Governor therefore, appealed to the people of the state to do more in being security conscious, gathering and passing relevant information to the security agencies as well as using the informal security architecture for necessary action in crime prevention and immediate response.

In his active days in the Nigeria Police, Dega served as the Commissioner for Police in Borno and Edo command, retiring as AIG, following 35 years of service.

He will be buried in the troubled Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State on Saturday, 26th June, 2021.

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