The spheres and circles of the social media, both print and electronic, have been dominated in the past 24 hours, by the killing of the once notorious warlord, TERWASE AKWAZA, popularly known as Gana,  by the Nigerian Army, With Brigadier General Maude Ali Gadzama, confirming the gruesome killing on national TV.


Well, while many political actors including Senator Shehu Sani from Kaduna State, have questioned the rationale behind this unprofessional act by the Nigerian Army, and the  many other irate Nigerians suspecting a foul play in the process, I feel like that should be a topic for another day.

The bane of this write up rests solely on what the term amnesty entails and  whether the slain warlord really has obtained amnesty.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines amnesty simply as the decision of a government to allow political prisoners go free. And so it goes by the political history that about 5 years ago, Gana was granted amnesty by the Benue State government but due to some political schisms in the executive caucus of the state, there was a fallout between Gana and the state Governor.

The slain warlord had retreated into a hideout in the bush and for over four years, he was at large with even the Nigerian Army finding it impossible to arrest him. How then did he fall an easy catch to his foes after four years? This is largely due to the fact that the real amnesty was beckoning to him.

In the African tradition and within most of the cultures in Nigeria, it is believed that every name given to a child has a meaning. So, Gana’s last (not surname), ‘Terwase’ literally means ‘The Lord helps’. One may ask how this applies to the idea of amnesty? Well, looking at the events that heralded Gana ‘s surrender and eventual assassination, you ‘d agree with me that God wanted the man to submit to genuine amnesty (repentance from his evil lifestyles).

First, as seen in the picture, the warlord had gone to his elders, chiefs and kingmakers of his people, bowed to them and surrendered peacefully. This was unlike Gana, whose mere mentioning scared everyone in the zone. So, he respected his elders, downed his tools and was ready for peace.

He was taken away from a vehicle he drove in together with his local government chairman en route the state capital. Now, The Holy Book says there is time for everything.

Everyone knew he was going to drop dead someday, so this was the moment. But the manner he answered his death is sine qua non. Dying in the bosom of peace is far more preferable and related to amnesty than being taken as a prisoner.

If the true amnesty as according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is when you are forgiven and told to go free, then sure, Gana had obtained one. The Nigerian Army might have killed the body, but the soul of TERWASE AKWAZA, aka Gana, was forgiven by his people, the real people he had maimed, killed and looted. So to me, and to any intuitive thinker, this is the real amnesty.

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Written by Hiam Terhile


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