By Moses Uzer; Katsina-Ala, Mathew Ajai-Kume, Godwin Edeh and Moses Mbaiorga; Gboko
More details have emerged on how the immediate elder brother to Sen Gabriel Suswam, Chief Dr Terkula Suswam was assassinated.
The ugly incident took place Tuesday in his country home in Anyiin, Logo Local Government Area of Benue when Dr Suswam went to supervise the ongoing renovation located directly in front of his residence at about 7:30 p.m. That was when the assassins attacked and killed him.
The Voice learnt that he was killed without security personnel.
An eye witness and relative to the deceased, Mr Terwase Tingir said the unknown gunmen came from the direction of Ugba in a red Carina 2 and quickly turned to the opposite direction where they were coming.
According to Mr Tingir, it was at this point that Chief Suswam discovered that the people in the vehicle were after his life. He made efforts to run for his dear life but it was too late as the assassins shot him five (5) times and disappeared, leaving his remains and those of his aide, Mr Solomon Nor on the ground.
Investigation revealed that, military personnel appeared about five (5) minutes after the attack and conveyed their bodies to NKST General Hospital, Anyiin and deposited same in the mortuary.
In a telephone interview with the Ter Logo, Chief Jimmy Meeme, the traditional ruler wondered why notorious and heartless armed youths would take the life of an altruistic and illustrious son in the community who had been contributing to the socio-economic development of the area.
Chief Meeme who said Chief Suswam has established Ashiwaves 99.9 FM in Katsina-Ala and Ashi Polytechnic in Anyiin prayed God to open the eyes of heartless youths so that they would stop killing and other criminal activities for peace and development to flourish in Sankara.
While condemning the assasination of the Tiv honourific title holder, ‘The Zege Iwanger-I-Tiv’, the traditional ruler commended the Benue state government in the area of security but called on government to tighten security by blocking all loopholes.
Meanwhile, the immediate younger brother to the deceased and Senator, representing Benue North-East Senatorial District, Sen. Gabriel Suswam, through his Media Aide, Mr Batholomew Bede called on all to remain calm and not to take the law into their hands as they mourn the death of their brother.
“We must grieve the death of our elder brother, friend and family and whatever he was to every one of us, but let’s not over react or go overboard,” he said.
Also, the Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Terver Akase condemned the assassination of Chief Suswam and promised to leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators of such dastardly act are arrested and prosecuted.
The press statement quoted Governor Ortom as saying, “his administration will give security operatives maximum support to ensure that killers of Dr Suswam are arrested and made to face consequences of their action.”
It stresses that Governor Ortom’s administration would not surrender Benue to criminals while assuring that killers and kidnapers operating in Sankera axis of the state won’t go unpunished.
The statement sympathises with Senator Suswam and the rest of the family, as well as the entire people of Logo Local Government Area over the painful death of Chief Suswam and pray God to grant the deceased eternal rest and his family the strength to bear the loss.
Also speaking, Logo, Ukum, Gboko Local Government Council chairmen have expressed shock over Chief Suswam’s assasination.
Chairman Logo Local Government Council, Terseer Agber has expressed shock over the assassination of Chief Dr Terkula Suswam by yet to be identified gunmen.
According to him, the gruesome killing of Chief Dr Suswam is “quite devastating” for the fact the deceased is a peacemaker and employer of labour who is even not active in partisan politics.
He said, there is no adjective to describe the loss as Sankera, Benue state and Nigeria at large will greatly miss his wise counsel and tenacity in resolving conflicting issues.
“The killing of Chief Dr Terkula Suswam is really quite devastating because he is no longer active in politics and had been working round the clock to ensure there is peace in Sankera and Benue state as a whole.
“Apart from being one of the top employers of labour in Benue state, he is the one that has been helping us from Fulani herdsmen and criminal activities in Sankera now.
“I lack an adjective to quantify his loss because if we had three of his kind Benue state would have developed beyond its present status,” he said.
The Ukum council boss, Steve Ayua also said he “received the news about the death of Dr Suswam with shock.”
While describing the deceased as a man who “lived for peace,” Ayua who spoke with The Voice via telephone through his Media Assistant, Mr Timothy Vihimga labelled the incident as “highly unfortunate” as he called on the opinion leaders to come with lasting solution over Sankera crisis.
Similarly, Gboko Local Government Council Chairman, James Kachina also described the assassination of Chief Suswam as “a very sad event.”
He said, “people like Chief Suswam need not to be eliminated because he is a protective shield in Sankera and his exit means there is no protection in that axis again.”
Kachina encouraged the security operatives to fish out the assassins to ascertain their mission as he prayed God to grant eternal rest and give the Suswam family the fortitude to bear the lost.
Again, the President Sankera Development Association (SADA), Gboko branch, Emmanuel Chiahemba also expressed displeasure over the sad incident describing it as unfortunate.
He described Chief Suswam as a courageous man and one of the pillars in Sankera geo-political axis.
He said the assassination of Chief Suswam is an indication that the society has completely lost its values and security architecture.
“If we continue killing illustrious sons in Sankera who will stand for us, the SADA president asked. He opined that “the best way to resolve differences is by peaceful negotiations not arms and ammunition,” noting that the time is long overdue for stakeholders in Sankera to sit and put lasting solution to crises that have engulfed them.
“It is time for Sankera illustrious sons and daughters to come together and fashion out creative ways to end the matter,” he submitted.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, CP Audu Madaki has ordered an immediate and discrete investigation into the murder of Dr Suswam and his aide.
According to a press release signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, Benue State Police Command, DSP Catherine Anene, the commissioner, while commiserating with family members and friends of the deceased has ordered a discreet investigation to ensure that the perpetrators of this gruesome murder are apprehended and justice is served.
Until his death, Dr Terkula Suswam was honoured with the Tiv Chieftaincy title of “Zege Iwanger-I-Tiv” (The Illumination of Tiv Nation) by Tor Tiv the IV, HRM Late Dr Alfred Akawe Torkura and he was the first Tiv person to own a radio station.