Monday, 26 May 2014

Ahead of Biafra remembrance day: MASSOB Calls for trial of ex-president Obasanjo, former Gov. Obi, others for genocide

Late Ojukwu
While the month of may each new year is significant in the life of the struggle for the re-validation of Biafra on may 22nd 2000, when the flag was hoisted at No. 175, faulks road Aba. It is also on May 30, 1967 that Dim Emeka Ojukwu declared the republic of Biafra.

It is also on May 22, 2008 that MASSOB in commemoration of the 41st anniversary of Biafra, the leadership had protested the continued killing and unlawful detention of members of the organization in Nigeria.
The group had to walk from Okwe to Enugu Via Owerri, but the protest was terminated at Akabor, in Ikeduru L.G.A of Imo State because Gov. Ikedi Ohakim drafted hundreds of fierce looking policemen who barricaded the road with armored personnel carriers (APC) vehicles.
As MASSOB marks its 14th year of the re-birth of the new Biafran struggle and 47th Biafra anniversary as an independent republic, the body has renewed its earlier call for the United Nations (UN) to try former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and all those who committed atrocities against members of MASSOB, including Mr. Peter Obi and Chief Achike Udenwa.
11th May 2006 also marked an era of horror and death in the commercial nerve centre of Onitsha when the immediate past Governor, Mr. Peter Obi had deployed over 2000 federal troops drafted from Kogi, Edo, Lagos and FCT Abuja in a major offensive against members of national association of road transport owners (NARTO), Anambra Vigilant Service (AVS) and MASSOB over who controls motor parks and markets.
The federal troops who were mainly of Hausa- Fulani stock were issued shoot @ sight order and headed by a Deputy inspector General of Police (DIG), Mr. John Haruna (now late). The police killed at will including students, traders, a pregnant woman Mrs. Chioma Awah and MASSOB members of over 3,000, many are still missing.
I can recall on many occasions when policemen in Anambra State had paraded the corpses of Igbo youths it had claimed were members of MASSOB who opened fire at them and were consequently gunned down.
At another occasion in Owerri during such similar parade of corpses when pressed by journalists to show the weapons with which police officers were attacked, the leader of the bomb squad  who claimed to be an expert, proceeded to display a rotten, rusty old metal water pipe and a rocket launcher which he promptly claimed was a bomb in the model of the farmed Ogbunigwe that was used by the Biafra troops during the civil war.
I have also seen scores of innocent looking Igbo youths whom the police claimed were armed robbers but on being questioned by journalists, the youths only admitted to being members of MASSOB who were going for a rally at Abakaliki, Ebonyi State or Ezinifite in Aguata, Anambra State but were intercepted and brought to the station as armed robbers.
For police to show evidence of their criminal intentions, the police would parade few rusty Dane guns and hand made pistols that any discerning eye would know, come straight from police exhibit room.
For the record, it is a known fact that MASSOB had from inception in September 13,  1999 adopted a non- violent and peaceful approach to its campaign, as an ex- police officer, I would want to see the police, State Security Service (SSS) and occasionally the army which had all been involved in the killing of MASSOB members to come up with hard evidence to controvert the movement’s claim to non- violence and unarmed struggle.
In the course of this piece, the zonal leader of MASSOB in Enugu west, Mr. Ike Ekwe gave one account to justify these killings, “In May 2008, my members were traveling in a 22 seater commercial bus to a rally and was intercepted by the police at Awgu in Aninri L.G.A of Enugu State.
After a thorough search of my members bodies and vehicle during which nothing incriminating was found, the bus was asked to move on, but a short distance later, it was overtaken by two police Hilux vans which forced the bus to stop”.
From the Hilux vans, about fourteen policemen emerged and suddenly opened fire on the defenseless occupants of the bus.
Twenty-two of my members died in the shooting by the policemen and their bodies were also taken away in the police vans and never to be heard of again”. Mr. Ike Ekwe narrated.

The State Security Service (SSS), police and Army have never denied reports that hundreds of Igbo youths were short dead on the many occasions that they had tried to arrest Chief Ralph Uwazurike at Okwe, Umulolo near Okigwe and Onitsha.
Calling for the trial of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, MASSOB said the ex-President as a dictator instigated the killing and destruction of Odi community in Bayelsa in 1999 as well as in Zaka Ibiam of Benue State in which hundreds of people were per-judicially killed and properties valued several millions of naira destroyed in the joint military attack.
Genocide, MASSOB said is genocide all over the world. If col. Mengistu Halie Mariain, the ex-dictator and former Ethiopian leader could be sentenced on May 2008 and Slobodan Milosevic post- humously indicted for the death of over 2000 people of Kosovo, I don’t see the rationale while former Nigerian President, Obj, Mr. Peter Obi and Achike Udenwa who committed more per-judicial murder would not be charged as fairness, equity and justice demands.
Also speaking from Owerri, Imo state on this matter, leader of MASSOB, Barr. (Chief) Ralph Uwazuruike, yesterday maintained that former Gov. of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi and his Imo State counterpart, Achike Udenwa must be tried in court in due course.
Uwazuruike had insisted that MASSOB has the evidence, facts and figures of these killings and would present them at the appropriate time.
He added that he still stand on the Biafra international conference communiqué of October 18, 2003, “that governors of eastern states be mindful of the laws on crime against humanity and that those who collaborated with federal security agencies in the murder of MASSOB members will be held accountable even years after they must have left office”.



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