INDIGENES of Asaba have concluded plans to mark the 43 anniversary of the massacre that took place on the west of the river Niger during the Nigerian Civil War.
The event is coming against the background of orchestrated inter ethnic acrimony and campaign of calumny against the people of Asaba over the choice of the town as the capital of the State
The week long event started on October 3, with inter denominational services in churches throughout the country, Europe and America where survivors of the massacre held special mass service in memory of those that were killed in non combat situation in Asaba on October 9, 1967 by federal troops.
One of the survivors of the tragedy Dr. Ifeanyi Uraih told Vanguard that “we have forgiven those who perpetuated this act of evil against Asaba people, but it is difficult for us to forget that our parents, brothers, sisters and loved ones were brutally massacred in cold blood and the entire nation closed their eyes as if it was right to perpetuate this kind of atrocities against your own people just because of their linguistic affinity”.
Yesterday, a foundation stone for the commemorative monument was laid at one of the mass burial sites in Ogbe Osowa,. The names of all those killed were engraved on the monument. There was candle light procession from Ogbe Osowa to Asaba Arcade
The activities will also feature a public lecture by Professor Emmanuel Nwanze, in Asaba to highlight the contributions of Asaba people to the building of the Nigerian nation . It is expected that Asaba people from within and outside the state, Nigerians and foreigners from U.S, Europe, Asia and other African countries will attend the event.
This year’s event came at a time when indigenes of Asaba were raising their voices over the orchestrated campaign of hatred, incitement and calumny by politicians who are using the argument that Asaba was favoured as the capital of Delta State in August 1991 to deny the town of the required infrastructure.
In a petition addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan and Gov. Emmanuel Udughan some prominent indigenes of Asaba observed that while it has suited some of these politicians to use the instrument of government to “acquire our communal lands and sell at prohibitive prices, they have made it a life time preoccupation to spread vile campaigns of hatred against Asaba people that they used the late Maryam Babangida to influence the former military head of state to cite the capital of Delta State in Asaba.
Let it be stated that Asaba like Calabar, Lokoja and Lagos played their historical role in the evolution of Nigeria and deserve to be treated on an equal keel with its counterparts regardless of the parochial ethnic bigotry of those who would have preferred that the town remained a rural enclave.