January 21, 2011

Zaki-Biam massacre: Group of Survivors demand release of White Paper of enquiry


Group under the aegis of the Survivors of the Zaki-Biam crisis of 2001 has called of the Federal government to release the white paper of the commission of enquiry set up to investigate the killings that trailed the military invasion of the Sankera area of Benue State.

The group maintained that the release of the white paper would permanently address the issues relating to the killings and also apportion blames where necessary.

In a statement released in Makurdi and made available to Vanguard, they contended that as direct victims of the brutal massacre of hundreds of their kith and kin during the October 2001 invasion of their ancestral land by soldiers, it has become imperative that the records were put straight as regards what transpired at the time adding that this would be done when the white paper is finally released.

The statement read, “It is regrettable that so many years after a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, JCI, was set up with a mandate to investigate the development, identify its remote and immediate causes as well as make recommendations, the report of the JCI remains shrouded in secrecy as the report has failed to see the light of day”.

“It is this unwarranted secrecy which surrounds the report that has today resulted in the shifting of blame as to who was responsible for inviting the soldiers who wreaked such bestial havoc on defenseless women and children”.

“It is for this very reason that we issue this statement demanding as a matter of urgency that the administration of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, immediately intervene in this matter by ordering for the immediate release of the report of the JCI since, it is only when that is done that the souls of our dearly departed will finally rest in peace”.

The group further regretted the trading of words amongst the major players in the crisis at the time stressing that it was not in doubt that the then Governor George Akume requested for the release and deployment of soldiers into Sankera and the mayhem that followed has become history, the issues would be laid to rest at the release of the white paper.

They urged the people of the area to remain calm and supportive of the present administration in the state adding that the truth of the 2001 invasion and massacre of Sankera would definitely be told.