By Anayo Okoli & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
NNEWI—Tributes have continued to pour in from far and near over the death, last Monday of Col. Joe Achuzia (Retd.), a Biafran war veteran popularly known as the Biafran Hannibal and Biafra Air Raid.
Among those who paid their glowing tributes to the late Achuzia were the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB; Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Campaign for democracy, CD and former Anambra Governor, Mr Peter Obi.
In its tribute yesterday, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, commiserated with the family, Ndigbo and all Biafrans over the death of late Col. Joe Achuzia.
MASSOB in a statement by its National Director of Information, Comrade Edeson Samuel, said its leader Comrade Uchenna Madu, is shocked over the irreparable loss to death of Col Joe Achuzia, the fearless general who never gave up until the war was over.
“The leadership of MASSOB under Comrade Uchenna Madu, wishes to commiserate with the family, Ndigbo and all Biafrans over the death of our leader, mentor and hero, Col. Joe Achuzia, the peoples general who joined our ancestors on Monday.
“Col Achuzia was commander of commanders of Biafra Army; he led Biafra commandos units to recapture many sectors that fell for the enemies. Achuzia laid down his life because of his people; he never gave up the fight for the emancipation of Ndigbo and Biafrans from Nigeria enslavement through the British imposition.
“MASSOB has lost a father, a motivator and a true Biafran leader. Ndigbo, Biafrans and the entire world will always remember his heroism, we are consoled by the fact that the course which he fought for all his life will never be forsaken.”
Similarly, the the Campaign for Democracy, CD has called on the Federal Government to immortalise the late Col.Joe Achuzia, by naming one of the Federal Government’s institutions after him for being a patriotic Nigerian even after the Nigerian-Biafra civil war.
National Publicity Secretary of CD, Dede Uzor A. Uzor, in a statement in Onitsha, Anambra State described late Col. Joe Achuzia as a courageous Biafran Army officer.
“Late Col. Achuzia, served in the Biafran Army, during the Nigerian civil war and participated prominently during the reconciliation that led to the end of the war and reintegration of Biafrans into Nigeria.
“The Federal Government should fully take over his burial because he was instrumental and participated prominently in the reconciliation exercise that finally led to the end of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war,” CD stated.
Opponents feared him—Ohanaeze youths
Ohaneze Youths Council, OYC, in their message of condolence described him as “one of Biafra’s indomitable commanders.”
According to OYC, beyond fighting “gallantly for Biafra during the civil war, especially at Oguta, Abagana, Okigwe and Port Harcourt sectors of the war,” Achuzia was a champion of the unity of the Igbo race.
“Ohanaeze youths will always remember that Col Achuzia was fearless and instilled fear in his opponents. His bravery and suicidal features at war fronts earned him the title of Air Raid. With maternal root at Ezza in Ebonyi state and paternal root at Asaba in Delta State, Col Joe Achuzia died defending Igbo cause and seeking for a just, equitable and fair Nigerian state”, OYC said in a statement signed by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the National President, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, National Secretary and Engr. Obinna Adibe, the publicity secretary.
The statement added: “Col. Joe Achuzia died as a role model and a mentor to millions of Igbo youths and Biafrans.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths urge governors of South East to give him a befitting burial as we declare 4 days of mourning for him.”
I paid him periodic visits—Obi
In his condolence message, former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi recalled that Achuzia was one of the elderly Igbos he paid periodic visits and described his death as the loss of one of those not afraid of their own voices and prayed to God to grant him eternal rest.
He was our hero—IPOB
In its condolence message, IPOB said: “Col. Joe Achuzia will be remembered by history as one of the finest and bravest soldiers the world had ever seen. Though his exploits, as a soldier, were in a quickly forgotten war in black Africa, the magnitude of his accomplishments put in context ranks amongst the greatest military feats of the modern era.
“From his heroics in the famous Abagana Sector victory over Murtala Mohammed, to his recapture of Owerri, Col. Achuzia left an indelible mark that will be acknowledged by every generation of Biafrans until the end of time.He is our icon and all time hero.”
“Achuzia marched his footsteps on the hallowed soil of Biafra during his youthful days for the liberation and betterment of Biafra.”