By Festus Ahon – Asaba
President-General, Asaba Development Union, ADU, Prof Epiphany Azinge, on Sunday said they may institute criminal charges against those who killed their people during the October 7, 1967, massacre in Asaba.
Fielding questions from journalists shortly after the commemoration of the 52 years anniversary of the Asaba massacre, Azinge said the 52 years won’t be meaningless when it comes to the criminal matter.
Hear him; “52 won’t be meaningless when it comes to criminal matter and all we can do is to identify the individuals and collectively those who were responsive and responsible and see how we can institute action against them in the criminal court of Justice to prosecute them for a war crime.
“As far as we are concerned, that is a war crime and a war crime together with genocide if you put them together the consequences are grievous in terms of punishment and we can approach the International Criminal Court to prosecute them”.
He, however, said the Asaba community would not want to take that path, saying that; “but if we are pushed to do that we will; because we are prepared to explore all possible options. All internal remedy would be exhausted before thinking of what else would be done”.
He said “any responsive and responsible government would be in a hurry to enter into dialogue and negotiation with us, at any level. Maybe through the palace or through any other organ of the Asaba government. We will continue to do what we are doing to attract some compensations for our people”.
Lamenting that the Asaba people were brutally massacred and murdered in cold blood, Azinge said; “they were killed in a premeditated manner as if the people that killed them had something in mind before coming to Asaba”.
According to him, the Asaba people are peace-loving and receptive, he decried that; “it’s instructive that most of them went to herald the Nigerian soldiers with funfair and music when they met their waterloo and their untimely death and they were totally massacred”.
While lamenting that some family breadwinners were killed, he said; “Asaba people collectively suffered the humiliation, misery and the shock associated with the brutality and killing of their loved ones.”