…Mark 54th memorial anniversary 

By Festus Ahon, ASABA 

THE people of Asaba, Delta State, Saturday, decried the October 7,1967 massacre of their indigenes, calling on the Federal Government to establish a university in the capital city as part of measures to compensate for the  genocide committed against them during the Nigerian civil war.

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Speaking at the 54th memorial anniversary of the Asaba massacre, the Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien said the request was a modest one to cushion the people for both the emotional and psychological trauma they suffered when thousands of their people were mowed down by federal troops.

Recalling that he told General Yakubu Gowon (retd), the then Head of  State on the need for the establishment of the university as far back as 1995, Edozien disclosed that Gowon promised to support the agitation for the establishment of the University.

He, however decried that nothing has been heard from the present administration, even when he had also briefed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo about it.

The Monarch said: “We are calling on the Federal Government to honour what the former Head of State has said. Gowon was the Head of State when this massacre took place.

“The Federal Government should built a university in Asaba. Our request is very modest in comparison to the pains of the massacre”.

Former President of the United Nations Security Council, Prof. Joy Ogwu, re-echoed the pressure from the international community on the Federal Government to admit it’s 1967 genocide and crime against the people Asaba and humanity in general.

Ogwu, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, who delivered the keynote address, said it was a dangerous trend for the root causes of the atrocity to be swept under the carpet and not properly addressed. 

He said: “In our times, the nature of conflicts have shifted from interstate to intrastate without clear rules of engagement. Under these conditions, massacre and indescribable atrocities take place in theaters of conflicts.

“Often times its root causes are never addressed, instead they remain hidden sources of future conflicts. Whatever the strategic considerations for that operation, the Asaba Massacre must not constitute for us a relic of history. 

“It must become living legend shaped by the people of Asaba and those who share their values of humanity, civility and responsibility”.

Ogwu who was represented by Dr. Ndidi Nwaneri, reiterated the concept of remembrance as essential to survival, commending the Asaba woman for being resilient and courageous to birth a new generation after the massacre that attempted to obliterate the community.

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