The governor of Anambra state, Willie Obiano has tendered an unreserved apology to the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, over the killings of members of the group at Nkpor in Anambra state on May 30, 2016 during the 2016 Biafra Day. At least 150 IPOB members were killed by the Army according to Amnesty International.
Speaking when he received members of the Biafran War Veterans at the Governors Lodge, Amawbia, Obiano said it was regrettable that such a number of Biafra agitators were massacred.
The Biafran War Veterans led by Joe Achuzia, were paying the governor a condolence visit over the death of his mother, Mrs. Christiana Obi another.
Insisting that he could not have ordered the killing of those who voted for him in 2013 election, Obiano said that he has a mentality that guides him in issues of conviction which made him against all opinions and vehemence from federal authorities to still go ahead to bury those that died during the civil war, less than a year into the life span of his administration.
“Abuja was against my plan to bury the victims of Biafran war, there was a lot of opposition to it from security agencies but I went on to bury our dead war heroes. As a young boy during the war, I knew what happened. I saw many dead bodies and I know the importance of according proper burial to the departed even more so those that departed in the painful and regrettable way as they did.
“So, I had to embrace all odds to bury them in an elaborate ceremony on the 12th of January 2015, less that one year into my administration. How then will I contemplate killing their off springs for the same reason of Biafra. I didn’t do that, I’m innocent of the name calling.”
Obiano revealed that the report given to him by the army following the incident claimed that nobody was killed. However, when he visited Menax Hospital and St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, both in Onitsha, he discovered that people were killed and that some of those killed and the injured were taken out of the state to neighbouring states as very many of them came from outside Anambra state.
Obiano claimed that he volunteered to pay the hospital bills of the victims but some of them refused his offer.
Regretting the actions and inactions that led to current agitation, Obiano said that he had told President Buhari that if what is being done for the North-East or close to it was done for the Igbos after the civil war, there would have been no agitation for Biafra today.
He pointed to impassable federal roads in the South-East, the issue of Second Niger Bridge and general lack of federal presence as viewed by the youths of Igboland made the longing for Biafra a recurring decimal.
In his remarks, the leader of the Biafran war veterans, Joe Achuzia, spoke extensively on the build up to the protest that led to the killings whose information he said he was privy to, recalled how he had spoken with the then Anambra State Commissioner of Police to request that they allow the agitators to stage a peaceful protest but noted that on the said day, the army who were not in the picture suddenly appeared and became trigger-happy in killing citizens they were meant to protect.
Achuzie, who is the leader of Council of Elders of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, pointed out that Governor Obiano has shown genuine commitment towards the people’s struggle by undertaking the burial of all Biafran soldiers that died during the Nigerian Civil War, noting that such a man cannot carry out such despicable action against his own people as was erroneously held by some Biafrans.