Oganiru Ndigbo Foundation (ONF) is at the moment appalled and grieving as a result of the recent discovery of some mystery corpses of Umu-Igbo found floating at Ezu River, in Anambra State on Sunday, January 20, 2013. ONF, being a group concerned with protecting Igbo interests anywhere in the world, we acknowledge that a time
comes in the life of a people when silence is no longer golden – this is one of such times. We believe, instead, that this is one of those times when silence may be misconstrued as consent.
On the morning of the said Sunday, our people had woken up to observe that nothing less than 30 lifeless bodies of our Igbo brethren were floating on the river at Amansea Community of Anambra State. And as the news broke, and a great majority of our people was trying to unravel the mystery, the news broke that some of them were members of Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
Uchenna Madu, the group’s Information Director, in a statement claimed the members were arrested in November from their office in Onitsha, Anambra State, by a team of police, army, and State Security Service men.
He insisted that all their effort to secure the release of the men proved futile. “Our demands for their arraignment before a competent court of law were frustrated by SARS officers. They claimed that the court was not sitting because of Christmas” he said.
But the Police, in response, did not produce any of them. Instead, it held a press briefing claiming the Police had no hands in the deaths, but promised that it was being investigated. The state Police Commissioner, Ballah Nasarawa, claimed MASSOB’s account was laden with falsehood meant to tarnish the image of the Command, because it had been checking MASSOB’s excesses.
Nasarawa queried, “The corpses were recovered from the river on the 20th January, 2013 and some were deposited at Amaku General Hospital morgue, Awka, from 20th to 28th January, 2013, and yet the faceless MASSOB members did not deem it fit to go and identify them only to come with unfounded allegation three weeks after.”
However, after careful analyses of the claims and counter claims, the President General of the ONF, Chief Uche Onuh Lucas on behalf of the organization stated as follows:
1. That the Police have not told the whole world the truth about what happened; how it happened; and who was involved. For instance, the Police chief in the state addressed MASSOB leaders as “faceless”. But we know this is not true, because MASSOB is not “Faceless”, and its leadership is known by Nigerians.
2. The Police failed to explain whether it, together with some military personnel, attacked and arrested some MASSOB members, particularly on the day claimed by MASSOB.
3.ONF is not questioning Nasarawa on his constitutional responsibilities of arresting and prosecuting people who have committed offences as he appeared to explain, we are asking questions on the murder of our people, whose bodies were dumped in the river, as well as those buried in mass graves. That for sure, is not part of his constitutional responsibilities.
4. The ever-ubiquitous security agents on our roads have not explained to the world, where they were when up to 30 bodies of dead Igbo youths were being dumped into Ezu River.
ONF is therefore using this opportunity to make its position on the matter known, that:
1. It has become necessary that the entire Igbo nation; Nigerians in general; and the world at large, be put under notice that Ndigbo will no longer sit by and watch their kit and kin murdered and dumped, this time not only in mass graves, but also in some rivers to decompose.
2. We demand that the Anambra Police Commissioner, Ballah Nasarawa, be relieved of his post with immediate effect, because he has not performed his duty being unable to account for the death of more than 30 Nigerians under his watch.
3. We demand from the Nigerian state to explain to the entire race, and the world, why it could not protect or account for the death of 30 Nigerians.
4.The Nigerian state is also required to tell the world why it had not been able to protect Nigerians of Igbo extraction since the 1960s, and why not one single individual have ever been convicted for committing such atrocities against the Igbo race.
5. We are therefore using this opportunity to call on people of goodwill all over the world to put pressure on Nigerian government to bring to book, those responsible for the dastardly act at Ezu River on Sunday, February 20, 2013.
6. We demand that all the Five (5) SE Governors, the SE Caucus in the National Assembly, the Secretary to the Federal Govt, Speakers of the 5 SE Houses of Assembly should coalesce and collaborate with the security agencies to unravel this mystery behind this extra judicial killing of Ndigbo.
7. We therefore put on notice, that on event that none of the above demands are met, ONF will take all legal steps to ensure that every Nigerian of Igbo extraction is protected in Nigeria.