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ASABA MASSACRE: Asaba Development Union (ADU) Demands Unreserved, Official Apology From FG

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

The Asaba Development Union (ADU), said it needs an unreserved and a much more official apology and adequate compensation from the present Federal Goverment (FG), over the gruesome murder of their people I 1967, now popularly known as the Asaba Massacre.

ADU said though it would not approach the International Criminal Court not because it could not file criminal and genocide cases against the individuals who collectively or otherwise who perpetrated the act against the Asaba people, "we can push for that among so many other things".

The body however noted that instead of the federal government allowing them to go through the rigorous of court proceedings by pushing through the International Criminal Court to initiate genocide and war grounds against them the goverment of the day should rather negotiate and do the right thing timely, "as civilized people, we want the government of the day to start negotiating".

Speaking Saturday during a press conference to herald the remembrance of those killed 52 years ago, ADU president, Prof. (Chief) Epiphany Azinge, the Okilolo of Asaba, told newsmen that the compensation would enable them get a more befitting place of rest for their departed.

He said the compensation would not in any way replace the pains inflicted on them by the massacre nor make them forget the remembrance of their loved ones.

He disclosed that 52 years counting, Asaba still mourns and would continue to mourn until we believe that there is a closure as far as the matter is concerned as the massacre has created a wide gulf that demands closure by way of compensating the families, "that is the closure that we seek. Even if there is a closure, we will continue to mourn our heros.

"And the closure that we seek is the closure of a much more official apology, the closure of adequate compensation to the families of the bereaved as the case may be but even if we achieve those closure as to the two things that we demand, we will continue to remember our fallen heros".

He charged people not to read extra meaning to their beliefs, noting that no amount of contrary views would also deter them from commemorating their dear ones, "and nobody should also imagine that we can be stopped from doing what we are doing because its totally and fully within our rights so to do".

He said the day is not exclusively met for indigenes of Asaba, but across board where such awkward deaths have occurred, "it is another way of saying never again to such killing not for only Asaba but all over the country. Those who suffers same fate in Odi, Benue and other places particularly Asaba. We are not set to suffer it again", he sounded.

Said he: "It is another way of saying never again no matter what the situation is, of what happened in this country. Our messages is never again, not never again only in Asaba but nevernever again for any part of the country. Never will it be wise for people to be congregatated in one place and be shutdown in cold blood, never again, we are not prepared to suffer it again", adding that the affairs touches on humanity and mankind and all lovers of human rights.

He continued: "and all those who believe that there should be rule of engagement for the military that they should be stopped from going on a wide goose chase and killing of innocent citizens"

Prof. Azinge hinted that the event which would begin on 7th of October at the Ogbesowe quarter where the heinous massacre and genocide took place, would proceeds to the Oshimili south Arcade with the shuting down of markets in Asaba aimed at paying tributes and respect to the fallen ones and also to avoid interruption of any kind, pointing out that proper notices have been sent and approvals given by the relevant authorities.

He said the procession is aimed at drawing to the consciousness of the people and the goverment at all levels to the fact that Asaba people takes very seriously the massacre of their loved ones and that something unacceptable happened on that day, stressing that the day would also serves as a unitying factor for all Asaba people around the globe.

"For those that will be with their children, it will be an opportunity for them to educate them and tell them that 52 years ago in your home town in Asaba, something of this nature happened so that the young ones will also continue very early in their developmental stage to internalize and imbibe this message and also have it in their consciousness that which we want to achieve".

He added that a wrist would be laid by someone fully delegated by the palace by way of saying farewell to "our people who died".

"The respect we have for our people will not end because the people that are killed I the world wars are still being remembered. It is going to continue regardless of compensation or no compensation", Prof. Azinge added.