Markets in Asaba to shut down to honor civil war massacre victims

Markets in Asaba to shut down to honor civil war massacre victims
ByAgencies -September 28, 2019

Markets in Asaba, the Delta State capital, will shut down on October 7 as natives of the town mark the 52nd year anniversary of a mass killing in 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War.

Over 500 natives of the town were said to have be congregated in one place and murdered in cold blood by troops of the Nigerian Army in their onslaught against Biafran rebels in eastern Nigeria.

Addressing reporters Saturday on activities in remembrance of the victims, President-General of Asaba Development Union (ADU) worldwide, Prof. Epiphany Azinge, said over 400 names of the victims have been engraved at the site of the mass killing at Ogbe-Osewe.

Azinge, who was flanked by members of the memorial organising committee, said both traditional and political approvals have been secured for the popular Ogbegonogo Market to be shut during a candle light procession that will commence from Ogbe-Osewe through the market to the Oshimili Arcade for other rituals.

He called on Asaba indigenes in the diaspora to, as a mark of respect for the victims of the massacre, observe a minute silence by 12 noon on October 7.

Describing the 1967 action of the Nigerian military as heinous, Prof. Azinge urged the Federal Government to tender an official apology and pay adequate compensation to families of the victims of the mass killing.

He said that genuine reparation and compensation from the government will go a long way in assuaging the feelings of the people of Asaba people, adding however that it will not completely obliterate the horrible experience from their minds.

“Somewhere along the line, General Yakubu Gowon offered an apology but we demand an official apology to be made with a contrite heart from the government of the day,” Azinge said.

“The issue of compensation can help us do many things, like having a much more befitting resting place for our departed ones. But that is not to say that we will stop the rituals of commemorating that day, October 7.

“The respect we have for our departed ones is way beyond money, the annual rituals will continue, it is not going to abate. People killed in the first and second World Wars are still being remembered, let alone the ones who were criminally massacred in 1967. We cannot stop the rituals irrespective of any reparation or compensation,” he said.

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