The souls and spirits of as much as 140 unarmed, defenceless, nonviolent and innocent citizens of Nigeria of Southeast and South-south extractions, mostly composed of Igbo sons and a number of Igbo daughters between the ages of 20 years and 35 years, who were brutally massacred in a broad daylight on May 30, 2016 by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, aided by the government of Willie Obiano in Anambra State have been invoked to eternally go after their killers and enemies of the Igbo Nation as well as those who aided and abetted the gruesome massacre until they pay for heinous crimes and atrocities committed. This is courtesy of the OGBAKO UMUOKPU IGBONINE (a global association of Igbo Women of age born and married in Igboland).
While between 90 and 100 bodies of these murdered Igbo citizens were buried in mass graves by the government of Anambra State and the security forces in most dishonourable, abominable, disrespectful and despicable manner, the OGBAKO UMUOKPU IGBONINE on July 6, 2016, organized a memorial remembrance event in accordance with Igbo burial/funeral rites or tradition for the purpose of sanctifying, honouring and respecting the dead as well as respecting the sanctity of human lives. Other victims of Igbo killings in Igbo Land including those killed during the IPOB nonviolent protest and jubilation marches on December 2 and December 17, 2015 in Onitsha; and IPOB peaceful protests in Aba on January, 18, January 29, and of February 9, 2016 as well as the Ukpabi-Nimbo massacre of April 25, 2016 by the Fulani Janjaweed; were also remembered using the Igbo’s four sacred traditional market days/birthdays of Nkwo, Eke, Orie, and Afor.
It is recalled that in the early morning hours and early evening hours of May 30, 2016, the Nigerian security forces, acting under the death-code of President Muhammadu Buhari, gubernatorially aided and abetted by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, carried a broad day massacre operations, leading to instant death of as much as 140 unarmed and nonviolent citizens. While over 110 were massacred at Nkpor and its environs including five identified citizens or bodies, over 25 were massacred at Asaba in a spill over massacre. The Asaba victims included five identified citizens or bodies and three policemen who were mobbed by a provoked crowd while shooting indiscriminately at a gathered and nonviolent crowd at Abraka area of Asaba. Over 140 others were terminally shot and injured in the massacre including 29 identified at Asaba and 50 identified at Nkpor. The perpetrators of the heinous acts are soldiers of the Onitsha Military Cantonment under the command of Colonel Issah Maigari Abdullahi, with support from the 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu. The massacre operation was specifically led and coordinated by Major M. I. Ibrahim of the Nigerian Military Police. The Anambra State Police Command and its Delta State counterpart, as well as the Nigerian Navy, Ogbaru Post, etc also participated actively in the massacre.
The names of four identified dead victims massacred in Asaba are Citizens Hero Vincent, Okeke Obiora, Apam Oyi and Nwabueze Uzonna and those of Nkpor are Citizens Chidi Ozioko, Ernest Uzor and Chika Ukah. Two dead victims are yet to be identified by their families as at our last checks earlier this month at the Crown Hospital, Nkpor. Bodies of two massacred victims found along Nkpor-Umuoji Road were later smashed into pieces by motorists until their remains were gathered by sympathizers and shallowly buried on Tuesday, 1st of June 2016 in the outer part of the Nkpor Community Cemetery along Nkpor-Umuoji Road. The memorial coffin of the OGBAKO UMUOKPU IGBONINE, representing all Igbo young sons and daughters massacred in Igbo Land by the Buhari administration who were disrespectfully and abominably buried in secret mass graves, was also lowered and interred beside the grave containing the two smashed bodies under reference.
In Asaba, the name of one of the 20 massacred citizens whose body was later traced by his family to the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba is Citizen Chinedu Udoye from Nanka Community in Anambra State. The 20 dead bodies including late Citizen Chinedu Udoye and excluding three policemen, who died as a result of injuries received from mob actions from a provoked crowd; were moved out of the Federal Medical Center in Asaba on 21st of June 2016 and buried in secret mass graves. Late Citizen Chinedu Udoye’s wife; Chinwe, confirmed this when she spoke to Intersociety recently. The lawyer hired by the Udoye’s family had earlier approached the authorities of the Federal Medical Center, Asaba, seeking the release of late Citizen Chinedu Udoye’s corpse for burial, but all to no avail, until his corpse, alongside others were removed and buried dishonourably on the said date by agents of the Buhari administration in secret mass graves.
It is recalled further that soldiers of the Onitsha Military Cantonment had on 30th of May 2016, massacred late Citizen Chinedu Udoye and 19 others in Asaba and handed their lifeless bodies over to the Delta State Police Command, which dumped them at the FMC, Asaba until their recent removal from the FMC mortuary and secret burial. Late Citizen Udoye and six others were first shot at their terminal regions and later shot at their chest region, leading to their untimely and violent death. Other bodies of the massacred citizens were later dumped at the FMC, bringing their number to 20, excluding four citizens murdered by soldiers same day in Asaba whose bodies were recovered by their families and taken to safety. Their names are Citizens Hero Vincent, Okeke Obiora, Apam Oyi and Nwabueze Uzonna.
An eight months pregnant woman, who parked her car by the road side of the Asaba Expressway to dodge raining live bullets and soldiers’ shooting spree, was traced to her car by soldiers and shot at her stomach inside her car and by the time the sympathizers were attracted by her screaming and offered assistance, she had lost much blood. She was rushed to the FMC in Asaba where she gave up, leading to operation to separate her unborn child. Pictures of her were taken by some sympathizers and later posted on social media later in the evening of the massacre.
Between 90 and 100 bodies of the massacred Igbo Heroes Day celebrants were on Wednesday, 2nd of June 2016, abominably interred in fifteen mass graves dug in one of the two cemeteries located inside the Onitsha Army Barracks. The inglorious and abominable secret mass burial was conducted by the Government of Anambra State in conjunction with heads of its Joint Security Taskforce comprising the army, navy, police, etc.
In Igbo Land, one of the most heinous abominable acts or taboos is to kill an innocent soul or to make him or her to disappear or to be murdered in cold blood and dumped his or her body in a location unknown to Igbo customs and traditions without giving him or her a befitting burial and funeral. Such has remained an irremediable taboo in Igbo Land till date. It is on account of these that the OGBAKO UMUOKPU IGBONINE (an association of women of age born and married in Igbo Land) led by a onetime Commissioner for Works under Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife regime in Anambra State, Chief Mrs Chika Ibeneme, set out on 6th of July 2016 to remember the heartless massacre of as much as 140 Igbo sons and daughters on 30th of May 2016 and invoke their souls and spirits to go after their killers from generation to generation until they pay for heinous crimes and atrocities committed.
A memorial burial rite was also performed to strengthen and arm their spirits to seek eternal justice against their killers and enemies of the Igbo Land as well as to fight for the living who seek earthly justice on their behalf. These were done using the stem of Igbo banana and sands collected from the scene of their massacre at Eke-Nkpor. The memorial event was also organized in honour of the victims of other anti Igbo or Biafra massacres of 2nd December and December 17, 2015 in Onitsha; 18th and 29th of January and 9th of February 2016 in Aba as well as the Ukpabi-Nimbo massacre by the Fulani Janjaweed on 25th of April 2016.
The historic event was started with a 21 gun salute at Eke-Nkpor Junction and featured prayer-processions from Eke-Nkpor to St Edmunds Catholic Church and ended with lowering of a memorial coffin at the outer part of the Nkpor Community Cemetery along Nkpor-Umuoji Road where their spirits were invoked to go after their killers from generation to generation until they pay for heinous crimes and atrocities committed. A church thanksgiving service is fixed for today, 10th of July 2016.
We thank the leadership of Lady Chika Ibeneme’s OKPAKO UMUOKPU IGBONINE for this courageous step so taken. This is more so when hundreds of women of age reached out for the historic event opted out at eleventh hour, fearing Buhari’s killer squads; leaving behind courageous others who attended and were divinely protected. The families of the massacred citizens numbering as much as 140 are solemnly consoled over the sudden loss of the precious lives of their loved ones and breadwinners.
Attached below are pictures of the memorial event, which took place on 6th of July 2016 at Nkpor. The pictures include boldly written message from the OGBAKO UMUOKPU IGBONINE calling on Buhari, Obiano and others to respect and uphold the sanctity of human lives; representatives of the OGBAKO UMUOKPU IGBONINE led by Mrs Chika Ibeneme, in mourning attire; smokes from the 21 gun salute at Eke-Nkpor in honour of the massacred sons and daughters; the memorial coffin; the Nkpor Community Cemetery where the memorial coffin was lowered; and the representatives of the OGBAKO UMUOKPU IGBONINE led by Chief Mrs Chika Ibeneme and other invited guests including our Board Chair, paying their last respect by the graveside to the massacred heroes and heroines.
Click on any image to enlarge
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Barr Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
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