The Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof) Chike Edozien, has renewed the call on the Federal Government to establish a university in Asaba as part of measures to compensate for the October 7, 1967 massacre.
Prof Edozien said the request was a modest one compared to both the emotional and psychological impacts of the massacre in which thousands of Asaba men were mowed down by federal troops during the civil war.
The monarch, speaking on Saturday at the 54th memorial anniversary of the civil war atrocities, recalled that he spoke to former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, on the need for the establishment of a university as far back as 1995.
Saying that Gowon who was in power the genocide was committed promised to support the agitation, the royal father, however, lamented that nothing has been heard from the present administration, even he had also briefed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo about it.
‘We are calling on the Federal Government to honour what the former Head of State has said. Gowon was the Head of State when this massacre took place.
‘The Federal Government should build a university in Asaba. Our request is very modest in comparison to the pains of the massacre,’ he said.
In a keynote address, former President of the United Nations Security Council Prof Joy Ogwu re-echoed the pressure from the international community on the Federal Government to admit its 1967 genocide and crime against the people of Asaba and humanity in general.
Prof Ogwu, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, posited that it was a dangerous trend for the root causes of the atrocity to be swept under the carpet and not properly addressed.
‘In our times, the nature of conflicts have shifted from interstate to intrastate without clear rules of engagement. Under these conditions, massacres and indescribable atrocities take place in theatres of conflicts.
‘Oftentimes its root causes are never addressed, instead they remain hidden sources of future conflicts. Whatever the strategic considerations for that operation, the Asaba Massacre must not constitute for us a relic of history.
‘It must become a living legend shaped by the people of Asaba and those who share their values of humanity, civility and responsibility,’ she said.
Represented by Dr Ndidi Nwaneri, Prof. Ogwu emphasised the concept of remembrance as essential to survival, just as she saluted the Asaba woman for being resilient and courageous to birth a new generation after the massacre that attempted to obliterate the community.
Credit: Daily Sun