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Published On: Thu, Sep 24th, 2020

Benue group demand probe of Zaki Biam, Odi genocide

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By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

Tiv Youth Council Worldwide yesterday demanded the immediate probe of the circumstances that led to the killings of hundreds of Nigerians in Benue and Bayelsa states when former president Olusegun Obasanjo held sway between 1999 -2007.
The group at a press conference in Abuja argued that it would be in the best interest of the country if those behind the ugly incidence are made to face the wrath of the law.
The group according to it President, Comrade Mike Msuaan, insisted that former president Olusegun must be made to state his own side of the story on the issue.
It noted: “We recall with pain, how the former President ordered the massacre of over 1000 civilians by Nigerian soldiers in several villages in Benue state. How will he convince the people of Benue State who under his watch, soldiers assembled in Zaki-Biam and opened fire on innocent and unarmed citizens in broad day light?
“ In 2001, the Nigerian Army almost wiped out the whole villages in Logo and Zaki Biam Local Government Areas of Benue State.
“This heinous acts had earlier taken place in Odi, Bayelsa state leaving scores dead. How will the former President face the people of Odi in Rivers state whom soldiers killed under him? On November 20, 1999, the Nigerian military, reportedly acting on the orders of then President Olusegun Obasanjo, invaded Odi, a predominantly Ijaw community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and killed many, burning the community to the ground.”
The group maintained that former president Obasanjo lacked the moral latitude to describe Nigeria as a failed State going by the spate of unresolved murders that transpired when he administered the country.
Continuing, the group noted: “It is to say the least saddening that as elder Stateman and former Military and Civilian President, Obasanjo choose to assemble leaders of ethnic nationalities and sow seeds of division and discord.
“His action is a contrive move to awaken ethnic consciousness and promote mutual suspicion amongst the different ethnic groups in the country. Instead of emphasising nationalism and patriotism to Nigeria which is expected of a patriot that he claims to be.
“It was under his leadership that, a cabinet minister, Bola Ige, a serving Attorney General and Minister of Justice who disagreed with him was murdered in cold blood and the killers went scot free giving rise to suspicion that he was complacent. There were several cases of high powered assassination of other prominent Nigerians like Harry Marshall to mention but a few.
The group thereby admonished Obasanjo to desist from fanning embers of division amongst ethnic groups in the country but rather concentrate his energy on seeking for forgiveness and correcting his wrongdoings over the years.
The group stated that it was incumbent on Obasanjo to join hands with leaders to fashion out solutions to the many challenges of the nation rather than becoming a doomsday prophet.

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