Biafra War Veteran, Joseph ‘Hannibal’ Achuzia Dies at 90


Obi, Uwazurike mourn
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Renowned veteran of the Nigerian Civil War, Col. Joseph ‘Hannibal’ Achuzia (rtd), is dead.
THISDAY learnt that Achuzia passed away yesterday morning at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba, the Delta State capital after a brief illness.
One of the children of the deceased, Mr. Benedict Onyeka Achuzia, formally broke the news of the demise of the veteran soldier in Asaba.

Already, in line with the Asaba and Anioma tradition, a 21-gun salute has been fired to announce the demise of Pa Achuzia, who holds the traditional title of Ikemba of Asaba.
However, his Idumujei Quarters Asaba residence wore an atmosphere of grief as numerous residents of the city streamed into the compound apparently to condole with the bereaved family.

A condolence register has already be opened for the departed chief and respected elder.
His son, Onyeka said his father joined his ancestors at about 8a.m. yesterday. According to him, “He died around 8 this morning. It was something we never expected but it happened. He was 90 years old. It’s just a sad incident.

“My father was the best dad ever. I was so sad when he gave up, and I can’t help it.
“Even when he was about to be taken into the mortuary, I couldn’t believe it was true. He was smiling but we never knew he was going. May his soul rest in perfect peace.” The late Achuzia was born in 1929. He was a Major in the Biafran army during the Nigeria Civil War of 1967 to 1970.

Nevertheless, prior to joining the Biafran army in May 1967, Achuzia had been a soldier in the Nigerian Army. He fled to the South-east in fear of anti-Igbo sentiment among the Nigerian army before the war.
Achuzia was a traditional stakeholder in the affairs of Asaba as he held the title of Ikemba of Asaba till his death
Meanwhile, former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has mourned the demise of Achuzie. The former governor recalled that Achuzie was one of the elderly Igbos he paid periodic visits.

He described his death as the loss of one of those not afraid of their own voices and prayed to God to grant him eternal rest.
Also, the President Emeritus of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, described Achuzia as a titanic leader who did not tolerate cowards.

He said in Biafra, he was known for pulling his gun on any deserter.
“He was such a fanatical leader that his troops believed that bullets could not kill him. Indeed, bullets did not kill him. To the average Igbo person, Achuzia was a demon in battle. He could have run away at the end of the war, but he did not,” Uwazurike added.