Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Chief Nnia Nwodo, on Monday night extolled the contributions of the Igbo speaking part of Delta State during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war.
Nwodo who spoke at the Night of Tributes organised in honour of late former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Joseph Oseluka Achuzia at Enugu Sports Club, in Enugu by Ohanaeze leadership said the human sacrifice made by Anioma people during the war were immeasurable.
He specifically lamented the massacre of over 700 young men at Asaba by the federal troops, adding that recalling the sacrifice made by the Anioma people in defence of Biafran territory would continue to elicit pain and tears.
Achuzia who died recently at the age of 90 was actively involved in the bloody war retired as a Colonel in the Biafran army.Â Achuzia, a prominent Biafran war hero, and native of Asaba, Delta State, passed on recently at the age of 90. His remains would be interred at Asaba on Saturday this week at his hometown in Delta State.
At the night of tributes, notable Igbo leaders poured encomiums on the departed leader, describing him as a man of courage, high integrity and one who displayed high level of selflessness.
The Ohanaeze President General in his message, said the story of the Biafran war would never be complete without discussing the wonderful contributions of the late Achuzia.
â€œIâ€™m happy that Iâ€™m one of the people that was sent to Asagba of Asaba at the end of the war to say to our kiths and kins in Delta that we are extremely sorry, that we have not shown enough sympathy for the carnage in that part of Igbo land and for the fact that we the brothers havenâ€™t come to pay our respect for the dead since the war ended.
â€œAll of us knelt down at the house of the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Chike Edozien, I saw Ojukwu on his knees.
â€œTwo of my sisters live in Asaba, so I know how our brothers across the Niger feel; though, we do not understand that when it came to giving sacrifices for the Igbo land, they paid more than many of us and so for me, Achuzia represented an opportunity for us to dramatise our brotherhood, our oneness in recognition of the tremendous carnage that befell on our brothers in the cause of the war.
â€œI also led the national executive of Ohanaeze to Asaba last year when they remembered 700 of our people who were murdered by federal troops contrary to the rules of engagement, the same kind of thing that happened to us not too long ago when we had the â€˜operation python danceâ€™.
â€œI had the opportunity to confront the leadership of the army who gave me an assurance that there is going to be a court martial of all soldiers who are identified that were involved in that behaviour that was contrary to their rules of engagement. I have been following this matter with correspondence and I will continue to follow it until we know those who massacre our children without cause.â€
Also speaking, a former Military Administrator of Imo State, Navy Commodore James Aneke (rtd), extolled the late Achuzia as a man filled with great patriotism and boldness.
He, however justified the civil war insisting that Ndigbo would have been totally taken for granted but for the war. He, however, asked the present day leaders to ensure that the nation did not experience such a bloody war the second time.
The gathering attracted notable Igbo leaders including former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Enwo Igariwey, former Secretary General of Ohanaeze, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, and Ben Etiaba, Chairman of Enugu Sports Club.
The family of Achuzia was represented by his three sons, Joe Oseluka Achuzia, Simon Achuzia and Onyeka Achuzie.