Recently; Indigenous People of Biafra led by Nnamdi Kanu tend to drag Peter Obi to the mud and mislead the public over Ezu River saga. Their stock in trade is character assassination and Peter Obi is on their list, without considering the bond of brotherhood, they are determined to destroy a son of the soil. Uploading pictures of Peter Obi tagged with Ezu River picture to exhuming the memory and accuse him of being responsible for the deaths. What is their mission? To drag Peter Obi to the mud and give his rivals edge over him. “It could be a coincidence because I still don’t believe Nnamdi Kanu is working for Obi’s rivals” their act warranted a renewed investigation into what actually happened in 2013.
On 19th of January 2013; without any major conflict in Anambra state led by Governor Peter Obi, scores of bodies were found afloat Ezu River, an act that attracted outcry of genocide. Activities of MASSOB and the retaliatory measure by the government raised eye-brow over the cause of the deaths. Human rights groups had pointed accusing fingers at Anambra state SARS- anti-robbery outfit that is notorious for extrajudicial killings and MASSOB was later believed to be the victims. There was no official inquiry that confirmed the status of the victims but SARS could not give account of MASSOB members arrested by them and detained in Akwuzu station.
Agitation began for justice; MASSOB demanded justice for their members found afloat Ezu River by writing to Goodluck Jonathan but the state government got involved. Determined to ensure his government found out the truth and serve justice; state government under Peter Obi began comprehensive investigation and helped lobbied the senate to set up a committee of inquiry to look into the matter. Peter Obi cut his foreign trip short because of the saga and was responsible for exhuming all the dead bodies after three were initially exhumed for autopsy. Peter Obi also announced 5million Naira bounty for anyone with useful information that could lead to the cause of the deaths.
Up to a month after the news; MASSOB spokesman, Uchenna Mmadu made a press release claiming the victims were members of MASSOB that were detained at Awkuzu SARS. Prior to this; Andy Uba had moved a motion for inquiry which was led by senate joint committee on police affairs and national security and intelligence chaired by Paulinus Igwe Nwagu and Senator Mohammed Magoro. MASSOB have evidences to prove the victims were members of MASSOB and that would attract international sympathy or Human Rights disciplinary action against Nigeria.
Uchenna Mmadu listed names of MASSOB members that were arrested (Victims of Ezu River) but could not be accounted for by the police. According to senate investigation; the victims were dressed in ‘boxers’ and ‘singlets’ which depict they are prisoners. The autopsy result according to the senate showed the victims were shot to death- a kind of execution by gun which SARS is already notorious for. Anambra state commissioner of police Mr. Nasarawa did all he could to defend the police but facts from MASSOB and investigation convinced otherwise. Nigerian police through SARS was responsible for the murder.
A reliable source that spoke to us during a renewed investigation said
“Scared of international involvement or backlash; Nigerian government exclusively called the IG of police and debriefed him on the need to nip the matter in the bud. The IG called Mr. Nasarawa and told him to do everything possible that he would be rewarded with promotion. He was also told he would be mobilized financially and otherwise to ensure MASSOB didn’t take up the matter to a deteriorating height for the government
“The federal government did not understand the game Mr Peter Obi was playing; announcing 5million Naira reward for information, exhuming all the dead bodies and financing everything showed a different interest from their own. Recall; the dead bodies were buried immediately without the governor’s consent and after the first three autopsy, the doctor said his finding was ‘startling’, so, the governor wanted more because he wanted to get to the root of the matter
“They wanted investigation to come from Abuja because they no longer trust the state government. The senate was given the green light and the state sidelined; this was what actually happened but it did not deter Obi who was determined to know who committed such crime against his people. A lot of things happened but nobody was ready to open up to the public”
MASSOB WAS COMPENSATED TO LET GO
A top regional administrator of MASSOB who spoke to us on condition of anonymity narrated how MASSOB was compensated. He regretted ever associating with MASSOB despite investing heavily into the struggle formally championed by MASSOB.
“I have many regrets; I was a rich man when I identified with the struggle but today, I am nobody, I thought it was for our freedom but I noticed something else. We mobilized our youths with hope Biafra will be take but it was politics and movement. I never knew we came to run a movement, boycotting census and protesting, then go back and negotiate or discuss with Nigeria, something like pressuring for something, to some, they pressure for compensation, to some, they pressure to be recognized and some pressure to be paid. I am now old; I cannot go back to the struggle, I am a member of APGA because we started APGA to project restoration of Biafra through politics and that ideology is still with me.
“Our boys arrested in Onitsha region were killed and dumped in Ezu River; that set killed is not the first, they kill them every day, they sell their parts and sometimes sell them whole to ritualists. This Ezu River was opportunity to hold them to account but Uchenna Mmadu was invited by Bala Nasarawa, he took people along, they went and met him, he gave them envelope, how much, Fifty Thousand Naira each. The boys explained to me; the commissioner told him that he wants to see Uwazurike and Uchenna Mmadu said they should talk with him that Uwazurike is not a problem hence he was there.
“The commissioner told them he wants the matter to come to an end because the issue was holding his promotion. He explained to them that they would be compensated hence they boycott the senate committee investigating the matter and avoid taking up the issue beyond the list they have already released that said victims were members of MASSOB. They received the envelope and agreed to have a complete meeting where everybody involved will be in attendance.
“They later met and took the money from the commissioner; they agreed to the terms and the senate was boycotted, Uchenna only insisted on the list and initial statement and that was the end, nothing was done afterwards, they could have sent petition to international human rights organizations, take the matter to court and make some noise. They did not meet the senate and allowed the senate to make up their investigation, concluded what they like and brought it out unchallenged, that was how Ezu River matter died. Nobody talked about it afterwards and you wonder what they are doing in the name of agitation. Uwazurike and all of them are there for their pockets; freedom is taken and not pleaded or protested for.
“They did not allow Peter Obi to do anything even though we were having issue with him then but Nigerian police and their senate hijacked everything, bought everybody and buried the matter. Ezu River ended with MASSOB; Uwazurike and his minister of information Uchenna Mmadu were compensated and the matter was settled amicably. Nobody should involve anybody; the governor and Nigerian government have nothing to do with it. MASSOB was settled and Uchenna Mmadu with Uwazurike took the money and soft pedaled. The senate gave us what they found out; what happened afterwards, SARS continued killing our boys”
Investigation carried out and compiled by Ifeanyi Chijoke