700 people died on the 7th of October, 1967 by 4pm. 700 men and boys died looking their killers in the eyes and several thousands of people were witnesses.
What had happened was that Nigerian Army were coming in through Asaba and Asaba people prepared to welcome them. The welcoming speech was written by the father of the wife of IBB, Maryam. He did not live to deliver the speech anyway.
When they gathered with food and drink for the Nigerian Army. The men were separated to one side and the women the other side. And the men and boys were shot in front of the women.
So what I ask ourselves is; how can we try to forget and brush over things like that?
In other countries, Afghanistan for instance, I heard that people were already digging up bones, trying to find out what happened to those killed by the Taliban.
The ghost of Nigeria will not be laid to rest until truth is told about what happened in Nigeria.
Yakubu Gowon, who was in charge during these atrocities, went back to Asaba and I read what he said;
“In the spirit of Christian reconciliation, accept my apology on behalf of the military government for the activities of soldiers in Asaba people will accept this apology even if it’s belated”
Now, I have a respect for man like this for coming to terms about what happened but he can’t apologise for the government because he’s no longer in charge of the government.
The Nigeria story must be told
The civil war did not end in 1970, the civil war is still ongoing in Nigeria and we have to end it.
So my demand is, let’s end the civil war, let’s find the truth about what happened in Nigeria.
After finding out what happened, we have to ask for true forgiveness. There should be some kind of remorse.
People who are wronged, had to be encourage to find it within their heart to forgive those who had wrong them.
We have to find ways of building bridges and find ways of rebuilding trust.