As the Nigerian soldiers took control of Asaba town on October 5, 1967, these soldiers went from house to house looting properties, raping women and girls, rounded up men and boys accused them of being Biafra sympathizers, and demanded money from those who escaped being killed, some males who were spotted out were shot on the spot and others taken to the police station through Nnebisi Road (Asaba main street), the High Court on the Okpanam road, the soccer field, or the riverbank, these were where they were executed.
In an attempt to bring the killings to an end. The Asagba-in-Council, a group that comprised members of the most senior age grades (approximately 50–70 years old), along with the town’s chiefs, met to discuss the best ways to impress the soldiers. One of their agreement was to tell the soldiers that Asaba had played no role in the Biafra issue and that the community welcomed the return of federal forces. The leaders also agreed that each of the town’s five quarters would raise a levy of £50 for the soldiers, while the Omu of Asaba, the most important women leader would present a traditional woven cloth to the Nigerian commander in Asaba. And initial donation of £50 was used to pay for drinks and delivered immediately to a federal officer. Upon reception of the drinks, expressed regret for the number of civilians killed by the Nigeria solders.
Early in the morning of October 6, four men from another quarter were dispatched to deliver their contribution, and they never returned. As they didn’t return, a second group of four was sent to find out what had happened why they didn’t return, they also didn’t return. In the evening of October 6, in the hope of bringing the killings to an end, the leaders ordered town criers with gongs to summon everyone to assemble the next day to welcome federal troops and offer a pledge of loyalty to “one Nigeria.” People were encouraged to wear akwa ocha, the ceremonial white woven clothes that signifies peace.
Although there was much trepidation and some refused to participate, hundreds of men, women, and children including some who had originally fled to the bush assembled for a parade. With many singing, dancing, and chanting “one Nigeria,” they advanced past St. Joseph’s Church and continued east. Their expectations that these gestures of goodwill would appease the soldiers were quickly dashed. “Over one thousand men at gunpoint was forced to dance a public dance, what Philip Emeagwali termed “Dance of Death” in his article. Over seven hundred of them were shot dead right there and buried en masse in shallow graves.
As the soldiers that were burying them were told to hurry up and return to their regular duty, one of the murderers soldiers said: “The graves are not yet full.”One man was buried with his hand protruding above his shallow grave. The rest is a story for another day. For years in Nigeria, people have been voting and nothing has ever changed, instead of positive change it gets worse just as what people are experiencing today in Nigeria.
In 2015 change was promised to you and you voted. The change has brought killings of more Christians and destroying of farmers crops in various parts of Nigeria. It is your PVC that enthroned the Fulani Herdsmen into power that brought killings in different parts of Nigeria today. It is your PVC that put Nigeria into dark age where cows are more protected than human, where coup d’état are still planned to remove Senate and deputy president, where court orders are not obeyed, where corruption is enthroned in the name of fighting corruption.
In a report released by international Crisis Group (ICG), it said that the violence, concentrated in the central states are largely driven by competition over dwindling arable land amid a rapidly growing population, killed more than 1,300 people between January and June this year by Fulani Militia. They also quoted United Nations official as saying that Boko Haram insurgency, which since 2009 has aimed to create an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has killed “over 200” people in the first six months of the year, 2018. And yet, with all these ugly occurrences, somebody is preaching to you that the only solution is PVC. You may not have killed any of these people but you have given your consent to the killings through your PVC.
In one of the most recent attacks in Plateau State, Adamawa, Taraba, Kaduna etc Fulani Janjaweeds killed over 500 Christians over night including two Catholic priests and razed down over 10,000 houses including churches and markets. More killings and properties were destroyed including churches and living houses and all these are happening since the enthronement of President Muhammadu Buhari. Also, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, Adamawa, Taraba Enugu and Ebonyi States were not left out in the herdsmen attacks and you still want to go and vote another Fulani into office as president?
Those telling you to go and get your PVC are just like those town criers with gong that went to towns at Asaba on October 6 1986, crying and convincing people of Asaba that they should gather to offer a pledge of loyalty by chanting “one Nigeria” thinking that the Nigerian soldiers would be appeased, not knowing that it was a means to trap them to come so that they would be killed; to their greatest surprise the same soldiers who told them to come out were the same people that forced them to dance a dance of death with machine gun pointed at them. I think it is time for us to learn our lessons and stop this dance of death, unite ourselves and prepare for our forth coming referendum. Let us use the strength we waste in canvassing for people to go and get PVC and tell our people, our families and friends even our enemies to prepare for our forth coming referendum.
A word is enough for the wise. Beware, be warned, don’t fall a victim!