Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state has washed off his hands in the killings of the members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on May 30, 2016 . He said the impression held in some quarters that he was responsible for the death of several members of IPOB at Nkpor was false and unfounded.
The governor spoke when he received the members of Biafran War Veterans led by Gen. Joe Achuzie (Air raid) at Governor's Lodge, Amawbia, who paid him a condolence visit over the death of his mother, Mrs. Christiana Obiano. Obiano said that he could not have ordered the killing of those who voted for him in 2013 election, saying " he has a mentality that guides him in issues of conviction which made him to go against all opinions and vehemence from federal authorities to still bury those that died during the civil war, less than a year into the life of his administration.
He said "Abuja was against my plan to bury the victims of Biafran war, there was a lot of opposition to it from security agencies but I went on to bury our war heroes. As a young boy during the war, I knew what happened. I saw many dead bodies and I know the importance of according proper burial rites to the departed, more so, those that departed in the painful and regrettable way as they did, so I had to embrace all odds to bury them in an elaborate ceremony on the 12th of January 2015, less than one year into my administration. How then will I contemplate killing their offspring for the same reason of Biafra. I didn't do that, I'm innocent of the name calling."
Gov. Obiano also said that the report the security agencies made available to him on the incident showed that nobody was killed but that when he visited Menax hospital , St. Charles Borromeo hospital among others to see the victims himself and to provide succor to them, he was told that people were killed and that some of those killed and the injured were taken out of the state to neighboring states as very many of them came from outside Anambra state. Obiano said he was elated to pay the hospital bills of the victims but some of them refused his offer. He also said he was deeply sorry for what happened and assured that he has since then been battling to ensure that such incident doesn't happen again in Anambra state.
While regretting the circumstances that led to the current agitation for Biafra, the governor said that he had told the President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, that if what is being done for the Northeast or close to it was done for the Igbos after the war, there would have been no agitation for Biafra today. "That the impassable federal roads in the southeast, the issue of 2nd Niger Bridge and the general lack of federal presence as viewed by the youths of Igboland, make the longing for Biafra, a recurring decimal" said the Governor. Obiano said he has directed that history about Biafra should be taught in schools in the state: “Our children need to know what happened. There are about four or more very good books on Biafra, it is important that our children are told of what happened and I have directed that Biafran history be taught in our schools in Anambra state." he said.
Obiano told the Biafran Ex- servicemen that he appointed a liaison officer for the Biafran war veterans in order to ensure that issues affecting them and by extension pro-Biafra groups were better handled and that he is the only one that created such office.
Giving insight into what happened when Boko-Haram convicts were brought to the state, Gov. Obiano said that they were the worse set of Boko-Haram. He said “they were brought all the way from N'Djamena, Chad Republic and one of the nine (9) convicts came with his nine (9) wives and fourteen (14) children. He informed that he had to struggle to get them out of Anambra state and southeast because their presence was a psychological trauma to Ndigbo" He then appealed to members and the leadership of , IPOB and other pro-Biafra groups to maintain decorum, reminding them of the maxim that says: "talk is cheap but war is expensive."
In his speech, the leader of the Biafran war veterans Chief Joe Achuzie said Gov. Obiano was innocent of the accusations as nothing before, during and after the incident suggested that the governor was culpable. Achuzie spoke extensively on the build up to the protest that led to the killings, whose information he said he was privy to, and recalled how he had spoken with the then Anambra State Commissioner of Police to request that they allow the agitators to stage a peaceful protest but noted that on the said day, the army who were not in the picture, suddenly appeared and became trigger-happy in killing citizens they were meant to protect. "Sadly enough, after attacking the IPOB peaceful protesters, a false report was forwarded to the state governor that nobody was killed."
He urged the people not to be misled by the callous and malicious insinuations that the Governor has a hand in the shooting but to rather face the federal authorities that authorized the killings.
Earlier, Gov. Obiano's Liaison Officer to the Biafran War Veterans, Comrade Arinzechukwu Awogu had said that the rumor of "shoot at sight" was first muted by the opposition elements in the state, saying that given the level of bitterness pervading the air over the killings, some persons bought into it without a second thought and the erroneous impression began to grow.