“When the Vandal army struck mothers and sisters, buried their sons in thousands, Teenage sons buried their fathers in thousands. The mountain of flesh, the heap of Golgotha invited the termites, the dogs, and the flying hyenas when the Vandal army conquered Asaba. Fathers were buried in thousands sons were buried in thousands and the termites came to the high table when the Vandal Second Division came to town.’’
-See Emma Okocha Last Dance On The Niger, First Black on Black Genocide
Gom Slam, Lagos, 2009.
Following the shocking passage of the Hannibal, Col. Joe Achuzia, I was in the intensive ward at the Catholic Joseph’s Hospital, fighting for my own life when my vendor dropped home my regular newspapers and periodicals. Around Wednesday last week after coming out from coma some of the papers were brought to my ward.
In between falling asleep and waking up answering to the doctors reassuring tips I got fixated to the recent brief book Serials written by the former Federal military minister of education and former Chairman PDP.
The title of the book, Rainbow something, immediately sent me back to sleep. When I woke up, the Chapters of the book even though were summarized, continued in their boring account of this actor who told his readers how he was made by UI. He was a medical student at that period when Professor Chike Edozien was the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and he graduated and joined the officer corps of the Nigeria army. The Rainbow babble went on until he was sacked as the Minister of Education following his incompetence and the steely leadership of the Ogun state born National Student Union President at that time of Gowon’s dictatorship. Whatever was the ‘’attack’’ that crippled me overnight and was going to cause further ‘’bedlam’’ to me and my movement; like the gallant Biafran soldier standing only on one good leg, Emma Okocha was not returning to that bed! Let the doctors take off all the long wire lines of the life injections and those frightening drips! I was going home. At the hospital gates the Reverend Sisters wept when I tripped and fell down. The security personnel carried me back to the bed and restored the life wire drips.
Thereafter, I was no longer dreaming. I’m quite sure that Col Ahmed Alli, like my other in law, General Chris Alli where live and present when the first ever Black on Black Genocide ordered by General Muritala Mohammed butchered thousands of their fellow citizens in Asaba October, 1967. Why is that gruesome episode missing in Alli’s Autobiography? Other officers who witnessed the carnage include, General Ike Nwachukwu who was commanding the 7th Battalion and saw action up to the Niger Bridge before the Hannibal stopped their blitz when he blew that bailey bridge, may not have contributed to the killings but the Generals and his likes cannot continue to keep quite.
Major Buba from Sokoto who later married a sister from Ogbeosuwa saw the massacre. He has not told his children or published anything anywhere! Captain Paul Ogbebor on the other hand was courageous enough in his own book and was to observe the genocide and made revelations not found anywhere as you read the vicious fables of his fellow Nigerian officers of the blood tainted Second Division.
Already, General Haruna from the Boko Haram cursed region have without any remorse testified he would kill off Asaba again if they came dancing to his Second Division welcome.
We have the war time photographs and we can now publish the infamous lists of officers like Col. James Oluyele, Col. Ibrahim Taiwo, Brigade commander in Asaba Col. Dogonyaro and the late Col. Godwin Alley, etc. who were there when the genocide was ordered. They saw the massacre and refused to say anything either in their reports to their superiors and when Col. James Oluyele retired and had the golden opportunity to spill the beans as he wrote his book. He was like the ostrich rainbow present actor, pretending he had no ears or eyes when the genocide erupted for the first time in black Africa! I was even surprised by the silence of the brave, revolutionary former Army Chief Commander, Lt. Col. Gibson Jallo. Jallo participated behind Nzeogwu during Operation Damissa, January 15, 1966. He was the commander who took over briefly from the butcher, Murtala Mohammed after his Asaba mayhem trying to cross the Niger to Onitsha.
Rainbow Col. Alli is married to an Asaba wife after he came as a Doctor with Second Division that wiped out his wife’s people who came dancing to welcome that blood thirsty army.
Presently I don’t know what they discuss with their children but as in the case of ‘’ MR FIX IT’, Chief Anineh, Chief Alli and his wife’s political embarrassing legacies in very sane climes are enough to disqualify their aspiration or attempts to represent such a wounded and traumatic people on the west of the Niger.
As the blood and unforgivable genocide engulfs the land, moving both to the former abode of the perpetrators and violently cutting down on the new innocents, it is our responsibility as writers and historians to watch out and possibly, stop the pretensions of the remorseless, blind and hiding emerging fable accountants.
Achuzia: What do people say?
The Hon, you are always at your best. Thanks you for yours on Joe Achuzie. The man who belonged to the Phylum of great Generals. The world produced a warrior- Bonnie Nzom.
Emma. I am an avid student of your historical lecture column particularly with respect to Biafra, I am sorry for the death of our Hero, Air Raid ‘Hannibal’ Col. Joe Achuzia. Nze Sir SOC Aforole (Ngwa Ukwu).
Thank for your write up, of 28 February on the passing away of Col Joe Achuzia. May his soul, rest in peace. The question is did we as a country, learn any lesson from this great man of war? The answer is no, because we don’t have a history of studying the life and time of our accomplished military commanders. Though Achuzia was a commander of a rebel army, it should not have been an excuse for not case studied him and his tactics. In other clime, Achuzia, would have been a case study in their strategic military institutions. If we had taking the pains to study the man Achuzia, I am sure some lessons, would have been learnt. His usual war cry of “if they cut you off cut them in’’ would have been better understood. Olisadabe.
Please, is it true that ‘’ General Ojukwu ordered Hannibal to sink PH when Bonny was liberated by the Federal army and Port Harcourt threatened seriously. But ‘’Air Raid’’ refused. That disobedience brought some altercation between the two. That Ojukwu really desired to liquidate him but providence saved him. If this ‘rumour’ is true. Then, let his soul and spirit be blessed eternally. ‘Sinking’ Port Harcourt could have been horrendous. Sagbe Fubara
Why didn’t you add Umuahia where Ogbueshi na bo, Ikemba, Joe Achuzia will be celebrated? Soloman U. C. Okezie.
Take heart sir. We have lost another voice. Sorry for our loss. Good bye Air Raid. Ugo Chukwuedo
Amuma Igbo. Please accept my condelences on the demise of your uncle, Col. Joe Achuzia, Hannibal. It is a huge loss to Ndi Igbo. May his soul rest in peace. Robert Obinna