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13 Nov 2018

Odi/Zaki-Biam massacres: More trouble for Obasanjo, Danjuma as group wants ex-leaders banned from US, UK

The United States of America, United Kingdom and others have been asked to restrict entry of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and TY Danjuma, erstwhile Minister of Defence as a consequence for their alleged involvement in mass killings and detention of innocent citizens that took place under various guises when they held sway.

Policing Nigeria Awareness Initiative, who made this call in a letter addressed to the Embassy of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and others specifically pointed out the massacres of innocent Nigerians in Zaki Biam, Benue State and Odi area of Beyalsa during the Obasanjo-led government.

This call came barely one week after the Good Governance Advocacy Project, a Civil Society Organization had called on the United Nations and International Criminal Court, ICC, to investigate, probe Obasanjo and Danjuma for their alleged involvement in war crimes and other offences against humanity that took place at various times between 1999 and 2007.

The letter signed by High Chief Amb Egbe Akparakwu, Executive Director of the group and obtained by our reporter on Tuesday, alleged that under the Obasanjo administration and with T.Y Danjuma as Minister of Defence, Nigeria experienced arbitrary detention and killing of innocent Nigerians under various guises.

The group in the letter made reference to a revelation by a former associate of ex-President Obasanjo, Mr. Richard Odusanya, who alleged that the former chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees was in charge of a killer squad that was formed under the military regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha.

According to Odusanya, the squad was used for political assassinations and was responsible for the unresolved killings of politicians under Obasanjo administration.

Part of the letter read, “As a flashback, during the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo in October 2001, the then Minister of Defence, T.Y Danjuma, ordered the military invasion of a community in Benue State, where thousands of people were killed and burnt beyond recognition. These innocent persons including women and children no doubt share the same faith with TY Danjuma.

“In 1999, over 2500 civilians were killed by the military under T.Y Danjuma in Odi town in Bayelsa state. Odi is another predominant Christian community in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria with a less than 1 pee cent of the people as Muslims. All these demonstrate TY Danjuma and his former boss disposition towards humanity and their joy to shed innocent blood at any slightest opportunity.

“In addition, under Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria witnessed an unprecedented government masterminded political killings. This much was confirmed by a close associate who worked closely with him.

“Among those who were politically murdered during Obasanjo administration included, the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, and South-South politicians, Chief Harry Marshall, Chief A.K. Dikibo, a former Senatorial Candidate of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, in Imo State, Uche Orji, Arc Layi Balogun, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, Prof Chimere Ikoku, former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, in Anambra State, Chief Barnabas Igwe and his wife, Chief Victor Nwankwo of Fourth Dimension Publishers and Chief Funso Williams. All these Nigerians are people that share the same religious faith with both Obasanjo and TY Danjuma yet we’re killed under circumstances that are quite familiar to the two men.

“It is also necessary for emphasis to be made that Under Obasanjo’s civilian rule, the massacres at Odi in Bayelsa State and Zaki Biam in Benue State where women and children were slaughtered, there has been no accountability. No one has been charged for this mass murder of innocent people despite countless petitions so far submitted by various groups and organizations calling for justice.

“There was also a huge rise in harassment and intimidation of Human Rights Activists under the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo. Arrests, Torture and some cases systematic killings of youth activists in the Niger Delta were rife. The arbitrary detention and subsequent torture of Comrade Sunny Ofehe, member Coalition for the Niger Delta Campaign (CNDC), and Mr. Oladeji Odukoya, a member of the Delta Youth Development Council (DYDC), is a clear testimony of the government use of force to silence its critics. Many of these have changed in recent times to pave way for a country where democratic principles are being entrenched.

“Consequent upon the fact that the duo of Olusegun Obasanjo and T.Y Danjuma have through their actions and inaction committed crimes and still committing crimes against humanity, we request that a travel ban is imposed on Olusegun Obasanjo and T.Y Danjuma into your country as a sanction for promoting war crimes pending the determination of our actions before the International Criminal Court.

“It is also our prayer that the duo of Olusegun Obasanjo and T.Y Danjuma that have brought sorrow and tears to countless families be made to face the full wrath of the law. We implore your governments to raise these issues before the United Nations to serve as deterrent to other world leaders who abuse their office and those who might be preparing the new grounds for crimes against humanity.”

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