Wife of the late Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, and secretary of the Anambra State Truth, Justice and Peace Commission, Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, has alleged there was a mass grave in Anambra State.
Bianca stated this in a statement she posted on her verified Facebook page on Tuesday, titled: ‘A mass grave site discovered in Anambra sealed off for forensic investigation.’
Although, the former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain did not disclose the exact area the grave site is located, she however said that the discovery of the mass grave site, made through testimonies, was brought to the attention of the commission of inquiry.
She added that about 322 persons were verified as killed or dead as a result of violence as testified to by the witnesses who appeared before the Anambra Truth, Justice and Peace Commission.
The Anambra State Truth, Justice and Peace Commission was constituted by the governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, in June 2022 to inquire into the violent agitations and restiveness in the state and the South-East geo-political zone.
Stating further, Bianca said, “We are living in alarming and anxiety inducing times, but we prayed God to heal our land.
”The Anambra Truth, Justice and Peace Commission has concluded its second phase of public hearing.
“Our commission, headed by Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, interrogated a total of 39 witnesses, who testified on oath while 243 exhibits were collected during the course of the proceedings.
“The commission also met with 31 petitioners, including 11 organisations, 19 communities and one individual during the marathon sittings, which lasted from October 26 to November 3, 2023.
“Some 322 persons were verified as killed or dead as a result of violence as testified by the witnesses, while so many are still missing or their fate not yet verified.
“18 persons have been categorically identified as missing or disappeared. In the course of the proceedings, the gruesome discovery of a mass grave site was brought by testimonies, to the attention of the commission.
“The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Odinkalu, mandated that the suspected mass-grave site be sealed for forensic investigation by pathologists. This will help in unraveling who the victims were and the circumstances of their deaths.
“The TJP Commission had earlier held the first phase of its public hearing between June and July this year in the course of which we considered 24 petitions and met with 48 witnesses, who testified on oath from 14 communities of the state during a 10-day hearing.”
Mrs Odumegwu-Ojukwu further stated that “The Anambra Truth, Justice and Peace Commission was constituted by Governor Chukwuma Soludo in June 2022 to inquire into the violent agitations, and restiveness in the state and in neighbouring states.
“A Bureau of Missing Persons as recommended by this Commission has already been established in the state to document the missing persons and the circumstances of their disappearance.
“We are living in alarming and anxiety inducing times.
May God heal our land. Amen.”
When South-East Punch contacted the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the governor of Anambra State, Christian Aburime, for enquiries on whether the state government was already aware of the development, he responded that a formal report has not been presented to the government on it.
Aburime said, “She is probably talking about the activities of the Truth and Justice Commission set up by Governor Soludo, under the Chairmanship of Prof. Odinkalu, of which, she is the secretary. I cannot speak on this until a formal report is presented to the state government.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Odinkalu, said, “Amb Bianca, as the Secretary to the Commission, was reporting the summary of the work we did over the course of the public hearing which concluded last week.
“The commission is proceeding with arrangements for securing the site and mobilising pathologists. Obviously, we cannot do that work under the glare of media klieglights.”
The police spokesman, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, did not respond to enquiries when contacted on the development.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.