The late Biafran leader, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu’s widow, Bianca Ojukwu, has disclosed the existence of a mass grave in Anambra State.Ojukwu stated this in a statement she posted on her 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 location of the grave site, she stated that the discovery of the mass grave was brought through testimonies, 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 by NAIJAONPOINT es who appeared before the Anambra Truth, Justice and Peace Commission.
The Truth, Justice and Peace Commission was constituted by the state governor, Chukwuma Soludo, in June 2022 to inquire into the violent agitations and restiveness in the state and the South East.Stating further, Bianca said, “We are living in alarming and anxiety-inducing times, but we prayed to 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.”
The former ambassador added, “Some 322 persons were verified as killed or dead as a result of violence as testified by NAIJAONPOINT es 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.“Chairman of the commission Prof. Chidi 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 within a 10-day hearing.”
Continuing, Ojukwu noted, “A Bureau of Missing Persons as recommended by this commission has already been established in the state to document the missing and the circumstances of their disappearance.”When contacted to know if the state government was aware of the development, the Press Secretary to the Governor, Christian Aburime, said a formal report has not been presented 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.”The police spokesman, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, did not respond to inquiries when contacted on the development.