Asaba Massacre: A Cry For Justice 54 Years After



By Austin Ogwuda


“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph” _
Haile Selassie 1, (1930-1974)

No matter how some may choose to hate this Ethiopian Emperor that once lived on the planet earth, the above quote from him succinctly drives home the message.

Yes, Nigeria is celebrating her 61st year of independence with our leaders preaching the message of hope in a crumbled economy amidst widespread insecurity.

Wait before you tag me as unpatriotic do a sincere survey, what you will find is that there is trust deficit?
Otherwise, how else can it sound that we play down on justice or do selective justice.
When VAT favours a certain section of the country, palava, legal jingoism; when the issue of federal character is raised you are shouted down even with all the empirical evidences.
Let me concentrate on the subject matter.
Few days from now, precisely Thursday next week, the 7th day of October 2021 will mark the 54 year Anniversary of the Asaba Massacre.
Fifty-four years after the massacre, justice has remained elusive. What an irony!
Year in and year out the people mark the anniversary, drawing attention to the damage yet government has paid no attention.
My heart  bleeds because a great son of Asaba, Professor Emma Okocha, author of the Blood on the Niger, who had been in the forefront of this crusade is no more.
This reporter was close to tears during last year’s remembrance at Asagba’s palace when Diokpa Paul Ofili Mordi of Eti Edem Ojeada village, Umuonaje quarters  Asaba spoke.
According to him, “now I am a man, a full grown man of 53 years tormented by life even from birth. I am afraid to think of what my life would be when I become 60 years. Does my destiny still lie on my hands?
I need a new day. A new song in my life.
“Story of Asaba youth born on 7th of October 1967” he went on “is pathetic.
” My father went with the rest of the men in his town Asaba to Osowa square parading a dance carnival to salute the military team of the Nigerian Army declaring peace in Nigeria my country.
Soon the cry of joy that welcomed my early morning arrival changed to tears of sorrow as the evening sun died down”, he lamented.
Traditional Prime Minister (Iyase) of Asaba, Chief Patrick Onyeobi once told reporters that we the people of Asaba can never forget our people who were brutally massacred that day and something positive must be done so that our people will feel a bit relieved that their children did not die I vain”, he stated.
In concluding this piece, permit me to ask some hypothetical questions
Can there be true healing when those who are supposed to get justice are denied?
Can those  who should have known better including our federal representatives close their eyes and look the other way instead of joining in the crusade of how to seek for reparation over the Massacre?
Finally should the federal government continue to play the orstritch by granting amnesty to killer herdsmen and close their eyes because  there’s nobody to speak for Asaba?

Austin Ogwuda is a veteran  journalist, formerly of the  Vanguard newspapers, now a  columnist/editor at large  with Global Newsroom

Do you have any information or event for GLOBAL NEWSROOM to publish or cover? Kindly Call us on +2348023010992 or send us message on Whatsapp number +2348137001111 or send us an email :

Comment Here