The Anambra State Truth, Justice and Peace Commission, established by Governor Chukwuma Soludo in June 2022 to investigate violent agitations and restiveness in the state and the South East, recently made a significant discovery. Former miss Africa and ex Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Mrs Bianca Ojukwu revealed on November 7 that the commission had identified a mass grave, potentially containing the remains of 322 individuals.
During the second phase of the investigation, which took place from October 26 to November 3, the commission received testimonies that led to the discovery of the mass grave. Chidi Odinkalu, the former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and head of the 15-member committee, recommended sealing off the site for forensic investigation by pathologists.
This meticulous examination aims to unveil the identities of the victims and shed light on the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
Bianca Ojukwu shared that 39 witnesses provided sworn testimony, and 243 exhibits were collected during the proceedings. Additionally, the commission engaged with 31 petitioners, including 11 organizations, 19 communities, and one individual. The comprehensive examination underscored the gravity of the situation and the need for a thorough investigation.
Despite progress, concerns persist as some individuals remain unaccounted for, with their fate yet to be confirmed. Out of those missing, only 18 have been positively identified. The gravity of the situation is amplified by the backdrop of longstanding insecurity in Anambra and other southeastern states.
Highlighting the severity of the security challenges in the South-East, a previous report by The ICIR on September 7 disclosed that two people were losing their lives daily due to insecurity in the region. The unfolding developments underscore the critical need for addressing the root causes of violence and ensuring justice for the victims and their families.
IMAGE: Ikeja Bird