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1/ "As the commanding officer and leader of the troops, I have no apology for those massacred in Asaba, Owerri and Ameke-Item.
2/ "I acted as a soldier maintaining the peace and unity of Nigeria," Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Haruna.
3/ Haruna said this at the Oputa Panel on 9 October, 2001.
4/ This week, people in #Asaba begin a series of events to commemorate a devastating incident that wiped the town off the map.
5/ Please follow @AsabaMemorial for more information.
6/ The very first person interviewed in this video , is @IfeanyiUraih.
7/ He is by any measure, a successful person today. He is my mother's brother. Fifty years ago, he faced a firing squad.
8/ He lived to tell the tale. His father, my grandfather, did not. Neither did some of his brothers.
9/ Another brother of his, my Uncle Medua, also survived. The bullets were taken out of him in 1978.
10/ I have told their story before, here
11/ There are two other stories I want to tell.
12/ The first, was narrated to me by an elder relative, who would rather not be named. It is a short story.
13/ "We managed to avoid being rounded up, so we survived the massacre. So we ran. A group of us, trying to make our way to #Biafra.
14/ "Around Onwe, I saw a Nigerian soldier, very well kitted. That was when I knew that #Biafra had lost the war.
15/ "The soldier saw us, eight of us, and I was afraid. I thought we were dead.
16/ "Instead, the soldier looked at us, then nodded in the direction of the river and shook his head.
17/ "We look at where he had nodded, and saw some of his fellow soldiers, so we went into the bushes in the opposite direction.
18/ "One of our company, a woman, had a baby. The baby began to cry, and one of us told the woman, 'Nwa a ga laputa anyi.'
19/ "She understood the message, and crying, she smothered her baby.
20/ "I still remember her face as she did what she did. That woman was never the same again."
21/ On October 14, 1967, the National Radio Broadcasting Service, broke off scheduled transmission to make a special announcement.
22/ The announcement, paid for by Phillip Asiodu, a federal permanent secretary, was a tribute to one of #Nigeria's finest athletes.
23/ “The Igbobi Horse”, 1963 Sportsman of the Year, Governor General’s Special Scholar- University of #Nigeria’s relay anchor leg,
24/ Graduate of Zoology, Sports Master, Hussey College, Warri – is dead!”
25/ Sydney Beliosa Asiodu entered Igbobi College, Yaba, in 1957.
26/ Up until 1959, Sydney did not show any extraordinary ability as a sportsman.
27/ He was reasonably good in athletics, football, cricket and table tennis, representing Townsend House in all of them, but not the school
28/ Then he bet with Victor Omotayo Aiyela, who was, until that time the first leg of the Igbobi College 4x400 yards relay team.
29/ Aiyela had told Sydney that he would give him a 10 yard handicap in a 100 yard dash, and still beat him.
30/ Sydney accepted the challenge on one condition, no handicap.
31/ The rest is now history. They raced five times, Sydney won four times and the fifth was a tie.
32/ Sydney went on to beat all the leading sprinters of that era and became the school’s sprinter, long jumper and hurdler.
33/ By the time he left Igbobi College in 1963, he was the Senior Prefect and the Football and Athletic Captain.
34/ His academic and sporting prowess won him the Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe scholarship, and admission to read Zoology @UNNPride.
35/ As a student, Sydney was in #Nigeria’s contingent to 1966's Tokyo Olympics, and 1966's #CommonwealthGames in #Jamaica.
36/ Following the coups of 1966, Sydney converted his Hall’s porter’s lodge in Nsukka into a debating platform.
37/ Sydney preached the message of one indivisible federal #Nigeria to fellow students at Nsukka.
38/ His stance cost him a lot of his popularity as many fellow Igbos, who had lost family in the 1966 pogroms, began to scorn him.
39/ The fact that he was from Asaba, just across the Niger, did not help.
40/ Many blamed Nzeogwu, who came from Sydney's part of Igboland, for bringing down the pogroms on them.
41/ Sydney graduated in 1966 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with honours in Zoology.
42/ After graduation, Sydney accepted the position of gamesmaster at Hussey College, Warri, and moved there.
43/ However, his family believed that he would be best served by moving out of #Nigeria.
44/ On August 9, 1967, Sydney was in Asaba, and preparing to depart #Nigeria when the Biafran invasion of the Midwest cut him off.
45/ He spent the next two months marooned in #Asaba.
46/ As it became obvious from stories told by retreating Biafran troops that the invasion of the Midwest had failed,
47/ many of his kinsmen crossed the River Niger and made their way to #Biafra.
48/ Sydney Asiodu, the fastest man in town chose to stay because of his belief in one #Nigeria.
49/ On October 7, 1967, Sydney Asiodu was one of over 800 #Asaba men and boys who were rounded up by Nigerian soldiers.
50/ A message by his brother, a cabinet minister, to Ibrahim Taiwo, second in command to Murtala Mohammed was not acted upon.
51/ Despite showing the soldiers his collection of medals and prizes which had brought so much glory to #Nigeria,
52/ the Igbobi Horse was shot, and his body was thrown into the River Niger.
53/ Starting this Thursday, the people of Asaba will be holding events to remember this massacre, half a century on.
54/ Please follow @AsabaMemorial for more information. #Ozoemena.
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