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Zaki Biam massacre: Obasanjo no longer owes Tiv apology, says Daboh

Posted by By ROSE EJEMBI, Makurdi on 2005/10/20 | Views: 353 |

Zaki Biam massacre: Obasanjo no longer owes Tiv apology, says Daboh


National Assistant Auditor of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Godwin Daboh says the Tiv people are not waiting for any apology from President Olusegun Obasanjo over the Zaki-Biam massacre, as apology has long been tendered and accepted by the Tiv nation.

National Assistant Auditor of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Godwin Daboh says the Tiv people are not waiting for any apology from President Olusegun Obasanjo over the Zaki-Biam massacre, as apology has long been tendered and accepted by the Tiv nation.

He said this while reacting to a story in Daily Sun of Thursday, September 29, 2005 credited to the President/CEO of Capital Base Development Limited, Mr. Joshua Manasseh.

In the interview with Daily Sun, Chief Daboh averred that the Zaki-Biam massacre is a forgotten issue, adding that, “We the Tiv people have put it behind us so that we can move forward.”
No more apology

The Tiv people are not waiting for any apology from President Olusegun Obasanjo because the Tiv people have settled with him long ago. In fact, when the Zaki-Biam issue happened, Obasanjo was not in Nigeria. He was far away in America.

It was General T.Y Danjuma, who was the Minister of Defence and who has very close relationship with the Tiv people that was responsible for giving the operational order. All he needs to do was to get the consent of General Obasanjo. But General Obasanjo granted consent based on the report that was given to him by General T.Y Danjuma that his presidential approval was required to take immediate action to condemn the crisis that was there.

Apology already tendered
When General Obasanjo came back (from his trip) after the massacre, Governor Akume led a delegation of leaders of Benue State to Aso Villa to meet him. We discussed extensively what had happened in Zaki-Biam and we realised that the killing of some soldiers precipitated the action. We, the Benue leaders, who were in Aso Rock with President Obasanjo tendered an apology for the killing of the soldiers who were on active duty in the Taraba-Benue border.

The president himself had apologised on behalf of the soldiers and the Federal Government. It was then we required that a judicial commission of enquiry be constituted to look into the matter, which the president did. Also, there was an interactive session in Jos, where Obasanjo looked at the whole element as a thing which affected everybody. To crown it all, in October 2001, all the leaders of PDP were in Aso Villa with Obasanjo, where we held a meeting and resolved that this matter as settled.

On January 2003, President Obasanjo left his family and came to Benue. He was at the IBB square, with more than 500,000 people drawn from every Tiv local government to apologise. So, anybody raising the matter, is just trying to open up old wounds, because as far as we are concerned, it is a dead issue. We, the Tiv people voted massively for President Obasanjo in 1999 and 2003 elections because we did not have a quarrel with him. If anybody has a quarrel, he should not use the Zaki-Biam card. The Zaki-Biam card is a dead card. It was amicably resolved between us and we want to move forward.

Today, the Tiv people are marginalised in federal appointments because of people like Manasseh Joshua, who will attack the president unjustly. Where other people are looking for reconciliation and forgiveness and participation, people like him give the impression that they can do without the Federal Government, which is not true. Today, no Tiv man is holding any reasonable position in the Federal Government apart from Dr. Iyorcha Ayu and Prof.

Ayua, who is a Permanent Secretary. Look at the recent board appointments that were made, it is because of people like Manasseh, that we were completely margninalised. We are the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria, but because of attitude of people like Joshua, that is why Tiv people are not getting anything from the Federal Government.
I want to say that we the Tiv people, have buried Zaki-Biam and we don’t want to exhume a corpse that will bring back bad memories to us. We must move forward.

The Germans killed more than six million Jews in the Second World War, but today, Germany and Israel are in very great harmony. Recently, they marked the 60th year of the massacre of the Jews. The Germans and the Jews all joined together to celebrate the event. We the Tiv people have put behind us the unfortunate Zaki-Biam crisis. Anybody who is trying to raise the issue now, is on his own and not speaking on behalf of the political class in Tiv land or the Tiv elites. We are no longer talking about Zaki-Biam because we have put it behind us. We the Tiv people want peace and happiness. We have forgiven President Obasanjo and all those involved in the Zaki-Biam massacre.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.