By Mukwuzi Joseph
In a statement released on Saturday, October 24, the community leaders recalled the Odi massacre carried out on November 20, 1999, by the Nigerian military on the predominantly Ijaw town of Odi in Bayelsa State over the indigenous rights to oil resources and environmental protection. They said the killing took place under the watch of Obasanjo who was President at the time. According to them, the former president’s comment was like adding salt to their injury.
Part of the statement read
“The trauma that Odi went through under President Obasanjo is still fresh in living memory. The Nigerian Army moved in tanks, the Nigerian Navy moved in warships and the Nigerian Air Force was overhead. All the forces of the Nigerian federation were unleashed on the sleepy and unarmed rural community of Odi because some young people dared to ask for their rights. It was a time no one in Odi wishes to recall. Definitely, there are some lectures that ‘Professor’ Obasanjo may not be qualified to deliver, especially a lecture on how to disperse a peaceful protest without violence.’’
They added that the former president owes the people of Odi an unreserved apology.
The leaders who jointly signed the statement include deputy King of Odi, Chief Prenus Ogboin, the Youth President, Ikposuoyeski Inemike and CDC Chairman, Odi, Goddey Niweigha, the community’s women leader; Ebimoweni Kemepade.