‘500 ex-Biafran soldiers died in penury’
Following what he termed neglect by successive governments, the National Patron of the Ex-Biafran Soldiers Association (EBSA), Dr Ramas Asuzu, said yesterday that over 500 former Biafran soldiers died in penury not long ago.
Asuzu, who disclosed this to newsmen at his country home, Nri, in Anaocha Council Area of Anambra State, blamed past governments in the former Eastern region for abandoning war veterans to their fate after the civil war of 1967-1970.
He attributed the alleged political problems of the Igbo to the neglect of war veterans who sacrificed their youthful age to defend the people of the area during the war.
He said: “For the Igbo to come out from their political calamity in the country, the souls and spirits of such people must be appeased. Ndigbo will suffer for 200 years in Nigeria if the spirits of these veterans and others who sacrificed their lives to defend the people are not appeased.
What governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, and others did sometime this year and called it the burial of those who died during the war was a mockery of such great patriots.
“Ndigbo have a tradition on how to bury their loved ones and not that thing they did in Awka, which they called funeral of our fallen heroes.”
The National patron recalled that the Federal Government had last year announced the commencement of payment of monthly pensions to soldiers of the Nigerian Army who defected to fight on the side of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War from 1967 to 1970.
According to him, the Federal Government stated that those to benefit in the arrangement would be ex-Biafran soldiers, who were of the Nigerian Army but defected to Biafra and were granted Presidential pardon by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2000.
Asuzu, however, described the government’s pronouncement as a paper approval, and called for more commitment.