My attempt this week is to bring some attention to the subject of the Asaba massacres, one of the haunting ghosts of Nigeria’s last civil war. I pay particular tribute to Emma Okocha – Onye Amuma Cable – author of Blood on the Niger, the chilling account of the Asaba massacres of October 7, 1967.
More than any other individual, Okocha has pursued the Asaba story with the temerity of a survivor, and the hardnosed instincts of a well-trained journalist. He has brought attention to the great evil that Nigerians love to forget: the attempt at selective annihilation of a people through acts of terrible war crimes.
Asaba has become Okocha’s life work; an obsession. He says it is to bring closure, and give final rest to those who perished that day in Asaba. But I suspect something much deeper and personal. Of course it is up close and personal for Emma Okocha. He is from Asaba; he survived the massacres; but his entire family perished.
The Igbo name their children, “Ech…