By Doris Israel Ijeoma
What exactly happened to the 35 bodies found in a river when the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was Governor in Anambra State? Who was behind the killings, and was there any prosecution for the heinous crime?
These are the billion Naira questions raising dust after Obi on Thursday compared to the gory happening to one disclosed three days ago by Governor Alex Otti of Abia State. In Abia, 80 bodies, including 20 headless ones, were discovered around a cattle market.
Obi said the federal government took over the case of the 35 but was mute on how the federal investigations ended.
He lamented the Abia incident, which is making residents of the state point accusing fingers in the direction of Fulani herdsmen.
The Labour Party helmsman recalled a similar incident in 2013 when he was Governor of Anambra State.
Back then, he had to rush back to address a crisis when 35 decomposing bodies were found in a river.
His post on X reads: “I read the bone-chilling story coming out of Abia State, where over 80 bodies were reportedly recovered around the cattle market, with about 20 headless decomposing bodies.
“This level of barbarism and extremely cruel acts only reflects how insecure our environment has been.
“It unearths how insecurity has continued to ravage many parts of the country, taking innocent lives and killing the economy.
“I thank the Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, for taking such a bold step against insecurity in the state. This is highly emulatable.
“I recall facing a similar situation in 2013 as the Governor of Anambra State.
“I was accompanying President Goodluck Jonathan to an official engagement outside the country when I received the sad report of about 35 decomposing bodies floating on the Ezu River in Anambra.
“I had to leave everything to rush back to the state to attend to the situation and ensure that order was restored in the vicinity.
“Investigation was immediately commenced, with autopsies conducted before the Federal Government took over the process and asked the State Government before the Federal Government took over the process and asked the State Government to hands off. Security of lives and property remains the primary duty of any government and key to any meaningful development we hope to experience as a nation. We must, therefore, prioritise it.
“Security of lives and property remains the primary duty of any government and is key to any meaningful development we hope to experience as a nation. We must therefore prioritise it. “
Otti of Abia, 10 years after the Obi’s experience, says the state government found the headless bodies and countless human skeletons around the Lokpanta cattle market.
He disclosed that intelligence had shown that the ransom being paid for kidnapped victims was dropped off around the cattle market, and an investigation was conducted.
“What we saw was shocking.
“In less than 48 hours, we recovered over 80 dead bodies around the cattle market, and we recovered 20 headless, decomposing bodies which include adults and children.
“We recovered uncountable skeletons of people who had been killed and left to decompose still around that axis.”
Otti also said different forms of crime such as gun running, prostitution, narcotics trade, and heavy use of substances were prevalent in the cattle market.
Investigations were ongoing to ascertain the people involved in the crime.
He said the state government had changed the cattle market into a general market and issued a directive for the market to be a non-residential daily market, which would open from 6 am to 6 pm.
“Now some persons said that we had sent away the Hausa community living in Abia, but remember when we saw the skeletons, we did not know which skeletons belonged to either Hausa or Yoruba,” he said.
“The spread of the false information led to a northern group issuing a quit notice to Igbo living in the north to leave and come back to east.”
The governor said the resolve of the state to make the cattle market a daily market was not targeted at any particular ethnic group in the country, but was aimed at revamping the security architecture of the market and its host community.
He added that his administration is working towards ensuring that the people of Abia celebrate the Yuletide in peace.