Nigerian Army Apologizes For 2001 Benue Pogrom

The Nigerian Army publicly apologized to the people of Benue State, north central Nigeria, Tuesday over the killing of its citizens in the Zaki Biam area of the state by soldiers in 2001.

The Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Luka Yusuf, tendered the apology in Makurdi, the state capital, at the annual conference of the army.

The army massacred some 100 people in Zaki Biam in 2001 to avenge the killing of 19 of the troops deployed to restore peace in the area following ethnic violence.

Many properties, including the house of the former Army Chief of Staff, retired General Victor Malu, was burnt in the disturbance.

Yusuf said the unfortunate incident happened while the army was executing its constitutional responsibility.

He urged the people of Benue State not to regard the army as an enemy ‘but an institution that is committed to unity and peaceful co- existence in Nigeria.’

He noted that the army had lost men in active service both at home and at international peacekeeping operations.

‘Although various commendations were won, they were not without casualties on our part,’ he said.

‘The killing of seven Nigerian soldiers in Darfur though devastating, has only strengthened our resolve to the restoration of peace in those troubled spots,’ he said.

Gabriel Suswam, governor of Benue State accepted the apology on behalf of his people.

Suswam implored the Nigerian government to rehabilitate victims of the disturbance to remove the scars of the incident.

– Agency Report


6 responses to “Nigerian Army Apologizes For 2001 Benue Pogrom

  1. This is the right step in the right direction. The government should think of compesating the victims of the babaric act under Genaral Obasanjo.

  2. Osedebamen Isibor

    A good start at healing the wounds of the 2001 onslaught on the innocent and defenceless people of Zaki Biam. At least, before compensation comes, a fresh breath of ease will now prevail over the area; a marked departure from the Obasanjo siege for no just cause.

  3. Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

    How about an apology to the people of Odi, and Odiama in Bayelsa State for the state-sponsored pogroms of 1999 and 2006?

  4. Another blow leaving many akpus on General-President Mathews Okikiola Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo’s misguided 8 years reign in Nigeria.

    Hopefully, this will mark an end to such recklessness; hopefully the Nigerian Army have learnt the lessen of Nurenburg and will in future refuse to carry out any unlawful orders.

    There has to be more apologies; to the people of Odi, and Odiama in Bayelsa State; and Onitsha and Nnewi in Anambra State massacred when Peter Obi invited Obasanjo to quell youth protest in 2006.

  5. Emeka Aneke (Wiltshire)

    What a patronising way of rendering an apology after shedding the blood of defenceless and innocent women and children.

    For goodness sake, what gives Gabriel Suswam the cheek and sheer audacity to accept an apology where he neither suffered any material or human lose? How dare he? Someone should tell Gabriel Suswam that it is not his place or function to accept or reject such apologies.

    Inasmuch as I am disgusted with this heinous crime, I have one advice for Victor Malu, “What goes around, comes around”. Need I remind him of Odi?

    As to be expected, any apology should go with some sort of recompense; I will now use this opportunity to call on the appropriate international body through the United Nations, to step in and assess what and how much compensation is adequate.

  6. The 100 people killed by the Soldiers did not deserve to die. Their killing by the soldiers was barbaric and should br punished. But let no one also forget the 19 soldiers who lost their lives just because they were doing their normal duties. I hope their families would be adequately compensated and they be treatde as heroes.

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