VALENTINE OZIGBO CONDEMNS CULT-RELATED MASSACRE AT ANAMBRA FUNERAL

Business leader calls for Ndigbo conference to re-evaluate moral code

Valentine Ozigbo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2021 Anambra governorship election, condemned the mass murder over the weekend at a funeral ceremony held in Ebenebe, Awka North LGA of Anambra State.

Valentine Ozigbo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
candidate in the 2021 Anambra governorship election

According to eyewitness accounts, at least sixteen mourners were killed and several others wounded when a gang of thugs believed to be cultists attacked the burial ceremony of the late Mr Chibuike Joseph Chukwuka, who was reportedly assassinated at the age of 32. The sad event occurred at Umuognuefi Primary School field, and social media videos showed dozens of victims, including a young girl lying in blood and a desecrated coffin.

In a statement made available to the press on Monday, February 28, 2022, Mr Ozigbo described the tragic incident as “shocking”, “unacceptable”, and “a horror that must be collectively condemned”.

“Over the weekend, I received the report of a horrific incident in Ebenebe where about sixteen people were killed as they attended the funeral service of their relative and friend, whose life was also tragically cut short,” Ozigbo, an internationally-recognised peace advocate, said.

“The images of the crime scene shared on social media are shocking, horrific, and should not be normalised in any way.

“The South East, particularly Anambra State, has witnessed tragic waves of violence which have claimed the lives of hundreds of our people, both young and old,” Ozigbo added.

Ozigbo, whose non-profit organisation, the Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, has been at the forefront of several peace-making initiatives in southeastern Nigeria, called on the Anambra State government and other concerned stakeholders to make solid efforts towards securing lives and property in the state.

“This latest incident marks a turning point in the decline of our values as Igbos and should be unacceptable to all of us, and we must take steps as leaders to intervene,” Ozigbo continued.

“This is not an issue to be treated with kid’s gloves or swept under the carpet. We must address the root cause of this anomaly and not just the symptoms.

“We must go back to the drawing board, reaccess our value system, emphasise moral values and uphold the sanctity of human life.

“Importantly, we must assemble as soon as possible, the thought leaders, political, traditional, women, and youth leaders need to come together and re-evaluate our moral code. We must take steps to arrest this development before it consumes us all,” Ozigbo warned.

A multi-award-winning global CEO who was recently named the 2021 Anambra Man of the Year, Ozigbo commiserated with all those affected by the savage attack and the members of the Ebenebe community who have been traumatized by this event. He prayed for God to grant the souls of the departed a peaceful repose.