Recently, it came to light that a mass grave was discovered in Anambra State, prompting authorities to seal it off for a thorough forensic investigation. This revelation emerged from the Anambra Truth, Justice, and Peace Commission, which concluded the second phase of its public hearing on November 3, 2023.
Ambassador Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu, the wife of the late Igbo leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and former Nigerian ambassador to Spain, disclosed this development through a post on her Facebook page on November 6. She captioned her post: “A MASS GRAVE SITE DISCOVERED IN ANAMBRA SEALED OFF FOR FORENSIC INVESTIGATION.”
The Anambra Truth, Justice, and Peace Commission were established by Governor Charles Soludo in June 2022 to investigate the violent agitations and unrest in the state and neighboring regions. This 15-member committee is chaired by Professor Chidi Odinkalu, with Bianca serving as its secretary.
During the extensive hearings of the second phase of the commission, which took place from October 26 to November 3, the distressing discovery of a mass grave site was brought to the Commission’s attention through witness testimonies. Commission Chairman Prof Chidi Odinkalu mandated the sealing of the suspected mass grave site to facilitate forensic investigation by pathologists, with the aim of identifying the victims and ascertaining the circumstances of their deaths.
Bianca also reported that, during the proceedings of the Anambra Truth, Justice, and Peace Commission, 39 witnesses provided testimony under oath, and 243 exhibits were collected. Testimonies indicated that 322 individuals were verified as having been killed or confirmed as deceased due to violence, with many more individuals still missing or unaccounted for. Eighteen individuals were categorically identified as missing or disappeared.
Furthermore, a Bureau of Missing Persons, as recommended by the Commission, has already been established in the state to document information about the missing individuals and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance.
The members of the Commission include: Prof Chidi Odinkalu (Chairman), Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu (Member/Secretary), Dr. Joe Nwaorgu (Member), Dr. Udenta Udenta, Dr. Uju Agomoh, Rev. Fr. (Msgr.) Jerome Madueke, Canon Dr. Okechukwu C. Obi-Okoye, Mr. Charles Oputa (Charly Boy), Dr. John Otu, Mr. Ngozi Odumuko, Ms. Onyeka Onwenu, Dr. Joe Abah, Mr. Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu, Mr. Sam Egwuatu, and Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu.