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Date: December 15, 1999
Subject: Voices from Odi (Part 2)
Dispatch: Odi

Mrs. Irurua was one of those who was affected by the massacre at Odi. She was in her house with her husband, a 90-year-old man when soldiers walked into her house, killed her husband and held her hostage. Here she relates her sad and pathetic story.

"I was in the house with my 90-year-old husband when the soldiers came. They had already set fire around the house before I noticed their presence. I told my husband that we should leave the house. He was reluctant and as I persuaded him, soldiers heard our noise, they came to the door and ordered us out. As we came out, I was pushed aside and thereafter they shot my husband.

"The soldiers then took me to a house where I met some other elderly people who were being detained. I told them that the soldiers have killed my husband. The leader of the soldiers said his men killed nobody. But I insisted that my husband was killed by his men, as I was arguing with him, I saw the man who shot my husband passing by and I drew the attention of the commander of the soldiers to this. I said this is the man who shot my husband.

"But the commander said nobody killed my husband. But I was sure that the man that killed my husband was the one I identified. But the commander said the man should go away so he went away.

"The following day, I complained again that they have killed my husband and left his corpse in the sun. For three days I pleaded with the soldiers before they eventually agreed to bury him. Even then, he was not properly buried, they merely dug about one foot and put the corpse there so the corpse was not properly covered with earth. The next day I complained that the corpse was not properly buried and that most parts of the body particularly the face and the head were still outside.

"The military commander then said since there were no young men in the town, some women should accompany me to where my husband was buried. So my younger sister and two other women put more earth to cover the head. If you go to the grave you will see that one side is higher than the other side. The higher side is the earth we put.

"I never expected that the soldiers would do this kind of thing to my husband and also destroy our house. They have transformed me into someone who has lost her husband and has also become homeless."

  1. Write to the Nigerian Federal Government to protest the massacre at Odi
  2. For Nigerians: Send copies of your letter to your legislators, and lawmakers from your constituency requesting them to raise issues of environmental concern as a critical part of their mandate and obligation to the people
  3. Send copies of your letters to local newspapers