The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano have expressed shock at the death of Col Joseph Achuzia, who was reported dead on Monday morning.
IPOB in a press statement signed by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful lamented the loss, describing Achuzia who was known both as Hannibal and Air raid expert, during the Nigeria/Biafra war as one of those who saved Igbos from being entirely wiped out.
Part of the statement by IPOB read, “With deep sense of loss and sorrow the entire family and leadership of IPOB join the immediate family members, relatives and Biafrans both home and abroad to commiserate over the sudden demise of our icon, hero and great Biafran warrior of our time Chief (Col) Joe Achuzia.
“Hannibal and Air Raid as he was fondly called till his death, was an extraordinary and exceptional charismatic personality and finest battle-field commander of towering repute.
“He and his war time colleague Timothy Onwuatuegwu most represented the spirit of bravery and patriotism which characterized the military campaign that prevented the annihilation and Islamisation of the Biafran race.
“He led the gallant Biafran soldiers that inflicted heavy defeat on the enemy at Abagana; he masterminded the recapture of Owerri, the then capital of Biafra from a better equipped British backed Russian armed Nigerian Army.”
It added that Achuzia will be remembered by history as one of the finest and bravest soldiers the world had ever seen.
It went further that though his exploits were in a quickly forgotten war in black Africa, the magnitude of his accomplishments put in context ranks among the greatest military feats of the modern era.
On his part, the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano said he learnt with regret and emotion the news of the passing of Achuzia in Asaba after a bout of illness.
Obiano who spoke through his Commissioner of Information Communication Strategy, Mr Tony Nnachetta said Achuzua’s death was the passing of a legend and a patriot of the highest order.
“He was a man of service and deep convictions whose exploits in the sands of time can never be forgotten by our people, both young and old. His Excellency recalls his personal sacrifices at trouble shooting in Igboland and the well being of our peoples in war and in peace.
“On behalf of the people and Government of Anambra State, Governor Obiano commiserates with his brother, the Governor of Delta State, His Excellency Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the Asagba in Council, Ohaneze Ndigbo and Nigerians on this monumental loss.”