Revealed: The Untold Story Of Massacre And Atrocities On Biafrans

 By Jeffery Orji

LAGOS MARCH 20TH (NEWSRANGERS)-The name Biafra remains golden in Nigeria no matter how it sound to the ear. Irrespective all they have contributed to the progress Nigeria, they have always being meted with the highest level of crudeness. History will continue to remember the severity of wound inflicted upon them by the Nigerian government.

The agony and pain pierced through the heart of biafrans remain unquantifiable as these atrocities remains a shame to Humanity. The 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom was a series of massacres committed against Biafrans and other people of southern Nigerian origin living in northern Nigeria starting in May 1966 and reaching a peak after 29 September 1966 as records has it that about 30,000 Igbos and easterners have been estimated to have been killed.

For this reason, Cyprian Ekwensi observed in his book ‘’Divided we stand’’ that the Sultan Abubakar the leader of the Hausa Fulani emirate council invited the young Hausa officers and charged them to revenge the death of TafawaBalewa and Ahmadu Bello on the Igbo’s starting from the head of state. Then, the Igbo resident in major cities in northern Nigeria became a target, men and women were killed in their thousands, pregnant women, little innocent babies and helpless people were killed. Murtala Mohammed, TheophilousDanjuma and many other officers of Northern extraction went to Ibadan during General AguiyiIronsi’s state visit to western Nigeria and they abducted him and his host to unknown destination. Later AguiyiIronsi’s and Francis AdekunleFajuyi were reported killed. Then Northern leaders hoist their flag for secession until the Britain came into the picture to urge then to remain in the country and control the power which they have usurped from the Ironsi led military administration. Against military discipline and hierarchy, Gowon was selected by the coupiest to be head of state instead of Brigadier Ogundipe. Ogundipe was surprised that Nigeria military has collapsed in its discipline when a mere corporal flouted his order in the state house and even threatened to shot him. This made him to escape to London where he was appointed a high commissioner.

Then the killing of Igbos in the north intensified. Igbo officers in military barracks were killed by their colleagues from the north without any reason and those that survived headed home, to recount the ordeal of men’s inhumanity to man perpetuated by the northerners. The type of pogrom which took place against the Igbo had never been witnessed in the history of mankind. It is a historical fact that May 29, 1966 things fell apart in the nation and it was difficult for the Centre to hold any unifying power. The planned pogrom against the Igbo in the north persisted. The pogrom was calumniated by the mutiny that claimed the life of the supreme commander. After the death of Ironsi, the officers of Eastern and Midwestern origin were killed and flushed out of barrack by heartless boys led by General Murtala Mohamed.

While coping with the surge of displaced kinsmen who came back to the east maimed and bruised, from both the northern and western Nigeria, Ojukwu persevered even when it was very obvious to him that the cord of unity of Nigeria has been eroded. In January 1967 the Aburi accord took place, in May 27, 1967. The massacres was the precursor to Ojukwu’s declaration of Eastern Nigeria’s secession from the federation as the Republic of Biafra, Gowon in attempt to destroy the pace and unity in the eastern region unilaterally caved Cross river and river state out of the Eastern Region leaving the Igbos with the east Central state.   

Biafra was a sovereign nation from 1967-1970. With Ojukwu’s declaration Gowon declared war. Most African countries and the world stood by and watched, hardly critical or condemnatory of this wanton destruction of human lives, raping, sacking and plundering of towns, villages, community after community in Biafra and elsewhere. At least three million souls perished, and the UN did not lift a finger. Some put the figure of those massacred as high as six million. What is not in dispute is that as many as 12,000 starving Biafrans were dying each day. Most Igbo were slaughtered in their homes, offices, businesses, schools, colleges, hospitals, markets, churches, shrines, farmlands, factories/industrial enterprises, children’s playground, town halls, refugee centres, cars, lorries, and at bus stations, railway stations, airports and on buses, trains and planes and on foot, or starved to death – the openly propagated regime-‘weapon’ to achieve its heinous goal more speedily. History reveals that nearly 3 million Igbos including women and children were systematically starved to death during the war

Earlier on in 1945 and 1953, under the very watch of British occupation, the Hausa-Fulani political leadership had carried out two premeditated pogroms on Igbo immigrant populations in Jos and Kano in opposition to the Igbo vanguard role in the struggle for the restoration of Nigerian independence from British conquest. Hundreds of Igbo were murdered on each occasion and tens of thousands of pounds sterling worth of their property looted or destroyed. Neither in Kano nor Jos did the occupation regime apprehend or prosecute anyone for these massacres and destruction. Tragically, these pogroms turned out as ‘dress rehearsals’ for the 1966-1970 genocide.

More so, Biafrans who seek the right to self-determination as the people of East Timor or South Sudan whose independence has been acknowledged.  It is the first article of the main UN human rights treaties.The Biafra people have been requesting the recognition of their right to self-determination and their right to a referendum, but their calls keep falling on deaf ears with little or no recognition by the Nigeria Government. Nigeria territorial integrity provides the counter argument.

Biafra Captured the world’s attention when in 1967 it declared independence and its people were subsequently subjected to a cruel war by the Nigeria Government. The Biafrans, in truth, didn’t stand a chance, but they sustained their independence for almost three years until they were bombed and starved into submission. Photographs of that conflict, showing the consequence of war and famine, are still among the defining images of post-Colonial Africa. The Igbo people did not do well out of the British. Colonisation was hugely disruptive as a consequence of British. We led the struggle to independence but upon success we were marginalized.

The world will continue to bear witness of this because of photographs of starving, potbellied children everywhere. Post-colonial Africa is still defined and haunted by those images. That Starvation was the reality of our parents and grandparents. The Nigerian government response to our declaration of secession was to attack with its might supported by those who hate Biafra. Biafrans fought with the few weapons they had. I look back at those Biafrans who fought for their survival with such pride. They were up against a well-equipped and highly trained Nigerian Army with the latest weaponry. The British had formed an unholy alliance with the Soviet Union to ensure that Nigerian state forces would prevail. Biafra was but a pawn in the global politics of the time. All that mattered was who controls Nigeria but it was during this war that Biafra made her name.

For nearly three years the Biafrans held out. We were surrounded, our hospitals and homes bombed by soviet- supplied aircraft, until a deliberate policy of starvation forced Biafra to surrender and be absorbed back into Nigeria. We know it was deliberate because at a peace conference in 1968 the leader of the Nigerian delegation said “starvation is a legitimate weapon of war and we have every intention of using it against the rebels.”

President MuhamacduBuhari being a commander then remains a one of the terrors of that time as he played a major role on this genocide as he then commanded a sector along the Oji River to stop food supplies from entering Biafra. Posterity Must Jugde you! Later President Buhari reportedly said that he had no regrets and owe no apologies to Biafrans but Ignores the obvious fact that Biafra is a movement and an Ideology. People who carry ideology with them cannot be killed. This is evident in the IPOD reaction when the police through its Commissioner in Abia State, EneOkon, had vowed that they would not sit down and allow IPOB participate in the burial of NnamdiKanu’s parents, stressing that it had reached out “to the prime minister of Afaraukwu and told him that if they want the burial to go on smoothly and for police to give them security, they should tell IPOB not to near the area not to talk of participating in the burial. sIPOB in a statement signed by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, yesterday, said: “If the military might of the Almajiri Nigerian North, grand conspiracy of the judiciary and mind-numbing treachery of Igbo governors and OhanaezeNdigbo could not stop IPOB, how much less an unknown Fulani boy-boy and servant in police uniform in Umuahia. It is important we inform the Fulani masters of this Okon and those parading themselves as military officers in AfaraukwuUmuahia to beware because they cannot stop IPOB from coming to the burial of our leader’s parents on February 14, 2020. All the years of threats and brutal crackdowns on IPOB have all resulted in making IPOB more defiant, determined and ruthless in our pursuit of the noble goal of Biafra liberation.”

What is incomprehensible to me is that Nigeria got away with the crimes that they perpetuated against Biafra and then demanded that we remain part of the same country. The raped being forced to remain with the rapist. We had no choice. In many ways the “peace” afterwards was worse than war. Those who had fled their homes found them occupied by incomers when they returned. Our Parents’ Job were taken away from them. The little money they had left were lost because Biafran supplies of the old currency were not honoured. Many Igbos left the country where they had no future and made their homes across the world. For decades Biafra became just a memory, and one that could not even be spoken about. My late Dad once told me “Hold your ears. I was just a boy. We were sitting together on a bench. “You are not allowed to discuss Biafra Publicly. They might kill you or you might spend the rest of your life in Prison.”

Our parents suffered terribly during the Biafra war. They were the victims of the Policies that the Nigerian Authorities instigated. My Uncles and my grandparents did not survive. They were beaten, starved, shot, bombed out of their homes, the women raped by Nigerian Soldiers. They were so hungry and thirsty that they drank urine to survive.

IPOB’s mission is simple. Our Struggle is to have the right self-determination of the Biafran people recognized. We continue to call for referendum. It is for the people of Biafra to decide, but I hope that self- determination means independence. Fifty- five years ago, we were forced to fight for Biafran Independence. Today we battle with our voices, music, and our lives but not weapons. We reject violence. We put our faith in human rights. It is the ballot box, not bullets, which will guarantee our liberation.

Mr President, You and the state you preside rejects Human rights. Your instinct is to resort to lethal force. The atrocities the Nigerian state has committed against Biafrans since you have President in 2015 is the worst in our history.

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Posted by on Mar 20 2020. Filed under Features, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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