Images of the Biafran war, a past bitter experience that still haunts many Nigerians
BY ERIC ONYEBUCHI
I like to begin this article by saying that I am not a card-carrying member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and do not belong to any freedom fighter group in Nigeria – even though I admire their efforts. I’m still a Nigerian citizen, however, I am very proud to say that I’m a Biafran because I was born in the Biafra Republic and will remain a Biafran no matter what citizenship I hold currently.
Having said that, I must state that the on-going agitation for Biafra nation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other Biafra groups is not a quest for equity or justice but a clear and sincere call for freedom and liberation from the Hausa-Fulani Sokoto Caliphate agenda to enslave and Islamize the former Eastern region of Nigeria.
Biafra agitation is not even a call to restructure Nigeria which, off course is urgently needed as many wise and eminent citizens have voiced out, but the agitation is a genuine and urgent call to liberate the former Eastern region from systemic marginalization, suffocating economic exploitation and political oppression against them by the Hausa-Fulani caliphate, Yoruba oligarchy and Igbo sellouts, saboteurs, and puppets. Therefore, the agitation for Biafra nation is a sincere call for separation—to liberate a godly people and free a nation of Biafra from Islamic Nigeria.
Today, the Gospel and message of Biafra being strongly preached by IPOB leadership through Radio Biafra and several Biafra media outlets including Biafra TV as well as IPOB protests across the world have rekindled the aspiration and hope of millions of Biafrans who are scattered worldwide.
In fact, the “Sit-At-Home” protest ordered by IPOB leadership on September 23, 2016, was hugely obeyed by all Biafrans across SE/SS region. The strategy was impactful and consequential. Everything from market shops, stores, schools, banks, etc., was shut down that day. Most of SE/SS region was deserted. The ‘Sit-At-Home” protest was clear evidence that Biafra nation is here and that Nigeria will never be the same again.
It must also be noted that it is ironic that IPOB leader and director of radio Biafra, Mr. Nanmdi Kanu has been in detention at Kuje prison since October 14, 2015, for asking for freedom of Biafrans from oppression. The IPOB leadership and their millions of members are doing what other freedom fighters and groups have done throughout history. Many northern leaders have said and done things that are worse.
And so, the continued detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and clamp down, arrests, maiming and barbaric massacre of unarmed peaceful protesting Biafra youths by the Nigerian military personnel have amplified the message of the systemic marginalization and satanic oppression of the Biafrans in Nigeria. Despite these atrocities, they are not deterred. This informs me that IPOB is a serious movement led by courageous leaders and committed followers.
Throughout history, great movements have been propelled by the charisma of their leaders and commitment of their followers. Additionally, great movements are known for what they stand for—their articulated goals, ideals, aspiration, and purpose. For little over a year, I have been studying IPOB and those who lead it and I can say without hesitation and fear that IPOB is a great movement and it is led by courageous men and women.
Time will come when history will properly write about IPOB and its leadership. But for now, I want to focus on the clear purpose of IPOB, and that is to liberate Biafrans and Biafra land from satanic agenda of the Hausa-Fulani caliphate to enslave and Islamize the entire Nigeria comprising the Eastern region of Southeast and so-called South-south regions.
The Islamisation agenda of President Muhammad Buhari is no longer a secret to millions of Nigerians now—his lopsided appointment, relocation of military headquarters to his State, the unleashing of EFCC, DSS, Boko haram, Fulani herdsmen, Army and other military squad that terrorize, arrest, maim that imprison his political opponents and massacre his enemies and unarmed peaceful Biafran youth protesters is unprecedented in Nigeria.
Furthermore, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB leadership are exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.
The agitation for Biafra independence fulfills the requirements of the United Nations Charter General Assembly Resolution of September 2007—articles 1 and 2, and article 20 of the African Charter on human rights recognizing and supporting the rights of all ethnic nations and peoples have the unquestionable and inalienable rights to self-determination of which Nigeria is a signatory to.
According to United Nations Charter General Assembly Resolution (A/61/295) of September 2007: “Self-determination” is the principle and practice whereby a nation, for example, an ethnic nation is in control of its own people, its own land, its own resources, and its own governance, independent of any other subtending political structure. “
Additionally, constitutional freedoms of speech and expression as enshrined in the Nigerian law, do not forbid anyone from canvassing peaceful self-government which in any event is legally permissible under diverse international humanitarian laws including the Covenant on Civil and political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR) which Nigeria as a United Nations member signed on to.
So, I do not understand why President Buhari and his supporters are not aware of all these documents but continue to unleash such relentless, ruthless and unspeakable brutality on IPOB members seeking self-determination for Biafran people and region. President Buhari himself knows this quite well because he has stood at the United Nations and pleaded for two-state solution between Israel and Palestine as well as spoken out for an Islamic region known as Western Sahara, a disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east to be an independent nation.
So why this sort of hypocrisy in Nigeria? Why does President Mohammadu Buhari and his northern caliphate want Biafra people—mostly Christians to remain in Islamic Nigeria only to be butchered and massacred at will? Why does Nigeria need Biafran people by the way?
The President’s dictatorial and fascist tendencies, his imperial, fanatic and tribal leadership have sharply divided Nigeria. His disdain and condescension toward Igbos, his assault on the legislative and recently on the judiciary shows his cowardice and incompetence in governing a democratic Nigeria. I wonder if the President still remembers that Nigeria is no longer in military regime but has transitioned to the democratic system of governance since 1999.
The President’s leadership failure as his wife—Mrs. Aisha Buhari correctly made us understand recently during her interview with BBC Hausa Voice, coupled with the President’s unguarded response and comments, unwise actions, his lack of communication skills and presidential etiquette have been a complete disgrace.
It is a really a shame that Nigerians—led by SW and crony Bola Tinubu and jihadist north elected a man who lacks the capacity to lead a democratic Nigeria in the 21st century. And to read from the President’s puppets who defend his dictatorship, impunity, tyranny and fascist government in this 21st-century world is very disturbing and disgraceful. Nigeria is a failed State and an absolute global disgrace.
Here are the seven factors fueling the current Biafra agitation for separation and freedom from Nigeria. I’ll share only three factors in this part one and give you the remaining four factors in part two of the essay next week.
According to my study and research, there is no crime in the history of human history that equals the cobbling of variant groups of people with vast differences in one country without any set of parameters and value system that give them true identity of their new nation.
This is the case of Nigeria and most of sub-Sahara Africa. But Nigeria is worse case scenario in human history, Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and many other Africa commonwealth do have similar problems but more of tribal superiority and not radical Islamic religious fanaticism like Nigeria.
Colonization of Africa is an indescribable rape and destruction of the mother continent. British colonization is the worst crime against humanity. No atrocity in human history equals it.
Nigeria has become simply a den of death, of sorrow, sadness, pain, suffering and hopelessness – a lawless and failed nation Nigeria is a corrupt and failed experiment. Earlier this year, the former British Prime Minister, David Cameron called Afghanistan and Nigeria ‘fantastically corrupt’ nations. But I’ll go further to state that Nigeria is not only fantastically corrupt but uncontrollably lawless and rudely barbaric. And so it baffles why the former and evil British Empire continues to support and back Nigeria’s “status quo.”
Today, Britons have peacefully conducted a referendum to exit the European Union (EU)—the so-called BREXIT, but will not support Biafra do the same in Nigeria. What a hypocrisy! I think it is time for Britain and global powers do the needful to reorganize, restructure and dismantle this continent of blood and death called Africa starting with Nigeria.
This is the primary reason fueling the current Biafra agitation for freedom and separation from Nigeria.
Ethnic hatred, envy, jealousy, tribalism, and injustice:
There is enormous hatred toward Igbos and Biafrans in Nigeria. Before the coming of British colonial empire, all Biafran people lived in peace and harmony with their neighbors and traded with them without conflict and violence. But after the conquest and colonization of the variant groups in present-day Nigeria by British imperialist, each ethnic group began to hate each other.
One major reason for this hatred is the social, linguistics, religious and common ancestral heritage that Biafrans have with Jews. It is believed that the two sons of Gad— Eri and Arodi are said to have fathered clans, established kingdoms and founded towns still in existence in Biafra land today.
Secondly, Biafrans like the Jews are very intelligent, innovative, hardworking, enterprising, and prosperous people.
Thirdly, the Igbos are called the ‘Nyamiri’ in the North, which means ‘money lover.’ And so, the Igbos are viewed as a people with an unbridled lust and love for money.
Fourthly, the Igbos are enterprising and adapting. They migrated and lived in the North, SW and across the width and breadth of Nigeria and prospered as entrepreneurs.
Because of these four factors among others, Biafrans are hated by Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba tribes of Nigeria.
The ethnic hatred and tribalism led to state injustice against Biafra. And so, Nigeria, despite her enormous human capital and abundant natural resources—a nation with so much promise of prosperity and greatness is today a failed State because of ethnic hatred, tribalism, and injustice. Today, the State sponsors ethnic and religious massacre using Boko haram, Fulani herdsmen, and military as well as politically motivated killings. This is another major reason Biafrans want to restore their nation.
The rise of state-sponsored jihadism and killings of Christians in Nigeria:
Radical Islamic terrorism and jihadism are another critical reason why Biafra wants to separate from Nigeria. State sponsor of terrorism is a serious threat to the security, prosperity, and unity of Nigeria. There is an awful level of religious ignorance and intolerance, which breed violence and killings. Since the 1930’s, religious violence and ethnic killings have escalated in Northern Nigeria against Biafrans. Religious killings have decimated more Christians in Northern Nigeria in the last 50 years than hunger, disease, accidents and even wars combined together.
Since, the 1940’s, pogroms have been committed against the Igbo in the North. In 1945, Igbos were massacred in the city of Jos. In 1954, there was another massacre of Igbos in the city of Kano and in 1966 there was a prolonged series of pogroms. The 1960’s political crisis, tribal and religious killings led to an unforgettable genocidal civil war of 1967-70 in which more than more than three million Biafra lives were wasted. That bitter civil war left an unforgettable anger, bitterness, and hatred among the peoples of Nigeria. Even the end of war slogan “No Victor No Vanquished” could not bury the tumultuous and fractured history of a people that had been traumatized and to live peacefully and to trust each other until today.
Until today, Igbos are being massacred all over Nigeria without any arrest or punishment of the perpetrators of such heinous and barbaric massacres. Since 1999, we have seen the rapid rise of radical Islamic violence and the authoritarian corrupt political leadership. There is a growing religious intolerance and conflict, ethnic bias and strife, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism especially in the northern part of the country, where jihadist sects like Boko haram, a group that detests Western education and social norms, are bombing businesses, Churches, Temples and Police stations killing people at random. The sect is also agitating for the Sharia Republic in the north.
Many sections of the country are currently under siege by Boko-haram and Fulani herdsmen—armed with AK-47, sharp knives, bows & arrows among other assault weapons—openly raping young girls, married women, killing and massacring local farmers including the recent massacres of unarmed Biafra youths by Nigerian DSS, Army, and Police in several Southeast and South-south cities.
It is unfathomable that this sort of barbarism is happening in Nigeria in the 21st century when nations are seeking ways to tap into the limitless opportunities for development and progress, Nigerian illiterate and murderous cattle rearers are busy massacring the future Biafran engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, etc., – the future leaders of Africa and the world.
Instead of the Nigerian military forces—Army, Police and DSS to clamp down on jihadist Boko harm and murderous Fulani herdsmen—who are carrying out mayhem and heinous crime against Biafrans in Nigeria, the military forces are rather aiding and protecting Fulani herdsmen murderers.
And no one is perturbed about these barbaric and senseless killings. Due to poverty, suffering, selfishness and hopelessness, Nigeria does not have men and women with common sense, civility, and compassion any longer. We have become a coward citizenry, lawless, hopeless, uncivilized, debased, and degenerate society.
Nigeria’s erudite scholar and top diplomat, Dr. Joseph Garba, captured it in his masterpiece book “Fractured History,” when he said:
“We (Nigeria) have degenerated into a nation of lawlessness and hopelessness; making an unprecedented turnaround; going from a nation of hope, strength, abundance, economic prosperity and high aspirations to a nation which has become the embodiment of a degenerate society’”.
Millions of citizens have lost hope in the Nigerian project. And we, in the Eastern region have had enough and want to be freed from the systemic marginalization, economic exploitation, political oppression, extreme poverty, senseless massacres, and most importantly the satanic agenda to make Nigeria an Islamic State by Sokoto Caliphate sponsored by Saudi Arabia and other radical Islamic Arab nations.
All this call for the reason why eminent Igbo leaders have expressed their support for the growing demand for regional autonomy to facilitate Nigeria’s economic and political development.
They asserted that the time had come for the Federal Government to recognize the inalienable rights of the constituent regions of Nigeria to self-determination and regional autonomy as contained in the 1960 Independence Constitution and 1963 Republican Constitution.
At a press conference to mark the end of the well-attended World Igbo Summit at the Goodluck Jonathan Auditorium, Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, Igbo leaders also demanded the release of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu.
Their views were contained in a communique signed by the Chairman of the Summit, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, former Old Anambra State Governor, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Col. Joe Achuzia (RTD), Chief Francis Ojih, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Prof George Obiozor, Dr Greg Ike Ibe, Iyom Josephine Anenih and Dr Joe Nwaogu.
The South East leaders called for a repeal of the 1999 Constitution.
They said that a new constitution for the country was long overdue.
The Summit noted that since the Biafran agitators are not a threat to national security, the Federal Government should promptly release their leader (Kanu) and all other prisoners of conscience in line with the rule of law.
The Summit, which took place at the Gregory University Uturu, Abia State, between October 27 and October 30, 2016, brought together the great minds of Ala Igbo to dialogue and design a strategic roadmap for growth and development for the South East.
Even on what appears a further marginalization of the South East zone, the Federal Government has left out the region in projects which President Muhammadu Buhari plans to execute with the proposed $29.960 billion infrastructure loan.
A breakdown of how the loan would be spent on infrastructure between 2016 and 2018 shows that none of the projects contained in the government’s document is located in the South East geo-political zone.
President Buhari had on Tuesday asked the Senate to approve the loan from multilateral financial institutions to enable his administration executed critical infrastructure and other social intervention initiatives across the country.
The Finance Ministry said the $29.960 billion loan is designed to address infrastructure deficit in the country.
But in a statement released to journalists on Thursday on the projects to be funded by the loan, there was no single infrastructural project allocated to the South East – an area most acutely hit by poor infrastructure and an acute shortage of various social amenities.
According to the statement, issued by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Finance on Media, Mr. Festus Akanbi, infrastructural projects are allocated $18.3 billion.
The projects to be embarked upon are the Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Project ($4.8 billion), the Modernisation Coastal Railway Project (Calabar-Port Harcourt-Onne Deep Sea Port Segment) valued at $3.5 billion and the Abuja Mass Transit Rail Project (Phase 2) put at $1.6 billion.
Others are the Lagos-Kano Railway Modernization Project (Lagos-Ibadan Segment Double Track) estimated at $1.3 billion and the Lagos-Kano Railway Modernization Project (Kano-Kaduna Segment Double Track) valued at $1.1 billion.
The balance of $11 billion will be expended on Eurobond ($4.5 billion), Federal Government Budget Support ($3.5 billion), Social Support for Education and Health ($2.2 billion), Agriculture ($1.2 billion), and Economic Management and Statistics ($.2 billion).
According to the statement, the borrowing has a three-year plan covering proposed projects for 2016-2018 and is expected to be phased over the three year period.
The ministry said that the borrowings are highly concessional (non-commercial), with low-interest rates and long tenors.
The Federal Government affirmed that the funding is being sought from multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and the China Exim Bank.
The planned Eurobond issuance in the international capital markets, the statement pointed out, is the only commercial source of funding.
But when The AUTHORITY contacted Akanbi on the apparent omission of the South East on the project allocation, he said that the loan has nothing to do with regional consideration. He said that the government would still reflect all the regions in the 2017 Budget.
Akanbi said: “I don’t have an answer to your question. This is just a Federal Government thing that was presented today. It’s not a regional thing. There are other projects like agriculture.
“These are strategic things just like the intervention for three years’ program. That does not stop the Federal Government from planning for all the regions next year and in the 2018 budget. It’s just for support. It’s not the main thing, just an ad-hoc initiative.
“The government is going to sit down and work on the 2017 budget and all the regions will be covered. It has nothing to do with regions. These are specific projects on ground”.
Now I ask Africa region and world power to do justice to the people of the old Eastern region for fairness and peace to reign.