MR. NGERIBIA lies at the Degema General Hospital with a fractured leg and stab wounds all over his body. His story is as follows:
“The frequent molestation of Easterners in different parts of the North gave cause for alarm in Bukuru. Many Easterners decided to quit and move bag and baggage to the Bukuru Railway Station on 16th September. There were no trains and the people reluctant to return to the town decided to sit it out at the Station. Very early in the morning on Friday 30th September we were attacked by armed soldiers and civilians. There was confusion all over the place and by day-break more than fifty people lay dead. In the morning, Native Authority lorries tried to evacuate all of us but the attackers stormed in again and the heavily packed lorries were riddled with bullets.
“Several men, women and children fell dead. I was not quite lucky this time. My right leg was fractured and I had stab wounds on my forehead and body; as I tried to crawl a heavy blow fell on my back (I did not know what it was) and I lay unconscious. When I recovered consciousness, I found myself in a pool of blood and naked. I was later conveyed to the General Hospital, Jos for emergency treatment. I think it was the Red Cross which provided us with clothing. We were taken to the Jos Airport where we boarded a chartered plane that brought us to Port Harcourt from where I was transferred to this Hospital.”
MATHIAS ANYAOGU narrates:
“I was a staff of the Fire Brigade attached to the Local Office in Kano. On the 1st day of October, the day the Anniversary of our Independence was celebrated, I was on afternoon duty. When I got to the office, we continued working till 8.30 p.m. We heard gun-shots at the Railway Station. When we asked for the cause of the gun-shots we were told by some Hausas that the soldiers were shooting because the long-expected Sound-bound train had arrived. Just then some eight armed soldiers came to our Office in Land Rover. One of them who was a sergeant ordered that all Easterners should raise up their hands. For fear none of us did. He continued asking that we raise up our hands. Since we had no other choice we reluctantly raised up our hands. There were about seven of us including an Ibo man who had run into our office for safety.
“The sergeant asked us whether we could remember what happened on the 15th of January when the Prime Minister and the Premier of the North lost their lives and the Ibos were all very happy. We said No, Sergeant. Paying no heed to that he asked us to give our names and addresses and send any messages we have for our people because we were going to die. John, a co-worker, took our names and addresses and we gave him the money we had intended sending home through those going by the South-bound train. We had this money with us because it was only the previous day that we received our monthly salary. Raymond Uwaezuoke gave £32, I gave £11 and many others gave theirs too. After collecting this money, they took us to their Land Rover and warned us that anyone who tried to jump out would be finished. They drove us five miles away to Katsina Road, brought us down and started shooting us. I felt my leg shattered and fell down.
“When they thought we were all dead they drove back to the town. After regaining consciousness, I looked around me and saw that all the people with me had died. I managed to crawl into the bush. I spent three days in the bush – Saturday, Sunday and Monday. When I crawled out to a road, I was lucky to see a car driven by a European which took me to City Hospital, Kano. I remained in that Hospital until the Red Cross made arrangements to take me to East by plane.”
NATHANIEL OKENWA was unconscious all the way from the North to the East. It was only recently that he could move his limbs and head. He was then able to give the following accounts:
“On the 29th September, I got ready to go to work but just as I was about to go out a friend came and asked me not to step out. When I asked him why he said that all the Ibos working in the main office had been killed. I therefore decided to seek a way of escape.
“I ran into the room of one Yoruba man and hid inside the ceiling of the building. I stayed there from 7 a.m. to about 7 p.m. They went into my room and looted all my belongings after which they came into the Yoruba man’s room and asked whether there was any Ibo man hiding there. They were told that no Ibo man was there. They left saying that they would come back again and that if they discovered that the Yorubas were hiding anybody they themselves would be in danger of losing their lives. They said they knew I had not gone to work and that I was hiding somewhere as they were sure I had not escaped. I heard all these things from my hiding-place in the ceiling.
“At about 7 p.m. I left the yard and sought a way out. I entered the bush and ran until I came out on tarred road. Just as I was looking to see if I could get a lorry to take me I saw some Hausas and they were the very people who were looking for me. I ran in the opposite direction but unfortunately I came upon a road block and many soldiers were there with their guns. The soldiers caught me and started beating me. Judging from the way they handled me I believed that I was a dead man. But they left me half dead. I called on them to come and take my life but they refused and said that they would leave me there to suffer and die in agony.
“I soon lost consciousness and did not know what happened afterwards. The next morning I called on them to come and kill me instead of leaving me in pain. They refused. I managed to push into the road and towards the path of an approaching lorry so that it would smash me. Little did I know that the lorry I had wanted to end my life under would be my saviour.
“This lorry had a European and a police constable in it. The policeman, a Northerner, was very annoyed. He turned around and asked the men round there: “Didn’t you kill this man?”. They said they had left me there to die. He asked them again why they did not kill me. The European requested that I should be saved. The police constable insisted that it was useless taking me to the hospital. However, with great reluctance he allowed the white man to carry me into the lorry.
“He asked whether I would like to be taken to Jos General Hospital. The white man said that if I was taken to Jos Hospital that would be my end. So I asked that I should be taken to the Christian Mission Hospital at Vom. This was on the 30th of September and I remained there until I was taken down to the East on the 4th of October.”
MR. GEORGEWILL I. DEDE of Okrika says:
“I have been in Kano since November 1954 as a Train Guard in the Nigerian Railway Corporation. Before the incident at Kano, we were promised by our officer (a Northerner called J. George) that we would be provided with wagons to carry our loads back to the East. We packed our goods to the station on Friday, 30th September. There were not only Railway workers but also other passengers who wanted to travel by rail because there was no other means of going to the East.
“Before our arrival many of them had spent about a week at the Railway Station waiting for the train. On Saturday, 1st October, the Hausa officer who had promised us wagons vanished. At about 7 p.m. armed Northern soldiers arrived at the Railway platform. They allowed their own Northern Railway workers to escape and then started shooting at the passengers. After killing the people at the station they entered the offices. I was in the Telegraph Office with many Easterners when they began to shoot at us. Their bullets could not penetrate where I was hiding flat on the ground and covered with bences and chairs. When they thought we were all dead they went out. Immediately I crawled into the Railway yard and lay flat covered with grasses. From there I could see soldiers packing the dead bodies into the Rest House at the station. I lay there till about 2 a.m. Then a heavy breeze came with rain and I had to leave the place. I trekked towards Mundudu Railway Station. On the way the Hausa natives of the area met me. They were carrying matchets, clubs and bows and arrows and they asked me to bring all the money I had in my pocket. I brought out £86 I had on me at that time.
“Then they first cut my left hand, almost severing it. Then cut my right shoulder. They began to inflict matchet wounds on me mercilessly, even cutting me on the nose. By now I was lying flat, bleeding helplessly. They then removed my wristwatch, shirts and singlet and the money in my back pocket which was £2.10.0. When they had left me, I managed to crawl into culvert nearby. I remained there from that time until the morning of Monday when I was able to crawl back towards Kano. I was picked up on the way by the Red Cross to the City Hospital, Kano, where I was treated for about a week. By that time the Red Cross had arranged the plane which took me and some of the wounded to Enugu.”
The above was taken from the booklet issued by Britain-Biafra Association in 1968.