As 30th May (Heroes Day) draws closer and closer, I picked for myself Alex Madiebo’s ‘The Nigeria Revolution And The Biafran War. That was after I finished reading the ever wonderful work written by Emefiena Ezeani, which he titled ‘In Biafra, Africa Died’. The books helped to place me into the required mood as to understand the part our fallen Heroes played in our lives as Biafrans trapped in a fake country called Nigeria.
With the first Nigeria revolution in 1966 led by Kaduna Nzeogwu, the North who earlier supported and actively participated in the revolution has started taking ethnic sides and accusing the Igbo of trying to take over the government. This led to the coup masterminded by northern officers some of whom includes Yakubu Gowon and Mohammad Buhari. Alex Madiebo was stuck in Kaduna when the coup started. Being an Eastern officer, and for the fact that the target of the coup plotters was to kill off Easterners, he set out to make it into Enugu through Makurdi. It was on his way that he met three other soldiers on the run too, planning and hoping to cross the Benue Bridge. Among these soldiers, two were Igbo, while one is from Cross River/ Akwaibom part of Biafra. When this soldiers can not wait any longer, they decided to cross the bridge, being guided by Northern Soldiers. Among these three soldiers, only one crossed into Enugu alive. The other two was spotted, shot and thrown into the Benue river. Reports say Benue river was littered with bodies of Easterners.
Trains conveying Easterners back to the East was over loaded that people started falling off from the moving train. Many more died inside the train Couches because of congestion. Many families went home with heads of their loved ones for decent burial, only to die on their way home.
Northerners began their killing feast on Easterners. Igbos, Ijaws, Itsekiri, Efik, Uhrobo were not spared. Families were burnt alive right inside their houses. Many were cut down with machetes in the streets, market places and even inside police stations. In some places, Easterners who ran into the Churches praying for peace, were all burnt to death and in most cases butchered to dead by Northern youths, protected by Gowon and other top Northern military men. Unfortunately, these men that supervised these unwarranted killings are still Nigeria leaders today.
Easterners who made it alive to the East came back without limbs and while others lost some vital parts of their bodies. They came back from a nation they were seen as enemies that deserved to be killed. Gowon that killed Easterners in the North brought his soldiers into the East and started killing Biafrans that managed to return alive from the North. More than 3.5 million Biafrans died in that gruesome and unjustified war. With nothing they fought a war of survival against those that wanted to wipe them off the surface of the earth as to go extinct.
Obafemi Awolowo came with his blockade and starvation policy, that killed many Biafran men, women and children. Hunger became for them a weapon of war, and for three years the Biafran people fought with nothing against the British powers who has colluded with Northern and western Nigeria to wipe Biafrans all out.
The heroes went to war fronts without boots, cloths and shortage of guns, yet they fought like warriors. In Asaba Biafrans were gathered and asked to shout “One Nigeria” by the Nigeria military headed by Murtala Mohammed. As they were shouting One Nigeria, Nigerian soldiers opened fire on them, killing all the male child from the age of 15. That is what we today called Asaba Massacre.
Years after the civil war, Nigeria military is still killing Biafrans.
In Port Harcourt, Biafra youths celebrating the victory of President Trump was killed by Nigeria military under President Muhammadu Buhari.
In Onitsha and inside a Catholic Church in Nkpor, Nigerian military killed hundreds of Biafra youths.
In a community primary school in Aba, where IPOB members were praying for the release of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the Nigerian military went in killing hundreds of youths and dumped their bodies inside a borrow pit.
In Umuahia, inside the Palace of HRH Igwe Kanu, who happens to be Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s father, the Nigerian military opened fire, killing more than 100 youths and took most of their lifeless bodies away.
These and many more are the reasons we have set aside 30th May and resolved to stay at home in remembrance of our fallen heroes. They have fought a good fight, they have died fighting. Staying at home to remember them is not enough for the prize they paid for us to live.