The students of Eastern Nigerian origin of the Ahmadu Bello University also addressed a memorandum dated 6th June, 1966 to the then Supreme Commander (Exhibit J1/7) and endorsed to all the Regional (then called Provincial) Governors. It is on record that a copy of this memorandum was endorsed to the British High Commissioner Lagos.
Students of Eastern Nigeria Origin,
Ahmadu Bello University,
6th June, 1966.
Major General J. T.U. Aguiyi-lronsi,
Supreme Commander & Head of the National Military Government,
Republic of Nigeria,
Through The Provincial Military Governor,
Northern Provinces Kaduna.
A Memorandum by the Students of Eastern Nigeria Origin on the Riotous Events that took place on “The Black Sunday” 29th of May 1966 at Zaria and Samaru.
We, the students of Eastern origin of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, appreciate the efforts being made by the National Military Government and the Military Governor of the Northern Group of Provinces to arrest the extremely explosive situation that has been thrust on Nigeria since Sunday the 29th of May 1966. Judging from radio and newspaper reports on these events, we feel that both the Supreme Commander and the Military Governor of the North are not being given the full facts of these events and as such there has been a dangerous tendency to under estimate the gravity of these events. Under these circumstances, we feel compelled, being so close to the scene of these events, to submit this memorandum which attempt to report as accurately as we possibly can on these events. This we genuinely hope will enable our policy makers take the right decisions and so to find a lasting solution to this re-current threat by one section against another section of this Nigerian Republic.
Phase I: Pre-Demonstration Manoeuvres by Students
A great deal of the events of 29th May was planned by Northern Nigeria Students in this University. The diary of their manoeuvres which follows illustrates this contention:
(1) On 24th May 1966, The Northern Students held a national meeting from 8.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. for “a free discussion”.
(2) On 25th May 1966, a representative of the Northern Students’ Association – an essentially tribal organisation run by prominent members of the former N.P.C. Youth Association went to Kaduna to protest to the Military Governor of the Northern Provinces. This delegation was also to discuss matters with top Civil Servants of Northern origin. On the same day, noctural secret sessions at different hours of the night took place.
(3) Between May 26th and May 27th 1966, emissary delegates were dispatched to all comers of the far Northern Provinces.
(4) On 27th May 1966, several nocturnal meetings were held at different points on the University campus to collaborate the studied advice of all the Emirs and district heads interviewed. Mallam Yusufu Mohammed (4th year student of Architecture) was largely in charge. He piloted a lorry load of looters from Zaria to Samaru on that Sunday.
(5) On the 20th May 1966, intensive nocturnal meetings were held lasting till 6.15 a.m. on 29th May.
(6) At 7 a.m. on that fateful Sunday, the 29th of May, 1966, a large section of the Northern Students trooped out in great numbers heading to Zaria and Kaduna as they say to demonstrate.
Mallam Abdullahi Dagana, Tukur and Abubakar were in charge of Samaru with the aid of an active field officer in the person of one Mallam living in Samaru.
By about 12.30 a.m. some of the students who went on the demonstration came back conveyed back in an open lorry.
Then at 12.30 p.m. that afternoon there were shouts of pain, and cloud of smoke in Samaru. Mr. S. Salako, a final year Fine Art Student and hios looting group operated actively till late in the evening.
The above gives an indication of the extent of the involvement, of the leaders and some members of the so called Northern Students Association. Significantly, no action has been taken by the police to investigate the activities of the Northern Students’ Association.
Phase II: The Role of Foreigners
We are aware of the role of some University lecturers and workers, Nigerian and foreigners in inciting the students to demonstrate against the Military Government. The following people cannot escape any fore-knowledge of and assistance in the steps that led up to the events of the 8th, 29th, 30th and 31st of May, 1966.
- Dr. Iya Abubakar (Nigeria) Senior Lecturer Dept, of Mathematics (A.B.U.)
- Major A. D. F. Boyle (British) – Estate Manager (A.B.U.)
- Alhaji A. Dewu (Nigerian) – Hostel Superintendent (A.B.U.)
- Mr S. S. Richardson (British) – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (A.B.U.)
5 Mallam Dosco (Foreigner from Timbuktu) – Estate Foreman (A.B.U.)
6 Professor F. W. Sansome (British) – Head of Science Dept. (A.B.U.)
- Mr. R. B. Walker (British) – Supt. of Zoo Laboratory (A.B.U.)
- Mr. A. F. Smith (British) – Supt. Technicians Dept of Chemistry (A.B.U.)
- Dr. D. M. Ramsay (British) – Deputy Director. Agric Research Samaru
- Sule Basawa (Nigerian) – Sewage Section (A.B.U.)
- Dan Zaria (Nigerian) – Labourer (A.B.U.)
- Mallam Fashi (Nigerian) – Publicity Secretary A.B.U. Workers Union
- Mallam Garuba (Nigeria) – Messenger Institute of Agric Research (A.B.U.)
- Mallam Baba Yara (Nigerian) – ” ” ” “
- Mallam Audu Jamaa (Nigeria) – Driver (A.B.U.)
- Mallam Tassawa (Foreigner from Timbuktu) – Transport Foreman (A.B.U.)
- Mallam Goje (Nigeria) – Head Steward (A.B.U.)
- Mr. Joshua Guyit (Nigerian) – A.T.C. Student (A.B.U.)
The above men must give a good account of their activities outside the lecture rooms and their normal duties to explain their role in the sad events of the past few days. The fact that many of them are foreigners justifies the National Military Government’s contention that the destruction were the work of misguided Nigerians aided and abetted by foreign intriguers.
We are constrained to ask why the National Military Government has been slow in moving these dangerous elements from the midst of peace loving Nigerians. If the Government is as sure as we are about the diabolical role of these foreigners, why are they still here? Any second they spend more in Nigeria, turns the hand of our clock of progress one hundred years backwards!
Phase III: The Demonstration and Its Destructive Consequences
(1) That our Students of Northern origin went on demonstration on the 29th, the day that inaugurated the three days of looting, arson, killing, destruction of property and near-raping of some girls at petrol stations, is a known fact. What none seems to have noted is that they carried along the photographs of the Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Sir Abubakar the late Prime Minister of Nigeria. The obvious impact of these photographs on the sentiments of the people who saw them can be easily imagined. Certainly the intention behind such an act cannot be in the interest of a peaceful demonstration.
Under the general comment in the press and radios that people were killed and properties destroyed, lies a mass of facts that are essential if the real cause and aim behind the acts of violence can be correctly determined.
(a) Peculiarly all the properties and homes broken into, burnt, and destroyed belong to one section of the Nigerian community. They belong to Ibos, Efiks, Rivers and a few others suspected of belonging to these tribes.
(b) Eastern Nigeria Students of this University living in Samaru village were assaulted. Their properties, books, radios, clothes, bicycles and rooms were destroyed.
(c) The so called hundreds of Nigerians rendered homeless and who now roam without shelter are no other than the Ibos and Eastern Nigerians.
(d) All the people killed by the looters and their accomplices were in fact Easterners. Even those wounded who were rushed to the hospital were mostly Ibos.
Those of them who did not die on the spot but who are Ibos were further attacked on their sick-beds in the hospital at Zaria.
(e) Among the things destroyed were the following:-
iii. Cycles of all descriptions
iv. Sewing machines
v. Household property
vi. Shops, stores, petrol stations and hotels.
All these items constitute the means of livelihood of people who are not in the ‘unified’ Public Services. Beyond any reasonable doubt the events of the 29th, 30th and 31st were clearly directed against law abiding Ibos who had no hand in formulating the decrees the looters and demonstrators were ostensibly protesting against.
(f) We wish to point out the reaction of the Ibos especially those we saw in Samaru during the time of the destruction of their properties. There were no resistance whatsoever. Faced by an angry mob who were accompanied by Nigerian Policemen, the Easterners rested on the protection of the law of our civilised society. Today they are penniless; without either shelter or property. They have lost in three remorseful days all that they had earned through their sweat. Those who come in contact with us here ask us what the Military Government is going to do about them and about those who have dispossessed them. A great deal depends on the action Government takes!
Phase IV: Secession Campaign
Since after the events of the “black Sunday” the foreigners whose brain work is responsible for this organised daylight robbery and barbarism, have been moving round the student body conducting opinion poll “Don’t you think that the North could stand alone if they secede?” What concerns them with secession of the North?
They have started another dangerous campaign – which if not checked will cost more than the events of the “black Sunday”. They now move round confronting students with the derisive and taunting question – ‘Are you an Ibo?’ Please let them be persuaded to stop that, for there is nothing more provoking for one to be wounded and mocked at the same time.
1) As per radio announcement on Sunday 5/06/66, fresh outbreak of violence, looting and rioting occurred in Gombe and Kaura Namoda in Northern Provinces. Assuming that the Northern Emirs held in good faith their meeting the Provincial Governor of the North on 1st June, 1966, and that their decision to sue for peace amongst their subjects was taken in good faith, why should there be more violent uprising in Katsina Emirate belonging to the Provincial Governor’s father? Why must these Emirs go back to organise more looting, killing and pillaging? The country requires an answer to this conspiracy very urgently.
2) Could the Northern Emirs deny intimate knowledge of this plot to kill and destroy? If not, who organised the demonstration in their Emirate, and could such be organised without their knowledge and consent?
If they pretend ignorance of what would be the ultimate result of their demonstration, what effective role did they play to restrain their subjects from looting, killing and pillaging?
3) Prior to the arrival of the Police, the demonstrators were peaceful, but as soon as the Police arrived, the demonstrators sparked off a new flame. The Police took the lead – piloting each group to where valuable properties could be found.
The Police in many cases decided whether the looters should kill, set fire, destroy or carry what was found in a place. The Police at Samaru did this and upon investigation, the plan was same all over.
We want to know, how far the Military Governor of the Northern Provinces, the Emirs, the Provincial Secretaries can deny the fact that the police was impotent not because they were over powered, but because they were sworn parties to the operation being executed.
4) Will the University authorities explain why Mallam Dosco (a foreigner) should use University van Z5144 to transport twice thugs who looted properly at Samaru on Sunday 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. He was seen driving this van about on Sunday 29/05/66 and Monday when the operation lasted its full strength. He started using his official car as from Tuesday.
5) Who prepared the list of all southerners in the Senior Service grade (above certain scale of salary), attaching to the list, their car numbers, and handed this list to educated leaders of the demonstrators, with definite instruction to attack, destroy their houses and burn their cars anywhere and time they were seen? The Provincial Secretary could help this nation with an answer to this question.
6) Why was the demonstration simultaneous all over these provinces?
Phase V: In The Interest of National Unity
There will never be anything like national unity in this country as long as those foreigners who pretend to be University lecturers are allowed to stay in Nigeria to complete their destruction of the country working through the aegis of the Northern Students’ Association and most of the disbanded politicians of the last Government.
To quote a few of the foreigners’ activities during this rumpus, we state briefly:
- a) R. B. Walker, Superintendent of Zoological Laboratories, Ahmadu Bello University, on 29/05/66 drove into the campus in the rain with his band of Hausa looters from Samaru to cut clubs with which to club down their victims. When these were not cutting the clubs with taste, he sounded his car horn thrice. This homing attracted the attention of one us, who looked out and saw Mr. Walker, and saluted him. After salutation he was asked what he was doing there in the rain with those people, he dashed off at great speed leaving behind his evil design associates.
- b) Major A.D.F. Boyle as Officer in charge of the University Estate Management, inspite of being one of the biggest brains behind the present rumpus, gave expressed permission to Mallam Dosso (a Timbuktutian) to use the University Van No. Z5144 to transport looters twice from distant villages to Samaru and Zaria. White Mallam Dosso was operating between Samaru and Zaria, Major A. D. F. Boyle pasted inflaming photos of late Alhaji Ahmadu Bello on his car No. Z6000 and with the aid of two police escorts he drove round Zaria slowly as if on a triumphal entry, watching God-forsaken actions of his disciples. The facts to be released when necessary.
We therefore demand that: –
(1) Foreigners like: Major A. D. F. Boyle, Estate Manager (ABU), Mr S. S. Richardson, CBE, Deputy Vice – Chancellor (ABU), Mallam Dosso of Timbuktu, Estate Foreman (ABU), Professor F. W. Sansome, CBE, Head of Dept of Science (ABU), Mr. R. B. Walker, Supt. of Zoological Laboratories (ABU), Mr. A. F. Smith, Supt. Technician Dept (ABU), Dr. D. A. Ramsay, Deputy Director of Agric. Research, Mallam Tasawa from Timbuktu, Transport Foreman (ABU) “be declared *persona-non-grata* and be compelled to leave the country. Once they left, measures should be taken to shadow the utterances and actions of those remaining in the interest of National Unity”.
(2) Northern students, Association, which is a pseudo name for N.P.C. students wing should be banned along side with its parent body. If these measures are not met, we ourselves will then be convinced that national unity is not the goal of this Military Government, but to provide stop-gap for one section of the nation to wound and destroy the others with the Police aiding and abetting them in their crimes.
Students of Eastern Nigeria
Origin at A.B.U. Zaria.
Copy to All Provincial Governors
“ “ British High Commissioner
” “ British Embassy