Reading through the speech delivered by Yakubu Dogara at Northern security meeting held at Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation Kaduna, on 6th February 2020, I remembered this: “Charles Keil, an American ethnomusicologist who witnessed the 1966 massacres and then led the the Committee to Keep Biafra Alive at the State University of New York at Buffalo, described the events thus: “The pogroms I witnessed in Makurdi, Nigeria (late September, 1966) were foreshadowed by months of intensive anti-Ibo and anti-Eastern conversations among Tiv, Idoma, Hausa and other Northerners resident in Makurdi and fitting a pattern replicated in city after city, the massacres were led by the Nigerian army.
Before, during and after the slaughter, Colonel Gowon could be heard over the radio issuing ‘guarantees of safety’ to all Easterners, all citizens of Nigeria, but the intent of the soldiers, the only power that counts in Nigeria now or then, was painfully clear. After counting the disemboweled bodies along the Makurdi road, I was escorted back to the city by soldiers who apologized for the stench and explained politely that they were doing me and the world a great favor by eliminating the Ibos. ‘They eat dogs, they must die like dogs’. ‘We find ‘em, we kill ‘em, and they do us the same, no be so?’. ‘They are born with greed in their hearts’. ‘They are the only people spoiling Nigeria ever since—One Nigeria without Ibo!’. ‘We make sure they will never worry us again’. I am paraphrasing the kernels of conversations with dozens of soldiers conducted at nightclubs, roadblocks and in their barracks during the ten months between the pogroms and July 1967, when I left Nigeria. I met a few soldiers, mostly officers, who were not convinced that the Ibos were innately evil, expendable, exterminatable, but they were exceptions”. It also reminded me of the saying that “what goes around comes around, “what you sow, is what you reap” and that Karma is a brother to all but friend to none”
In Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara’s speech, he said “The North is now the epicenter and theatre of violence. From Boko Haram, ISWAP led by Albarnawi, Boko Haram led by Shekau and Ansaru insurgency, to farmers/herders conflict, banditry, kidnappings, ethno-religious conflicts, cattle rustling etc, we are confronted with crisis that is unparalleled in our history. The death spiral appears unstoppable. Increasingly, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish us from our enemies. There was no shortage of early warning signs and as a matter of fact, our Philosophers such as the late Sa’adu Zungur of blessed memory, had warned that this dystopian era was fast approaching but we ignored all. We are now paying for our collective negligence.”
“The North is now in the grip of what Soren Kierkegaard called “sickness unto death”—the numbing of the soul by despair that leads to moral and physical debasement. It has become a society that is driven at its very core by the death instinct. The instinct to annihilate and destroy rather than nurture and create. Our economic debris has become too conspicuous to be ignored. As it is, we are now trapped in a prison of mirrors, where revealed lies are answered with new lies. With all these, it’s like our slow motion walk to self apocalypse is assured. We have seen this movie before in Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria to name but just a few but not in Northern Nigeria.”
He continued, “Of the 19 Northern states and the FCT, only Kwara state and the FCT are relatively peaceful or have the lowest rate of insecurity but all the other 18 states are inflamed by one form of violence or the other. Now the question that we all must answer is how did we get here and what must we do to defeat the radical evil of violence before it swallows us up?”He also asked, “Why are we here? Those mapping insecurity in Northern Nigeria have concluded that we are where we are because of illiteracy, unemployment and poverty (Illiteracy +Unemployment + Poverty = Insecurity). ”And he crowned it with these: “Others including the conclusions of the syndicate groups here have posited that we are where we are because of breakdown in family values; we are here because of the worsening insecurity caused by the increasing use of the military. This has weakened the police and negatively re-oriented the military from their traditional military roles. They say that it is only in Nigeria that security officials are withdrawn from killing fields to monitor elections while vigilantes are deployed to fight terrorists and other armed gangs. The example of the notorious kingpin, Wadume who suborned army officers including a captain who caused police officers to be killed to free the kidnapper is a case in point and is often cited with justification.”
In all, I still thank him for his boldness in accepting that they have failed and that they are there today because of their failure. But he fails to understand that they have killed sleep and shall sleep no more. The blood of Biafran children killed in Nigeria since the amalgamation of this evil entity, is haunting them and they shall most certainly pay with their own blood until the day they repentantly realize their mistake.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media