he gull of inhumanity, bitter as it is, has become a daily drink for Biafrans as the marauding Nigerian armed forces sustain momentum in the ongoing genocidal attack on the people of Biafra. Biafra, a people conquered by Britain around the 18th century, and forced into unholy union with Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba nations under the most demeaning nomenclature “Nigeria,” (niger area) in 1914 by Fredrick Lugard, had since 1945 been at the receiving end of government engineered genocide.
In a nerve shattering attack in 1966, thousands of Biafrans were massacred across the country in cold blood. Wives were raped in the full glare of husbands, teenagers defiled in the presence of their parents, and then all would be slaughtered like animals. In some cases, a pregnant woman, after being raped, would have her womb cut open and the unborn baby taken and placed on the woman’s chest to attract vultures … cruelty that is not even meted against animals. To compound their woes, the government remained conspiratorially silent.
To save self from extermination, the people of Biafra, sought international attention, and through leading figures like Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, engaged the then government in a peace accord mediated by the then Ghanaian president, Ankra in Aburi. Agreements were reached between Ojukwu (representing the people of Biafra), and Yakubu Gowon, the then Nigerian military head of state.
On coming back, and incited by the British government (who had always nursed grudges against the Biafrans whom they adjudge proud for vehemently resisting the British colonial forces and holding on to their own cultural values for too long), the Gowon administration had shockingly and most blatantly withdrew from the accord.
With the distortion of the Aburi accord which was intended to restore normalcy, the marauders – encouraged by the Nigerian government – returned to work, killing and maiming the people of Biafra to the tone of two hundred thousand lives. With sustained onslaught against Biafran communities and continued rise of casualties, it dawned on the Biafrans that it is all a systematic genocidal plot being orchestrated against them.
Seeing that their lives can no longer be preserved in the Nigerian entity, the Biafrans sought self-determination. To accomplish a goal that had been clandestinely pursued, the Nigerian government, under the pretext of forcing them back, declared war on Biafra. But let us assume for a moment the war was actually targeted at forcing them back into the Nigerian entity. One then begins to ask “why forcing them back into the Nigerian entity when the same Nigerian entity cannot guarantee their safety? Why forcing them into an entity that had been their source of grief?” An attempt to provide answers to these two questions will make obvious the real intention of the war.
The genocidal war, lasting from 1967 – 1970, saw the death of over 3.5 million Biafrans, about a million of which are children. The remnants of Biafra were reintegrated into the Nigerian entity, but to ensure their emasculation, were dispossessed of their belongings and denied of every dime they had in the bank, being given only 20 pounds each, the sum they had notwithstanding.
Like Jews, the Biafrans sprang up once again, excelling in all walks of life. In 1999, the pogrom returned in full force with the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo, ordering the military invasion of Oddi, an exercise that saw a total destruction of the entire town. With Islamic attacks targeted at the Biafrans, an enigma, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, rose up with his freedom-seeking group, IPOB, pressuring for a separate state of Biafra. Despite the right to self-determination being enshrined in Nigerian constitution, the federal government of Nigeria turned on their killing machine on the group. They stay in Nigeria, they are killed; they seek a different identity, they are killed. It thus becomes apparent that the other Nigerians just want the Biafrans dead.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his group, IPOB, have for long been crying for a referendum to determine whether or not the people of Biafra will continue to be part of a union in which they are not only being emasculated but are killed incessantly. Nigeria is not new to referendum as it is the same exercise that allowed the Atiku Abubakar part of Adamawa state to become part of Nigeria in 1961. One then wonders why the Nigerian state is refusing Biafra that same right.
Travelling around Biafra-land, one meets the heavy presence of military and police on the road at every short distance. These force men not only extort commuters, they search out advocates of Biafra independence, torture and kill them. Time without number, young Biafra men are rounded up by the army and extrajudicially executed. Just a few days ago, two young men were gunned down by the trigger-happy Nigerian police in Arondizuogu of Imo state. And following on its heel, four other young men were killed and many others terribly injured with houses burnt down in Oraifite by a combined team of Nigerian police and army in a bid to assassinate Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Nnamdi Kanu’s counsel. As we speak, Nigerian agents are moving from house to house in Ebonyi state abducting and eliminating IPOB members. Their only sin is seeking self-determination, and they do so because their life can no longer be guaranteed in the Nigerian enclave.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media