Apologies, Reparations And The Path To Healing

Apologies, Reparations And The Path To Healing

by Ambrose Ehirim


Nurse Elva Peterson feeding starving Igbo children from effects of the 'Economic Blockade' initiated and orchestrated by Obafemi Awolowo. Image: 




In the human context, genocide, pogrom, or ethnic cleansing constitutes a systematic planned massacre of a racial, political, cultural, or minority group. From the Biblical Days to the tragic "drama" in Rwanda, and more plots of such atrocities in the making, mankind, in these cases and in the course of its history, has witnessed a widespread liquidation of the powerless from the face of this planet.

When Czar Nicholas II assumed the reigns of power upon the death of Alexander III, his innate weakness and suspicion of the Bolsheviks had him relinquish his throne to a provisional government. In the wake of the Russian Revolution, on the orders of Vladimir I. Lenin, the Czar and his wife Czarina, their five children and four servants were fatally shot.

When the killings were over, the executioners called Lenin in the Kremlin and notified him of an accomplished task. The dismembered bodies of the Czar and his entire household were dumped inside a pit, in the woods of Yakerterinburg. More atrocities followed as Lenin's revolution would total other minorities in Russia.

After 80 years of excruciating pains, Boris Yeltsin offered an apology and gave the the Czar's family (Romanovs) a befitting burial in Moscow. The lasting wound was healed and Russia moved on.

From what he called "treachery, deliberate destruction of the German economy and murder," Adolf Hitler sought and programmed the persecution and extermination of the Gypsies, the Jews, the Slavic and other minorities all over Europe. Gypsies were hated and wiped out for their rich tradition of art, spirituality and culture. The Jews obviously were persecuted for their hard work and prosperity. Other minorities in Europe were savagely totaled for their belief in "human nature"--the right to life and self-reliance; as in the Balkans.

When Operation Overlord was launched by the Allied Forces that defeated Hitler's Third Reich, about six million Jews had perished in the Holocaust. During the Nuremberg Trials, thousands of Nazi War Criminals were sought, tried and convicted to the limit of the law. The case of Adolf Eichmann (Hitler's commander who supervised the concentration camps) was exceptional.

In 1960, he (Eichmann) was abducted by Israel's Mossad in Argentina. He was whisked to Israel and tried for crimes against humanity. In 1962, he was pronounced guilty and was summarily executed. As the atrocities of Nazis continued to unfold through testimonies during the Nuremberg Trials, West Germany apologized, made reparations and "restitution." Today, the quest is still on to recover lost belongings during this horrible era.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese armed forces launched an attack on Pearl Harbor, a territory of Hawaii. In February of 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 authorized the confinement of all ethnic Japanese into detention camps--for security reasons--where they would encounter severe hardships. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and bombardment of oil installations near Santa Barbara prompted America to the war--World War II--on which Japan would later feel humiliated and defeated.

On August 6 and 9, 1945, on the orders of President Harry S. Truman, the United States dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan's major cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An estimated 200,000 Japanese perished. Fifty years later, from the events of the internment camps to the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, President Bill Clinton formally offered apology and reparations. Japan, henceforth, put the past behind them and moved on.

In South Africa, Apartheid was a real phenomenon. For over forty years, the government of South Africa practiced a policy of official racial segregation known as "Apatheid." People were segregated by color--white and black. Physical separation of the races meant blacks were denied the right to vote and could not "cross the line," while the white population controlled the state, economically and politically.

Militias were set up by the white supremacists, in order, to spread terror. Intimidation raids and all kinds of atrocities ranging from murder, burning of houses where non-whites lived, mass arrests of blacks for not having the "right identifications" to press censorship on "color lines." The irony to South Africa's Apartheid was how a tiny 16 percent of the population held the majority black population at ransom, gripping firmly all political and economic power. And sadly, too, these heinous crimes occurred in the presence of Africa's biggest institution, the lame duck, do-nothing Organization of African Unity, whose capacity could not form an army to liberate South Africa.

But despite all these injustices and atrocities inflicted to the black population of South Africa for over forty years, Nelson Mandela, on his assumption to power (elected president in 1994 after serving term as a political prisoner from 1962-1990), genuinely mandated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission chaired by Bishop Desmond Tutu. The commission pledged amnesty to all that may be found guilty during the Apartheid Era if they testify truthfully and honestly. The commission ended well by recommending amnesty--for onward objectivity toward national growth--in order to heal the wounds and move on for the interest of the nation. Mandela and South Africa today is a role model.

On April 6, 1994, President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and President Cyprien Ntariyamira of Burundi were fatally shot in the plane carrying them. Habyarimana's assassination led to the most gruesome act on the face of the African continent: the mass killings of the minority Tutsis by the Hutu tribe. The pace of the slaughter was swift as a record 800,000 Tutsis were butchered in less than three months. Not too long ago, an international tribunal was assembled to try the Hutus and other neighboring tribes who took part in the brutal massacre of the Tutsis. As of now, thousands have been convicted, and many more are awaiting trial on charges of Genocide in Rwanda.

The truth was obviously revealed and, justice, in the long run, was done. The healing process, henceforth, began.

As many Nigerians went to sleep on Friday, January 14, 1966, while some stayed up late partying and "pub-crawling," a group of young military officers organized themselves in what would be Nigeria's first military coup and a topple of its First Republic. Democracy in Nigeria, from then on, would be displaced and a new form of government would be in place--anarchy, pogrom, totalitarianism, despotism, and later a destructive civil war--which also destroyed all aspects of civil liberties.

By January 18, 1966, the coup planners were overpowered and a new military government headed by Major-General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi took over the affairs of state. As order was somehow restored in the wake of the January 15 Coup, Ironsi formed his government with appointments similar to political appointments in democratic institutions. He enacted Decree No. 34 called "Unification Decree," designed specifically to keep Nigeria viable and intact. On July 29, 1966, Ironsi's regime was short-lived. Ironsi and his host, Lieutenant-Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi (then military governor of Western Nigeria) were kidnapped, flogged and murdered on the orders of Major Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma. Government House, Ibadan, may therefore have been deliberately chosen as the best place by Danjuma and his mutineers who had killed Ironsi to make proclamations against the Igbos.

While Lt. Walbe, on Danjuma's orders, was spraying Ironsi and Fajuyi with bullets, 4th Batallion Commanding officer Lt-Col. J. Akahan was busy rounding up Igbo military officers, killing them on an immense scale. The Northern nihilists coupled with their Yoruba collaborators carried out these brutalities, especially at Ibadan to avoid being wholly blamed for taking Ironsi's life.

The persecution and extermination of the Igbos followed Ironsi's death. Why was the systematic killing of the Igbos seen as an excitement by the Hausa-Fulanis and the rest of Nigeria? The answers were indeed very clear: They envied Igbos entrepreneurial skills. They disliked Igbos ingrained pattern of sacrifice and hard work. Their minds had been poisoned by hate, bigotry and ignorance.

The Jewish genocide and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans has the same resemblance of the continuous annihilation of the Igbos, which indeed hasn't been stopped.

It was a shocking realization. Unbelievable. Igbos were plundered and demolished. Innocent and unarmed civilians were hacked and beaten to death. Women and young children were assaulted and raped. Fires were set on churches where Igbos congregated. Their market stalls and homes were razed to the ground. In proclaiming Biafra a sovereign republic, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu called the pogrom "A premeditated and deliberate act, diabolical in concept and maniacal in execution."

Honestly, I still have no particular word that describes these human tragedies. Would an apology be quite enough to compensate lost lives and properties? Of course, not. For God's sake, such a tragedy did not fall into oblivion. Records and oral stories had been in place. Read this; Minna, then a small trading town where a large number of Igbo migrants had gotten assimilated to the cultural environment of the Nupe's and other dialectic Hausa minorities, all of a sudden turned out to an upheaval. Achebe Okongwu, then six years old still remembers:

"It was harmattan, a dry hazy but mild weather condition, and we all were seated in the classroom when a group of Muslim militants walked in and stabbed our teacher, a native Yoruba who was mistaken for Igbo. She bled from her wounds to death. How others and I escaped that day is still a mystery. Then came the exodus when we had to trek hundreds of miles in the quest to go back home to Ogbunike. My experience tells me Nigeria was not a one country and will never be. As long as religious beliefs and tribal sentiments differs, no amount of dialogue and diplomacy can make Nigeria one. Nothing whatsoever would justify the way Igbos were singled out and murdered from house to house, from school to school and all over the streets in Minna. Those horrible events remains part of each day that I live, and, I will never forget it." (my translation)

In another similar incident, Mr. Ojo a Yoruba from the woods of Ado Ekiti, was stabbed on the chest and stomach because he looked Igbo in appearance. Apparently, these killers were nihilists who had blamed their academic and economic woes on the Igbos. In the 60's, in Minna, 80 percent of asbestos roofed houses were a symbol of Igbo hard work and industry. Okongwu is a Los Angeles resident and a good friend whom I have engaged with extensively and exhaustively, issues regarding the fate of the Igbos. Quite often, we talk into the night.

Ian Stewart of Associated Press described the Igbos massacre as follows:

"When the bloodletting was over, tens of thousands of Ibo migrants living in the North had been massacred and the churches burned."

Flames of hate was the order of the day all over the North as the northern hoodlums and arsonists ignited without mercy places where Igbos worshipped.

Throughout the North, the Hausa Fulanis sought every Igbo from house to house. An epidemic had engulfed anywhere Igbos congregated or lived. The cause, on the premise that Igbos were the nations problems, therefore must be wiped out from the face of this planet. The scientist of the modern era Albert Einstein, once said: "The world is too dangerous to live in--not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who stand by and let them."

It is the simple truth. While the Igbos were being slaughtered, United Nations, Organization of African Unity and the United States stood by and watched. Sympathies and support for Igbos, however, did not stop the bloodthirsty Islamic Jihadists, full of hate and whose blood-sucking strength could not be subdued. In support of the economic blockade, British Labor Prime Minister Sir Harold Wilson said "if a million Ibos had...to die to preserve the unity of Nigeria, well that was not too high a price to pay."

Adding more insult to injury, Obafemi Awolowo claimed that economic blockade--his own platform that he wrote--which upon effected, starved 200,000 infants and children to death, was used as a strategy to end the war and risking more casualties on both sides. He lied ferociously. Wasn't it the same Pa Awo who wanted out from the soiled Nigerian state in the event Igbos should be allowed to go? And wasn't it the same Awo who counseled Mathew Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo to use his military advantage help descendants of Oduduwa realize their own sovereign state?

In several interviews and appearances before he was elected president of the Fourth Republic, Obasanjo acknowledged fighting a "merrier war" to keep Nigeria intact. What is a "merrier war?" Is it a war where an entire ethnic group were desperately starved to death and left to feed the vultures in the bushes? A "merrier war" in Obasanjo's eyes perhaps was how the Igbos were singled out, gathered together in Asaba, in the garrisons, wherever they could lay their hands on, and deprived of sustenance, tortured and murdered.

Was a "merrier war" the destruction and theft of Igbo property, by which the Hausa-Fulanis and their Yoruba collaborators turned, they not only killed but plundered? Or was Obasanjo's "merrier war" that of 200,000 infants and children who were starved to death, leaving the Igbo nation totally devastated and in a prostrate condition; without remorse or "restitution?" And, too, Col. Benjamin "Black Scorpion" Adekunle would tell the press he shot at every creature that moved. This is bigotry. Like most other forms of bigotry, it is also based on hate and ignorance.

Thus, as one grows weary of pointing out, the pogrom and the blood of 200,000 infants and children have been the most compelling phenomenon that continues to haunt the nation. "I have seen things in Biafra this week," wrote William Norris of the Sunday London Times "which no man should have to see." "Sights to scratch the mind and sicken the conscience. I have seen children roasted alive, young girls torn in two by shrapnel, pregnant women eviscerated, and old men blown to fragments. I have seen these things and I have seen their cause: high-flying Russian Ulyshin jets operated by federal Nigeria, dropping their bombs on civilian centers throughout Biafra."

Such tales of cold, unprovoked brutality were common fare in the electronic and print media, those horrible days. Again, unbelievable.

On Owina Street, Benin City, it was also unbelievable in the eyes of the Odigie family. Odigie, a devout Christian who practiced his religion faithfully and a true believer in the Biblical principles of mercy, resisted the hoodlums and "federal troops" who sought hidden Igbos in their house. The Odigies endangered their lives to save Igbos who found temporary shelter. Not satisfied with burning down churches, raping children and plundering Igbo shops, the Hausa and Yoruba murderers killed non-Igbos who hid their Igbo friends, as well.

Kaduna, was of course where more atrocities went unnoticed. Hassan Katsina had declared to kill every Igbo, precisely males, so the Igbo Nation would cease to exist. At Asaba, Lieutenant Colonel Murtala Mohammed, after his alleged bank robbery in Benin, lined up Igbo men he could lay his hands on and executed them. The ones that escaped drowned. The ones that challenged his orders were forced to drown. Today Mohammed is being hailed as the nation's hero. A looter, a brute and an avalanche of insanity.

But the problems and aftermath of such horrific crimes against humanity has its dismal effects in which a solution is sought to heal the wounds. Also, it is somehow a lesson that mankind should be alert. For example, when the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed with Japan's surrender, an economic plan was effected by the "victor" to rebuild the cities. So too, was the case of Hitler's Germany, the Balkans and Britain, as economic reconstruction took its form.

At the same time, when history is allowed to repeat itself (as in World War II on which an estimated 48 million souls perished, globally), the second time around has more ominous consequences. Evidently, lessons of World War I was not learned.

On the other hand, the systematic slaughter of the Igbos, up until now, has not been addressed, and no one, in reality, is accepting blame or considering the plight of a people whose history has been of violence and political impotence since the civil war. I have been confronted in the past that a formal apology from the state seemingly was far fetched, not even necessary with its complications. Notably, it had been insinuated in some still ardent bloodthirsty circles that Yakubu Gowon has offered apology to the Igbos, faithfully. To be sure, in this regard and as at the time he apologized, he had no executive powers and privileges to announce formal apologies.

What the Igbos demand is a formal apology from the state coupled with effecting "restitution" and reparations. Although reparations had been implicated in the past for greed and exaggerations initiated by the leading advocates and counsels who presented the cases on behalf of the victims. In the case of the Igbos, distressingly, I do not see anything like that coming soon. It makes me wonder if Nigeria indeed do have conscience. Or is the conscience of Nigeria abated? Was there really a pogrom? Were innocent infants and children desperately starved to death by Obafemi Awolowo's initiated economic blockade? Why isn't anybody admitting to wrongdoing perpetrated on these children who do not know the cause of these errors? And if at all, it was an error, would it happen again? Of course, we saw it again at Odi.

The case of Odi is quite disturbing, at a time when presumably we have grown up and become wiser. Sometime in November 1999, under the leadership of Obasanjo and his best crony, Danjuma as defense minister, they summoned one Colonel Agbabiaka to invade Odi, I mean war-like assault. Odi was demolished. But the fact here is, obviously the traditions of self-determination (long recommended by the Willink Commission of 1957) or "democracy" per se in a civil society which supposedly should be a powerful force in our popular consciousness, did not accompany Obasanjo and his colleagues' military mentality into the new era of "freedom and justice," in our neo-democracy, craved for, long time ago. The brute came back again.

Meanwhile, the people of Odi, never in their wildest dreams had thought it could happen to them. And, So too, was Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Egbas and other Igbo-haters, during the pogrom and similar atrocities perpetrated on the Igbos. The facts and logic about these ugly incidents and why nobody seem to be telling the truth and accepting guilt can be traced from its origin.

First in 1949, scores of Igbo coal miners were massacred at Iva Valley, Enugu, by the colonists to begin an experiment. Nigeria, as it became known after the struggle for independence was achieved, emulated that order and continued with the quest to destroy the Igbo Nation. Then came the pogrom. The rest is now history.

Was it any surprise that Obasanjo, all of a sudden, began to sound positively bloodthirsty, again? Here is a man who by a stroke of luck and God's Mercy survived Abacha's reign of terror. He found God and became a disciple, preaching and oft-quoting the Bible. He wrote a book denouncing other religions as evil, especially Islam. Soon, this man known to have called God's name in vain, would renege, assault people, talk trash, tell an entire ethnic group to "go to hell," flog a security officer in public, and would tell the press "...no be Obasanjo born am..." when confronted with questions of possible circumstances that may lead to Ibrahim Babangida's indictment. That (indicting Babangida) will never happen. It's no longer a secret that one would pick the "wizard dribbler" Babangida to the elected demagogue Obasanjo if elections were to be held today.

Obasanjo's line of atrocities and human rights abuses revisited: When Obasanjo took over as commander of the 3rd Marine Commando from Adekunle toward the end of the civil war, he quickened the genocidal campaign against the Igbos. He watched as Igbo men, women, and children were reduced to skeletons from starvation. Obasanjo's quest as commander of the 3rd Marine Commando was not to capture the "rebels" or stop the assault, rather he continued with the pace to eliminate the Igbos because he hated them from the bottom of his heart.

It was in Obasanjo's regime that armored tanks were discharged on students who complained of school fees hike. Obasanjo's government grounded Fela's Shrine and banned New-Breed Magazine from circulation.

Enter the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa Human Rights Commission established by Obasanjo to study human rights abuses in Nigeria from January 1, 1984 to May 28, 1999. However, this "selective order" did not include human rights abuses dating back to Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu's led coup (January 15, 1966), and when Obasanjo deliberately and "selectively" handed over power to Shehu Shagari's Second Republic (October 1, 1979). If Obasanjo is really serious and honest to pursue human rights abuses from where it all began, why would he set up a panel to investigate human rights abuses from when he deemed necessary, favorable and convenient, negating his own era of atrocities?

Consider these cases: In Ibadan, an Igbo photographer, Emmanuel Ogbonna, was abducted and murdered in the most brutal of circumstances as the pogrom commenced following Ironsi's death. It is, of course, indisputable that there was extensive collaboration in the round ups and mass killings of the Igbos particularly by the Yorubas, and in this respect the fate of Ogbonna and Gogo-Chu Nzeribe was typical. Nzeribe was tortured and killed in jail without explanation at the peak of the crisis under Gowon's civil war-era.

Yorubaland, too, orchestrated and executed more atrocities. To take another case, Lt Nuhu, in Lagos rounded up military officers of Eastern origin, 99 percent of them Igbos, and murdered them execution style. Down west, Lt.-Col. J. Akahan, commanding officer of the 4th Batallion, ordered massive roundups and killings. Also, officers of Eastern Region, predominantly Igbos, were held up in a holding cell and blew up into pieces with hand grenades. Though the Yorubas and the rest of Nigeria who gave active or passive support to the Northern murderers, must of necessity carry the main burden of guilt for what was done, there are many others who must share it with them: The strategists and the countries such as Britain and Russia, who supplied consistently, weapons of mass destruction.

Britain felt threatened by the potentials of a Biafran State in the African continent; thus, a challenge to their unending dominion in a nation they ordained. And too, they destroyed all of Africa. They went farther, Far East, killed Nehru and Gandhi. Today, who is challenging Britain for their crimes against humanity on the face of this planet?

In the case of fighting for Nigeria unity and according to the heartless Prime Minister Wilson, over one million Igbos that perished wasn't a high price to pay for the cause. How cold? Now the question is, did the Igbo victims during the pogrom (even before the civil war erupted and the failures to implement the Aburi Accord) chose to be sacrificed for the sake of keeping Nigeria one? Or did the Igbo victims (both those who perished and the ones that survived) used as an experiment to effect Hausa-Fulani oligarchy as Nigeria would be destroyed in its entirety and never would be the same again? If so, what did the war accomplish? A one Nigeria? And if the bigots and murderers had followed and respected the resolutions reached at Aburi, would a war have erupted?

Absolutely not, regarding the latter question. The Aburi Accord was magnificent. It was a good plan. It had recommended political compromise not hate and wanton killings. It was a spectacular document.

Here is what United States Eugene McCarthy had to say after the Aburi Accord:

"That United States Government should also be prepared diplomatically to back a division of Nigeria according to the principles of self-determination at least temporarily, and until such time as the Biafrans and Nigerians may agree on an alternative political settlement."

Unfortunately, the Igbo-haters who had felt threatened by a strong Igbo Nation (Biafra) reneged and began anew the mass killing of Igbos everywhere. Gowon would be misled (something he now regrets and of course, he was later a victim, exiled and pardoned) in a program aimed to erase a people for who they are and what they have been--Igbo--strong, determined and industrious people. Igbos, however, in that instance, had a choice. They chose "freedom" instead of "slavery."
But the irony of the Aburi Accord was after about 30 years and the blood-suckers and murderers who sabotaged, and after what happened to the Igbos had happened to them as well (Abacha's reign of terror: cleansing of ethnic minorities, political repression of the Yorubas, mostly the Egbas who fled en masse rather than stay in resistance), they carried out their propaganda on behalf of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) clamoring for a Sovereign National Conference with its proposals similar to the Aburi Accord, which they discarded in a sudden 180-degrees turn. Perhaps one would ask why these "sovereign nationalists" are scared in declaring their statehood for the fact that their right to self-reliance was jeopardized and denied.

Their recent silence to the SNC agitation obviously indicates a people you cannot trust. Good thing, they did not have enough backing because the fate of Aburi Accord would have repeated itself. Is it not amazing the AD/Afenifere/NADECO led Sovereign National Conference is now a non issue in our political spectrum?

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, Lieutenant General Alani Akinrinade (rtd) and many other NADECO stalwarts were abroad condemning Abacha's iron rule, calling for change in the administrative and political structure; thus, coining the now boring institute "Sovereign National Conference." The question here is, why all of a sudden the SNC is no longer an issue? Would it be that their own man is in power? Or have they been politically compromised by Obasanjo's administration to stop an agitation modeled after the conservative principles of Egbe Omo Oduduwa? In addition, do they seem to be working in collaboration with Obasanjo in trying to the limit and bringing about "justice" their "nemesis" (Abacha's gang) who held them to ransom for five years?

"I would have tried Abacha," Obasanjo tells Tell Magazine in one of his media-hyped interviews that seemed to have catapulted his political fortunes as his slogan "no sacred cows" stormed the democratic world. All in all, Abacha, as his case may be, is posthumous, and whatever their (pursuers of human rights and proponents of "justice") jntents are, apparently, have found themselves increasingly unhappy over the attacks of political repression, dictatorship and personal animosities during the Abacha years.

At the same time, Obasanjo would set up a panel to study human rights abuses. The possible subjects on why Obasanjo would earnestly demand an investigation on human rights abuses visibly are: Hamza Al-Mustapha, Ishaya Bamaiyi and the rest of Abacha's death squad. They have been accused of attempted murder, murder, and series of criminal activities during Abacha's era. Their victims were: Kudirat Abiola (wife of the still borne Third Republic president elect, Moshood Abiola), murdered; Pa Alfred Rewane, murdered; Porbeni, attempted murder on a long list; etc.

By all accounts, the Nigerian axis press-hyped Orwellian drama in the trials and testimonies of Mustapha, especially at the human rights commission panel, and as exciting as it was with all the headlines it made in the news, can be seen as a political vendetta in retaliation to the Abacha years. Of course, too, it was electric and the generals wept and cried like babies. Since Mustapha's testimony in the courts and the human rights commission panel has become a highly rated drama in the nation's neo-political experiment, persuading us that the rule of law is in the ascendant and upheld, Ray Ekpu of Newswatch, Reuben Abati of the Guardian Newspapers, Nosa Igiebor of Tell Magazine, Bayo Onanuga of The News, and many other media sensationalists, have applauded in high esteem these trials and testimonies. But everyone recognizes that the nation's axis press has been running a show of their own interest.

Thus, the central tenet of these Orwellian drama in the courts and political sphere is that they are not telling us why Mustapha and his colleagues of the Abacha era have been made the center of attraction in all of the nation's scandals, especially crimes that may have been committed against humanity. Why is it something special? What's the difference between what Mustapha and his colleagues are accused of and what Danjuma did?

Would all that committed crimes against humanity from 1964 to present be questioned? And, in fact, would Danjuma be made to explain the brutal murder of Ironsi?

The Oputa panel in this sense, will have no meaning and cannot claim to be pursuing justice if past atrocities and as above-mentioned are not properly examined. The upshot is that since we are destined to heal the wounds, and rest these cases of human errors, the panel must come to terms with reality to why it is of relevance to approach the entailed issues I outlined thoroughly and appropriately. A nation that wants to move on and relate her problems as in this framework, must start from the genesis of such problems. In doing that, the healing process begins.

Ambrose Ehirim
Los Angeles, California

Notes:

Agwuncha Arthur Nwankwo. "The Igbo Nation and Logic of Confederation"
Post Express July 18,2000

Arthur A. Nwankwo and Samuel U. Ifejika. Biafra: The Making of a Nation. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1969.

Rolf Steiner. The Last Adventurer. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1969

Gani Fawehinmi "Human Rights Violation: 1966-1999. Post Express July 25, 1999

John J. Stremlau. The International Politics of the Nigeria Civil War. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977

David S. Wyman The Abandonment of The Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945. New York: Pantheon Books, 1984 A. M. Salako "The Real Genesis of the Nigeria Civil War" Vanguard Monday 22nd January 2001.

Orlando Figes. A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution (1891-1924) New York: Pengium Books, 1997.

Paul Odili (Interview with Chukwuemeka Ojukwu) "Why I Didn't Attend Igbo Summit" Vanguard, Tuesday, January 23, 2001.

Steve U. Nwabuzor. "The Imperatives of a Sovereign National Conference: The Past as a Guide."

The Nigerian & Africa. (Interview with Olusegun Obasanjo) September 1998.

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Biafra: Selected Speeches and Random Thoughts. New York: Harper and Row, 1968

Rudolf Okonkwo. "A Sad Message from the Children of a New Biafra."

Wole Soyinka. The Man Died.

Wole Soyinka. Open Sore of a Continent (An address at Harvard University, Massachusetts, 1996)

"I Would Have Killed Obasanjo: The Confession of Mr Death." (Interview) The News November 01, 1999.

Osita Nwajah "Ensnared" The News November 01, 1999.

Encountered discourse with Eddie Odigie who narrated the Odigie Story.

Encountered discourse and narratives with Achebe Okongwu at Bed Time.

The article was first published on January 31, 2001

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