Showing posts from 2010

Jos, Gaddafi and Nigeria's Federalism

By Okachiukwu Dibia, Daily Independent I pity those people who are surprised about the recent killings in Jos, the Plateau State capital in Nigeria. Certainly, if they know the cause of the killings, they will not be. The killings are as a result of the refusal of Nigeria to allow the different and diverse ethnic nations that make up the country to gather as equals, discuss and determine WHY and HOW they can live together. The nations of Nigeria must do this discussion in order to correct the mistake and imposition of 1914, strengthen the ethnic nationalities in their quest to develop themselves, recognize themselves as equals, voluntarily agree to become Nigeria and prepare their own constitution. This will reduce the aggressive domination by the big three ethnic groups, reduce suspicion and embrace one another. If this is done, we will discover that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with ethnicity. The nations of Nigeria must gather and do this discussion otherwise the killings

First, Do No Harm

By David Rieff, The New Republic In 1940, as the Wehrmacht marched into Paris, Simone Weil wrote in her journal, “[T]his is a great day for the people of Indochina.” The remark is generally greeted with horror, by respectable opinion in Western Europe and North America, anyway, and mocked as an emblematic instance of the European (and by extension, American) self-hatred that the French writer Pascal Bruckner had in mind in his book, The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism. At first glance, even allowing for the fact that Weil’s observation did not impede her from trying to volunteer to fight for the Free French against the Nazis, the scorn heaped upon her by writers like Bruckner seems warranted. Weil was indeed filled with self-hatred, and like the medieval Christian mystics fetishized suffering, writing in Gravity and Grace that it “saves existence.” But there is a problem with such dismissals: As a matter of historical fact, Weil was also incontrovertibly right. The c

Why Isn't Anyone Pointing Fingers at Hamas?

By Kenneth Bandler, Fox News Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas regime ruling Gaza, has admitted to rejecting the humanitarian assistance delivered on the Rachel Corrie and six other ships diverted to the Israeli port of Ashdod for security clearance. “We are not seeking to fill our (bellies), we are looking to break the Israeli siege on Gaza,” he said. Haniyeh’s admission is proof-positive there was little need for the supplies on board the ships that sought to land in Gaza. International media reports of full shelves in Gaza belie the prevailing myth that this small territory between Egypt and Israel is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis akin to Biafra or Darfur. Not that life is comfortable for the estimated 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. But misery in the land called Gaza began shortly after the Arab world, in 1947, rejected the UN Partition Plan, the two-state solution of the time. Egypt seized the territory during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and its 19-year occu

Book Launch - Day Okpe's Civil War Memoir Was Launched

By Japhet Alakam/Vanguard/All Africa Memories of the Nigerian civil war was relived recently as one of the major actors of the war, Captain August Okpe chief pilot of Biafra during the civil war years as well as the chief pilot of the Nigerian Airways and an established poet recounts the story of the war captured in his memoir, The Last Flight which was presented to the public forth night ago at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA)Victoria Island. The reviewer of the book, Uche Chukwumerije took time to reminisce over that war of attrition, describing it as the worse thing that has happened to the country. He therefore called on Nigerians to learn to apply courage and actuality of vision in doing what is right at all times as a way of moving the country forward. The distinguished senator, and former Minister of Information under General Sani Abacha's military junta muted, "I pray that we do not go to war again." Reminiscing on the lessons of the war

How I Built Bombs for Biafra - Kaine

Saturday Vanguard last week in Enugu met Engr. Edmund Kaine, who built bombs and other explosives for the defunct Republic of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War. He later became Chief Executive, Projects Development Institute, PRODA, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. He spoke with BASHIR ADEFAKA on how Nigeria can emerge a technology power. Excerpts: How did you start out in life? I started out in life like anybody else. But in my time, Nigeria was just coming out of what I call the past age and moving slowly tino the modern age. We didn't have tarred roads. We didn't have electric fans. The radios were boxes with wires. The schools were not many. In Lagos, you had only a few colleges and so many people didn't really have the opportunity. But people were happy. I went to St. Monica's Catholic School, Lafiaji. I attended St. Gregory's College, Ikoyi both in Lagos. The only luck I had was that my father became a lawyer and could

Igbo Losses Counted at Oputa Panel

By Emmanuel Onwubiko, The Guardian/Hartford Abuja—Dark memories of the Nigerian civil war echoed at the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa panel yesterday as Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Arewa Consultative Forum engaged each other in a fierce dispute over the cause of the 1967-70 war. Ohanaeze's presentation, which was articulated by Uche Chukwumerije, a former information minister, was hinged on a thesis that the North, working in concert with some other parts of the country, embarked on a deliberate programme to marginalise and exterminate the Igbo. Ohanaeze said the 1966 coup was an expression of the anti-Igbo sentiment, explaining that the Igbo drew the ire of their persecutors because of their enterprise in all spheres human endeavour which led them to all areas of Nigeria. But, Secretary to Arewa Forum, Col. Hammeed Ali disagreed when he hinted that the war was spurred by the 1966 coup which he said was an “Igbo coup.” He also tried to exonerate the North, saying “Buhari's coup

Forty Years After Biafra - Forgiveness And Beyond

By Max Soillun/234Next Imagine if the Israeli prime minister hired a former PLO fighter as his personal pilot; or if the president of the United States allowed a Russian to be his personal chauffeur at the height of the Cold War. Sounds surreal? Yet that is precisely what happened in Nigeria several decades ago when then head of state General Gowon hired an Igbo air force officer who formerly fought for Biafra as one of his presidential pilots. The end of the brother's war Friday January 15, 2010 marked the 40th anniversary of the end of the Nigerian civil war. *On that day in Dodan Barracks, a brutal 920-day civil war ended as former colleagues and combatants who had engaged each other in bitter warfare for over two and a half years embraced each other with unprecedented warmth. They ended a war wracked by famine, and characterized by starving children, one million corpses, and violence and suffering of such an intensely grotesque magnitude that the words "pogrom"

That UN's genocide mission to Nigeria

Vanguard Editorial ALARMED at the frequent outbreaks of violence in Northern Nigeria, especially the Plateau and Bauchi axes, the United Nations mandated its Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr Francis Deng, to visit Nigeria and work with the authorities to ensure the prevention of future occurrences of such incidences, especially in Plateau State. Indeed, the incessant, callous killings in Plateau state, could be said to qualify as genocide, since, in the main, people have been targeted for elimination based on their tribal and religious backgrounds or based on the indigene/settler divide. The attacks are carefully planned, and often, professional, murderous militias are retained by one group or the other to ambush and launch attack on their enemies, with the vulnerable – women, children, the old and infirm being the main victims. These mass murders especially in Plateau state have not been much different from the tragedies the world witnessed in Rwanda and Burundi i

Igbo, Non-Igbo Relive Civil War Experience

By Ikenna Emewu, Sun News Online How minutes fly into hours and days and later years is amazing. Many who saw and took part in the internecine and sanguinary war that tore the nation in shreds and still leaves its scars in the minds of a particular part of the country feel amazed that it is already 40 years since it wound to close. Children born immediately after the war are already parents and have advanced into great minds and characters. But as the years add, the pains of the war fade because time is a healing balm. Saturday Sun reasoned that 40 years is like a landmark on the war taking cognizance of the impacts it made in the history of the nation. From our interview sources, the history of Nigeria so far is one pivoted on that war of 30 months that cost the nation about two million lives and inflicted on its psyche an enduring gorge that has remained a borderline of disintegration of forces that should have united into a strong nation. A participant on the Biafran side said

How We Saw Civil War As Kids

By Ikenna Emewu, Sun News Online The class of Biafrans affected most by the brutish war was the children. “The children lived at the mercy of the federal soldiers who defied the rules of warfare to drop bombs in refugee camps, markets and other places where the civilians and children hid”, a source told Saturday Sun. In one of such occasions, Red Cross accounts of the war noted that its airplane conveying relief materials to the civilians in Biafra was shot down by the Nigerian troops who had proclaimed that the territory be shut out from supply of basic necessities as part of the warfare. Saturday Sun, therefore, spoke with Nigerians who were children during the war to find out what their young memories registered of what they went through in the three-year hostility 40 years after the civil war. Maggots lived inside children’s bodies -Ernie Onwumere, advert consultant As a child during the civil war, we were raised up in a very horrible condition. The memory I have of the war i