Children Of Biafra: Their Spirits Continues To Haunt Nigeria
Some Commentaries from accounts of the documentary "Nchamere Nd'Igbo: Evidence of the Anti-Igbo Pogrom":
The Igbo generation today, our generation, must ensure that this genocide never happens again. Nigeria murdered 3.1 million Igbo children, women and men people between 29 May 1966 and 12 January 1970. This figure represents one-quarter of the Igbo nation's population at the time, The Igbo genocide is the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa and the most devastating genocide of 20th century Africa. All those involved in the murder of the Igbo will be brought to trial. They can be sure of that. No one murders Igbo people and gets away with it. International law on the crime of genocide has no statute of limitation. This we know.
........................................Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, Leading Scholar, Igbo Genocide
The story of the tragic history of Nigeria. I can see myself in one of those sick and starving children. We saw it and suffered it and God saw us through it. And nobody should ever make us go through it again. We all still bear the scars of those horrible years. And we must never forget that Igbo Holocaust.
Those who are responsible for this will pay, either here, or in the hereafter; unless there is no God.
........................................Paschal Ukpabi, Southfield, Michigan-based attorney
This is horrible. I am so unaware of these atrocities in the world and the individually stories. I feel her pain. May the world know Peace through the divine love of mothers.
........................................Kuumbar Recasner, Hollywood celebrity custom jewelry designer, reading the story from my documentary "Nchamere Nd'Igbo: Evidence of Anti-Igbo Pogrom" where a mother cradles her dead child watching Russian Ilyshin bombers. The woman herself died few moments later.
Starving Children of Biafra: Image culled from the cover of Chimah J. Korieh and Ifeanyi Ezeonu's editions of "Remembering Biafra: Narrative, History, And Memory of the Nigeria-Biafra War"
Every Now And Then, My Colleague, Austen Oghuma, And I, would dabble into arguments and related discourses regarding a never ending internal strife that had overwhelmed a Nigerian national state since Yakubu Gowon's-led genocidal campaign against the Igbo nation, following the proclamation of "no victor, no vanquished" assertions--really not meant from the haters' heart, the vanquishers, the bloodthirsty northern Nigerian Islamic Jihad nihilists, a Yoruba nation in collaboration and a Russian-British backed federal Nigerian forces; the vandals--to start all over as a rebirth nation on the basis of reconstruction and moving on for national interest, nothing seemed to have worked.
Gowon was celebrating war victory in what he had attempted--genocide--with his colleagues of bigots and haters who had made innocent civilian population including women and children their victims, and jubilant over the destruction of a nation state without any remorse, and, with no attempt to apology in the sense that the victims were either compensated by way of retribution or a moral plan by rendering help to rebuild what had been plundered and demolished.
No one in Gowon's military regime had thought of what measures on compromise to have initiated a healing process from wounds inflicted on an entire state, with ominous consequences that had befell them, and why it had mattered if the country should move on marching toward onward objectivity as nation states indivisibly obtained. The clan of Gowon's-led military juntas--Murtala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Hassan Katsina, I.B. Bissala, Theophilus Danjuma, Mohammed Wushishi, and several others--the brutal genocidal commanders and administers of the affairs of state of a military regime during the so-called "Reconstruction Era" had focused on another direction entirely; the pillage of the nation's resources coupled by a continued humiliation of the Igbo nation on which their properties had been embezzled at the time of persecution when the Igbo flee.
In what had been tragic from its method of operation, and recalling back to what had generated the formation of a national state, each time Oghuma and I, pops up, as usual, in order of the anti-Igbo pogrom, we discuss in detail what a fabricated Nigeria had been since the fabricators, the British empire, on what it had displayed at its expedition during which the country, Nigeria, coined as so, and had not been in existence before then, and from what the tribal leaders they had bumped into in the quest for divide and conquer at the time of its colonial conquest, the tribal leaders who were not in any position to fathom what the British had intended, for they were not prepared to face the challenges posed in the fusion of a variety of different people together, who had communed by language spoken, food consumed, tradition and custom adopted and, pattern of dwelling following their forebear's footsteps and how it should have been kept intact and viable--the aftermath of that union, if the tribal leaders in question had vision and had not been confused when a prescribed amalgamation by the colonial administrators and its flawed compromise of a nation state called Nigeria had taken place, what had been a Nigeria from the 1914 Amalgamation to this day and time, and, state of troubles, shouldn't have been.
Before colonial conquest, nations--the Igbo, the Yoruba, the Hausa, the Ijaw, the kalabari, the Urhobo, the Itsekiri, the Igala, and other ethnic groups--had existed as nation states and governed itself according to its nature and how it all began from its ancestral roots. These nations had been republics and much, much better in its charge toward the affairs of state than a forced direct democracy which was alien at the time, and which had been shoved to their throat on the grounds of empowering an authentic order of rule designated for a better education and enlightenment. And to be sure of the colonial conquests so as to enforce the rules of democratic fabrics, it should be borne in mind that the "Southern League" in its original partitions of nation states were already educated by its format and enlightened, thus the way they had been governed through the republican ideal.
The British empire did what it had to do, its platform made up with expectations to reach its desired goals--which, eventually, was accomplished through the series of constitutional conferences and a leadership they had wanted for the fabricated nation--bestowing power to the north on accounts of made-up numbers that justifies popular and electoral votes in a power to the north for easy access through coercion and theft, of the nation's natural resources and manpower, trained, and catapulted abroad to neutralize powers and influences the "Southern League" may have had.
It was this very idea that created a condition from around which the empire was able to adopt series of measures to portray its good intentions, in bringing developments to a people in darkness, labelled as is, with the opportunity to tap its resources--a way of its operation all around the continent in which they have not given up.
Nigeria's situation as to other colonies since an abominable amalgamation declared in 1914, was derived from a confused and pigheaded tribal leaders who had lacked a sense of purpose and belonging through the colonial era and constitutional conferences until the freedom bell rang on October 1, 1960 for its sovereignty, none envisioned the impossibility of Nigeria to live in harmony throughout its trial of considering whether the nation states and democracy would fair well under the British colonial mandate.
Though in a hurry and unprepared for nationhood because of the irregularities and manipulations inserted by the colonists and a bunch of local and tribal war lords who gave no trust and confidence on what had been fabricated for the time being, and what had been thought of the new nation as indivisible, promising, with unity and faith as emblem was first erupted by political disorder and chaos upon its beginning from the Western jungles of the Yoruba nation when in 1962 the Obafemi Awolowo-led Action Group, the AG, and fractions of disloyal party members had not been able to get along on related party lines, the first shot of decamping from a party and joining another, began creating balls of confusion, leading to the nation's first major political crisis, arresting the very political situation which had taken nearly sixty years to obtain from the colonists in 1914, given on confessional implementation to hold on, and access the possibilities of democracy, in which by its dispense takes the nation downhill never to be the same again from a birth that was originally full of uncertainties.
Also, in a Nigeria overwhelmed by the state of denial, and not acknowledging what had happened between 1966 and 1970, which draws Oghuma's attention, and of his arguments about my persistence of recalling in every discourse, acts of the blood thirsty nihilists and the anti-Igbo pogrom which was yet to be explained as the nation moved on with the open denial as if nothing happened; bringing to my attention what indeed should be explained clearly when the Igbo had decided to opt out of Nigeria, and in particular, when Biafra had invaded the Midwest, overpowering it, and in advance to Lagos to end the war as supposedly should, that it was abundantly obvious that Biafrans looked for trouble and begun something they could not finish.
My arguments which was also quite understood, stated, and, one being weary of pointing out, that upon the premeditated acts and diabolical nature of killing the Igbos in the north, and the widespread incidents of looting of Igbo properties all around the nation as the Igbo flee, in addition to plundering them, that nothing had justified such actions under any circumstances. And that what the Nigerian vandals had done was uncalled for and if only they had respected the decisions reached at Aburi, that no such attempts of Awolowo's economic blockade as evil minded the project was, wouldn't have occurred and a better option could have been implemented rather than the ugly situation which denied food and medicine, a "war strategy" according to Awolowo by avoiding to "feed their enemies fat" and which had worked in desperately starving women, infants and children to death.
What had been more damning was what had begun the pogrom before Awolowo's initiatives to wipe out the Igbo from the face of the earth upon effect of the economic blockade. And, though, nothing was going to stop the murderous Islamic Jihad hoodlums and nihilists who had gone from school to school, church to church, at the market square and place to place of Igbo dwelling--Minna, Kaduna, Zaria, Jos, Sokoto, Kano, Makurdi, Bauchi, Maiduguri and a long list of other places--of a capsuled blood soaked event, most of the atrocities in the north, if not all, were not captured on camera because of a plan to seal every act of the genocidal intent, and after they had carried out their operations in the North, hundreds of thousands of the Igbo had perished.
And despite what had been sealed in the north as the Islamic nihilists carried out its operation to wipe out every Igbo, many instances in the East when a full course war was blown up, the international community, the humanitarian services and a global media were able to capture the events; which we use today as evidence, and for instance, in Owerri, thousands of Igbo children, near death and suffering from dysentry lay on the ground amid vomits and human waste and nobody seemed to want to help them.
In Mbano, thousands of children, too, were found either weakened and could no longer walk, even with the help of relief workers, some of them, their bodies rejected nutritious food as a result of the advanced malnutrition. That was not the case in the north where mass graves were used by the nihilists, after hacking their victims, killing them in most brutal of circumstances--capsuled and without coverage.
In what the Islamic Jihad nihilists had begun in May 29, 1966 until the vanquishers emerged in January 15, 1970, to jubilate in what it had seen as victory with an estimated 2 million murdered, never did it occur to any that the spirits of these innocent children sent to their graves without justification will continue to haunt the nation until the appropriate and right thing is done.
This article was published May 29, 2014 at The Ambrose Ehirim Files.