In Nigeria today, there is renewed agitation for the creation of the separatist Biafra republic. The 3-year Biafra war led to the death of some 3 million Igbo people, according to Biafra supporters. Here is a summary of five Igbo demands, each one a memorial symbolising their resilience in surviving five decades of the longest, continuous running genocide of recent history.
It is indeed extraordinary that Muhammadu Buhari, head of regime of Nigeria, would pose the question ‘What do the Igbo want?’, albeit rhetorically, during a tortured effort to answer a question on Biafra from a panel of ‘selected’ journalists in Abuja on 30 December 2015.
The mere mention of the country Biafra in the presence of any Nigerian genocidist operative creates a disorienting collapse in them. It appears they are transposed, instantly, to re-live the multiform slaughtering spree they unleashed in the enveloping savagery of 44 months (29 May 1966-12 January 1970) of the Igbo genocide. Some commentators have described this resultant torpidity in these genocidists as ‘the curse’.
Buhari must know the answer(s) of the question he asked on 30 December 2015. Of course, Buhari does know the answer(s) to the question, ‘What do the Igbo want?’ Buhari has been a genocidist operative in the Nigeria military – right from the launch of the Igbo genocide on Sunday 29 May 1966 and during the Nigerian expansive trail of the mass slaughter of Igbo military and civilians alike in north and west Nigeria regions from 29 July 1966-July 1967 to encapsulate phases I-II of the genocide timeframe. During phase-III of the genocide, the invasion of Biafra, July 1967-January 1970, Buhari was commander of a genocidist corps in north and northcentral Biafra, slaughtering to the hilt. Nigeria murdered 3.1 million Igbo people during these three phases of the genocide.
As from 13 January 1970, beginning of phase-IV of the genocide, Buhari has adhered, rigidly, to or overseen the Nigerian regime’s blanket policy of non-development of occupied Biafra, the regime’s aggressive degradation of socioeconomic life in Biafra, and the regime’s exponential expropriation of the rich oil reserves of Biafra. Biafran assets looted by the occupation stand at US$1000 billion. Finally, since 13 January 1970, Buhari has exhibited a calculated, deafening silence over the course of the murder of tens of thousands of Igbo people across Nigeria but especially in his north Nigeria homeland by regime forces/allied forces including those massacred by the Boko Haram terrorist organisation in the past five years. Boko Haram, it should be noted, is currently the world’s most ruthless terrorist group (Institute of Economics & Policy, ‘Global Terrorism Index 2015’, New York: IEP, November 2015).
If Muhammadu Buhari knows ‘[w">hat … the Igbo want’, what are these? What indeed are Igbo demands? Just five summary demands, each a towering memorial symbolising Igbo resilience in surviving five decades of the longest, continuous running genocide of recent history:
1. Igbo will end the Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest in Africa, launched by Nigeria on 29 May 1966.
2. Nigeria’s occupation of Biafra, begun on 13 January 1970, must cease forthwith. Nigeria must withdraw all its military, police and administrative occupying forces from Biafra. The Igbo are not Nigerian. The Igbo are from Biafra. The Igbo are Biafran. Whilst the Igbo worked very hard by playing the vanguard role in the liberation of Nigeria from the British conquest for 30 years (1930s-October 1960), Buhari’s north Nigeria Hausa-Fulani religiopolitical region leadership (to which he presently belongs) vehemently opposed African freedom. This leadership wanted the British occupation to continue indefinitely, an outrageous position not seen anywhere else in the South World during this epoch. Britain ‘rewarded’ this leadership by installing it as the occupier’s overseer in the so-called post-conquest Nigeria and both subsequently planned and executed the Igbo genocide to ‘punish’ the Igbo for its historic role of liberation. So, in an apparent quirk of history, the same Igbo, who led the freedom movement to free Nigeria from the British, ceased to be Nigerian on 29 May 1966. This was the day Nigeria launched the Igbo genocide. This Igbo renouncement of their Nigerian citizenship is the irrevocable Igbo indictment on a state that embarked on the destruction of 3.1 million Igbo people or one-quarter of this nation’s population.
3. Nigeria must release Nnamdi Kanu, Radio Biafra freedom broadcaster and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, currently detained illegally by the Buhari regime. Kanu’s release must be effected unconditionally. The regime must also release hundreds of other Biafran freedom officials detained across Biafra and in Nigeria.
4. Nigeria will pay comprehensive reparations to all the families of the 3.1 million Igbo people it murdered during phases I-III of the genocide (29 May 1966-12 January 1970) and to the families of the tens of thousands of Igbo people it murdered in the course of phase-IV of the genocide (13 January 1970 to the present day). Nigeria will pay comprehensive reparations to Biafra for the destruction/looting of its economy since 29 May 1966 – amounting to hundreds of billions of United States dollars. It mustn’t be forgotten that the pre-genocide Biafran economy was one of the most advanced and enterprising hubs in Africa of the era. But for the genocide, the Biafrans were on course to construct the ‘China’/‘India’ of Africa several decades before the latter economic transformations occurred in Asia.
5. Nigeria must cooperate with Biafra to apprehend and prosecute all those Nigerians and others, military and civilian, who have been involved in the planning/execution/sustaining of the varying facets of the Igbo genocide in the past 50 years. Nigeria must cooperate with Biafra in the investigation and prosecution of institutions which have been involved/aided in the planning/execution/sustaining of the varying facets of the genocide in the past 50 years.
The Igbo are in the throes of restoring their sovereignty in their Biafran homeland. In the past 50 years, the Igbo have written a stunning essay on human survival and resilience, a beacon of the resilient spirit of human overcoming of the most desperate, unutterably brutish forces in Nigeria. Genocide is a crime against humanity. There is no statute of limitations in international law for the apprehension and punishment of those responsible for this crime. Igbo seek and will achieve justice for the perpetration of this crime. Igbo seek and will achieve the restoration of Biafra.
* Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe’s ‘Longest genocide – since 29 May 1966’ is published in May 2016.
* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS
* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!