Igbo people

Is Starvation Policy Not Worse Than Gas Chamber?

Sarving Biafran Children, mainly Igbos during the Civil War


“Federal troops, killed, or stood by while mobs killed, more than 5000 Ibos in Warri, Sapele, Agbor, “New York Times, 10th January, 1968.

“It’s (mass starvation) is a legitimate aspect of war, ” Anthony Enahoro, Nigerian Commissioner for Information at a press conference in (New York, July 1968)
“Starvation is a legitimate weapon of war, and we have every intention of using it against the rebels, “Mr Alison Ayida, Head of Nigerian Delegation, Niamey Peace Talks, Republic of Niger, July 1968) ”

The Igbos must be considerably reduced in number” (Lagos Policeman quoted in New York Review, 21 December, 1967)
”One word now describes the policy of the Nigerian military government towards secessionist Biafra: genocide. It is ugly and extreme but it is the only word which fits Nigeria’s decision to stop the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other relief agencies, from flying food to Biafra” Washington Post (editorial) July 2, 1969).

”In some areas outside the East, Igbos were killed by local people with at least the acquiescence of the federal forces, 1000 Igbo civilians perished in Benin in this way”
(Max Edward- Reporter on the ground-New York Review, 21 December 1967).

”After federal forces take over of Benin, troops killed about 500 Igbo civilians after a house-to-house search with the aid of willing locals” (Washington Morning Post, 27 September, 1967).

“The greatest single massacre occurred in the Igbo town of Asaba where 700 Igbo male were lined up and shot as terrified women/children were forced to watch”
(London Observer, 21 January, 1968)

“Federal troops, killed, or stood by while mobs killed, more than 5000 Ibos in Wari, Sapele, Agbor” (New York Times, 10th January, 1968).

“There has been genocide on the occasion of the 1966 massacres, the region between the towns of Benin and Asaba where only widows and orphans remain, federal troops having, for unknown reasons, massacred all the men”
(Paris Le Monde, 5th April, 1968).

“In Calabar, federal forces shot at least 1000 and perhaps 2000 Igbos, most of them civilians” (New York Times, 18th January, 1968).

“Bestialities and indignities of all kinds were visited on Biafrans in 1966. In Ikeja Barracks (Western Nigeria) Biafrans were forcibly fed on a mixture of human urine and faeces. In Northern Nigeria numerous Biafran house-wives and nursing mothers were violated before their husbands and children. Young girls were abducted from their homes, working places and schools and forced into intimate intercourse with sick, demented and leprous men” (Mr. Eric Spiff (German War correspondence Eyewitness, 1967).

“There has been genocide, for example on the occasion of the 1966 massacres , Two areas have suffered badly [from the fighting]. Firstly the region between the towns of Benin and Asaba where only widows and orphans remain, Federal troops having for unknown reasons massacred all the men. According to eyewitnesses of that massacre the Nigerian commander ordered the execution of every Ibo male over the age of ten years” (Monsignor Georges, sent down on a fact-finding mission by His holiness the Pope reporting his finding in Vatican Rome, Le Monde, French Evening newspaper, April 5, 1968).

”650 refugee camps, contained about 700,000 haggard bundles of human flotsam waiting hopelessly for a meal, outside the camps, was the reminder of an estimated four and a half to five million displaced persons, the Kwashiokor scourge, a million and half children, suffer(ed) from it during January; that put the forecast death toll at another 300,000 children, More than the pogroms of 1966, more than the war casualties, more than the terror bombings, it was the experience of watching helplessly their children waste away and die that gave birth to, a deep and unrelenting loathing, It is a feeling that will one day reap a bitter harvest unless, ” (Frederick Forsyth, British writer January 21st 1969) “,

I saw several hundred of Zombie-like creatures -men, women and children, lying, sitting or squatting in the midst of others who were dead. The living ones were completely reduced to skeletons and could not talk. I was seeing for the first time, kwashiorkor, Frankly, I took fright, I believe that any foreign troops from anywhere in the world occupying Ikot Ekpene or any other town in Biafra would have shown much more sympathy, “(Gen. Alex Madiebo, Ikot Ekpene, July 1968)

“One word now describes the policy of the Nigerian military government towards Biafra:- genocide. It is ugly and extreme but it is the only word which fits Nigeria’s decision to stop the International Committee of the red Cross, and other relief agencies, from flying food to Biafra , ” The Nazis had ressurrected just here as Nigerian forces, Washington Post (editorial) July 2, 1969

“The loss of life from starvation continues at more than 10,000 persons per day – over 1,000,000 lives in recent months. Without emergency measures now, the number will climb to 25,000 per day within a month – and some 2,000,000 deaths by the end of the year. The new year will only bring greater disaster to a people caught in the passion of fratricidal war, we can’t allow this to continue or those responsible to go free” Senator Kennedy appeals to Americans – Sunday, November 17, 1968 “,

I want to see no Red Cross, no Caritas, no World Council of Churches, no Pope, no missionary and no UN delegation. I want to prevent even one Ibo from having even one piece to eat before their capitulation. We shoot at everything that moves and when our troops march into the centre of Ibo territory, we shoot at everything even at things that do not move,” (Benjamin Adekunle, Commander, 3rd Marine Commando Division, Nigerian Army to French radio reporter).

The war aim and (final) solution properly speaking of the entire problem, is to discriminate against the Igbos and in their own interest. Such discrimination would include above all the detachment of those oil-rich territories in the Eastern Region, in addition, the Igbos’ freedom of movement would be restricted, to prevent their renewed penetration into other parts, leaving any access to the sea to the Igbos, is quite out of the question, “(Federal Nigerian Minister speaking to E. C. Schwarzenback, Swiss Review of Africa, February 1968).

“Let us go and crush them. We will pillage their property, violate their womenfolk, kill off their menfolk and leave them uselessly weeping. We will complete the pogrom of 1966” (The theme song of Radio Kaduna, government-controlled, 1967-1970).

“Unfortunately this [Gowon’s] enlightenment at the top level does not penetrate very deep: a Lagos police officer was quoted last month as saying that the Igbos must be considerably reduced in number” Dr Conor cruise O’Bien , 21 December 1967 New York Review.

“Myself and The same UNICEF representatives went on to convey something of what lay behind this intransigence: “Among the large majority hailing from that tribe who are most vocal in inciting the complete extermination of the Igbos, I often heard remarks that all Nigeria’s ills will be cured once the Igbos has been extaminated from the human map , ” Dr Conor Cruise O’Bien (21 December, 1967, New York Review).


Igbos Need A Think Tank

Northern Nigeria has a complex political structure and with that they cheat every part of the country and corner the best out of the national cake. However evidence shows that despite cornering the booties – Northern masses remain poor and the gap between their rulers and their subjects remain a yawning one.

Comparing the Northern common man with average Igbo, one wonders what the North is doing with the loots. On the other hand, Igbo political structure and machine is so ineffectual and completely useless in competing for booties at national and international level. Any relevance Igbos have is down to individual efforts and enterprising spirits of the Igbos.

With regards to statecraft, Igbo formation is simply basic and rudimentary and bereft of any sensible organisational structure necessary for external competition or warding off external influences and invasion. The Igbo structure is good for individual Igbo sustenance but even in the economic and commercial spheres where Igbos can excel, the individual and isolationist mind set makes cartel business ventures unattractive and in the sense of the emerging global network of ventures, Igbo pattern may never rise beyond subsistence.

Furthermore looking at Igbos from Nigerian structural prism, Igbos remain expose and at danger of vagaries of politics and encumbrances of policies dictated by well organised political machines such as are in the hands of Hausa/Fulani oligarchy and Western Yoruba power blocks. Igbo presences and Igbo life style is threatening to others. This is well known to Igbos but the choice of leaving matters to fate is not because Igbos do not bother about the attention and scrutiny they know they face in Nigeria. The lose covalent bond amongst Igbos because of penchant to go solo is the factor.

The worry is that no nation or group can continually ignore external threat and hatred to their collective existence and fail to pay a price! Past experiences are enough indicators and warnings. Igbos with innate qualities and individual competitiveness stand better chance in any race to win by miles. The only thing that is lacking is strong bonding lattice to form big critical mass that could resist melt and sublimation under heat and pressure.

In the light of this I opine that the only way forward is for Igbos to develop AN IGBO THINK TANK that will revenue Igbo problems formulate AGENDA OF CHANGE based on INNOVATIONS that take into account our republican nature but in a manner that it does not impede progress, unity and development our people and our putative institution