Col Tim Onwuatuegwu and the Biafran S. Brigade was about the most dreaded Biafran Army Unit. They liberated many Biafran cities from the Nigeria forces and fallsatll the immediate fall of Biafra
28 September 1967
Enugu the capital of Republic of Biafra was in disarray. Civilians were quickly fleeing the town. Even soldiers were scampering to safety. Some hastily preparing to leave town for their respective villages. In effect, Nigerian Army thought the end of the war has come. Enugu was penetrated by Nigerian forces after the infamous Opi Junction withdrawal of Biafran troops without a fight. The saboteurs at Biafran Army Headquarters had been at work. They had ordered the withdrawal of the soldiers at the Opi Junction thereby enabling the easy run by Nigerian forces to Enugu. The plot was, since Enugu was the capital of Biafra, its fall would have led the collapse of Biafra and the end of the war, barely months after the beginning of the war.
But they were mistaken. The fall of Enugu crystallized a new set of Biafran soldiers determined to reverse the course of the war. Unknown to the Nigerian forces, a new crop of Biafran soldiers were being galvanized by General Odimegwu Ojukwu. As Enugu was being deserted by civilians and soldiers alike, Ojukwu mounted a road block at Awkunanaw junction stopping fleeing Biafran soldiers from leaving the capital, without a fight. The sight of Odimegwu Ojukwu at the checkpoint brought a sense of order and strength, which boosted the morale of the Biafran soldiers whose commanders some of whom were the saboteurs had disorganised. Ojukwu was at the Awkunanaw Boys School 24/7 organising a formidable Biafran strike force to defend Enugu and stop the advance of the Nigerian troops to other parts of Biafra. Trusted Biafran soldiers were quickly drafted into the new unit to be headed by the fearless Major Timothy Onwuatuegwu. Thus the Ojukwu Special Brigade otherwise known as the S. Brigade was born.
The S. Brigade had three battalions headed by newly promoted Major Archibong, Major Atumaka and Major Okoi, under the leadership of the newly promoted Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Onwuatuegwu, who was later promoted to the Colonel, within a month of the formation of the S. Brigade, due to the achievements of the brigade. Onwuatuegwu’s 2nd Battalion had been disbanded before the fall of Opi Junction by the saboteurs at the Biafran Army Headquarters, as they could not eliminate him as they did Chukwuma Nzeogwu.
Onwuatuegwu, Archibong (3rd Battalion), Atumaka (2nd Battalion), and Okoi (1st Battalion) of the S. Brigade formed the super four of the S. Brigade. The S.Brigade frustrated many efforts of the Nigerian forces to capture Enugu to the surprise of everyone. They held the federal forces in an urban warfare that stopped further advance. For months the relatively well equipped Nigerian army was pinned in Enugu by the S. Brigade. After months of formation of the S. Brigade, Col Onwuatuegwu formed the Biafran Ranger Regiment, under the command of Captain Matthias Nwadiegwu. Nwadiegwu and Onwuatuegwu had selected about two hundred recruits for training in guerrilla warfare. The emergence of the Ranger Regiment facilitated the activities of the S. Brigade. The first Ranger Regiment, commanded by the then Lieutenant Ignatius Obi Ebbe, were infiltrating enemy grounds in Enugu and wrecking tremendous havoc on them. They Rangers supported the S. Brigade battalions, in flanking operations.
A notable operation of the Ranger Regiment was the attack on Nigeria officers highly fortified rest house, at the former colonial Eastern Nigeria Government rest house at Akpasha, in March 1968. The commando-like operation of Rangers took the Nigerian forces by surprise and weakened their activities for a while. The operation killed many top officers of the Nigerian forces.
When it became clear to the Nigerian forces that they could not advance to Agwu through the defences of the S. Brigade, they resulted to penetrate via Oji River axis. The saboteurs at the Army Headquarters ordered the withdrawal of Biafran forces from Oji River junction without a fight. This forced the S. Brigade battalions to pull out to Agwu as the Nigerian forces came via Oji River axis to cut them off.
Perhaps, the greatest accomplishment of the S.Brigade was the recapture of Owerri. After the capture of Owerri, combined forces of the S. Division and 14th Division came to the rescue. By then the S. Brigade has been upgraded to a division, and the three battalion commanders Okoi, Archibong, and Atumaka who had been elevated to brigade commanders and promoted to Lt Cols. Col Onwuatuegwu, the head of the division had his eyes of the recapture of Portharcourt after the recapture of Owerri. The saboteurs had however became very worried and agitated with the recapture of Owerri. Within weeks, two commanders of the S. Division, Lt Col Atumaka and Lt Col Archibong were assassinated in the same style Nzeogwu was killed. They were both gunned down by Biafran saboteurs in a no-enemy-territory-zone. The plan was to disorganise and frustrate the S. Division. Despite the loss of two brave brigade commanders within a short period, Col Onwuatuegwu quickly reorganised the S. Brigade by infusing some new commanders into the division. A strategic plan was to bring in the commander of the Rangers Regiment, Captain Ebbe to head one of the battalions (69th Battalion) of the 67th Brigade.
With the changes, the S .Division was almost cruising to Portharcourt and have already captured Elele Rubber Plantation and environs. The saboteurs at the Army Headquarters saw this and became quite desperate. To frustrate further advance of the S. Division, Col Onwuatuegwu was removed as the commander of the S. Division and was replaced with Col Asoya. Onwuatuegwu was sent to Biafran Military School in Orlu. Lt Col Okoi the last remaining original commander of the brigades of the S. Division was equally removed and sent to Oguta were there was no strong enemy push. Col Asoya, a saboteur was brought in to disorganise and undermine the progress of the S. Division. The S. Division under the command of Col Asoya was deliberately starved of arms and ammunitions, despite the fact there arms at the division headquarters. He made various attempts to eliminate remaining brave commanders and soldiers of the S. Division. Needless to say that the advance of the S. Division towards Portharcourt was halted as soon as Asoya took over from Onwuatuegwu. It was only a matter of time, before Owerri was recaptured by Nigerian forces leading to the end of the war.
At the end of war, the Nnewi-born Onwuatuegwu who knew he has been marked by Nigerian forces because of how he frustrated their efforts to overrun Biafra and had earlier predicted that if Biafra loses the war, the Nigeria forces will torture him to death, made arrangements to escape via Cameroon. Unknown to him, some of his Nnewi friends, working for the saboteurs who were privy to his plans informed Nigerian forces. They arrested him at Ogoja and brought him back to Enugu, which was under the command of I.D Bissala.Hassan Katsina, who Nzeogwu spared his life during the January 1966 coup, because his wife was pregnant, flew down to Enugu and killed Onwuatuegwu in cold blood, while he was in detention. An act of genocide that was never investigated by the Nigerian government that had declared “No Victor No Vanquish”.
Torna la Festa dei Popoli, venerdì Cisterna celebra la “ricchezza della diversità”. Negozi aperti fino a mezzanotte per la Shopping Night organizzata dall’ASOC
Tutto pronto a Cisterna per la terza edizione della Festa dei Popoli, manifestazione interculturale che celebra la ricchezza della diversità.
Domani (venerdì 30 giugno) a partire dalle 17 e fino alle 23, tra Palazzo Caetani e Piazza XIX Marzo si alterneranno iniziative di diverso genere tutte finalizzate alla promozione dell’integrazione sociale tra cittadini di nazionalità e culture diverse.
Si parte alle 17 in Sala Zuccari con il convegno dal titolo “Accoglienza e integrazione per una responsabilità condivisa” al quale interverranno, oltre ai rappresentanti dell’amministrazione comunale di Cisterna, anche il vicario della Prefettura di Latina, Vincenzo Scipione, il vicario generale della diocesi pontina, monsignor Mario Sbariggia ed una rosa di esperti relatori che operano nei settori dell’accoglienza e della mediazione culturale sul nostro territorio.
Dalle 18:30 si accenderà la festa in piazza con degustazioni di cibi tradizionali locali e delle comunità straniere residenti a Cisterna, performance artistiche straniere e cisternesi seguite da tante altre iniziative a cura delle associazioni che si sono messe a disposizione per animare una serata di gioia e condivisione.
Nel frattempo, all’interno della Sala della mimosa di Palazzo Caetani, sarà aperta al pubblico la mostra “Africa nel cuore” a cura dell’associazione Oltre i Confini Onlus.
Domani sarà anche la serata della Shopping Night, iniziativa promossa dall’ASOC che prevede l’apertura prolungata delle attività commerciali del Centro fino a mezzanotte.
In a White House memo dated Tuesday, January 28, 1969 to President Nixon, former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger describes the Igbos as “the wandering Jews of West Africa-gifted, aggressive, westernized, at best envied and resented, but mostly despised by their neighbors in the federation”(foreign relations document, volume E-5, documents on Africa 1969-1972).
Kissinger's description aptly portrays the Christian Igbos and their experience in Nigeria. Over the years, the Igbos have been the victims of numerous massacres, that they have lost count. Most of the violence directed against the Igbos have been state sponsored. One can say that the Igbos knew how to spell “state sponsored terrorism” before the rest of the world did. The state sponsored terrorism directed against the Igbos in 1966, led to the declaration of the Republic of Biafra by the Igbos and subsequent civil war. Over two million Igbos died in the civil war, primarily by starvation. One will not be wrong, if they call the Igbos the “Tutsis” of Nigeria. Today, an Islamic terrorist Conglomerate led by the dreaded Boko Haram are still slaughtering Igbos and other Christians in Northen Nigeria. Igbos have always seen themselves as a bulwark against the spread of Islam to Southern Nigeria, and as a result, a perennial target of Islamic zealots.
African events picture of Ibo women dancing and celebrating
However, the Igbos are one of the largest and most distinctive of all African ethnic groups. Predominantly found in Southeastern Nigeria, they number about 40 million worldwide, with about 30 million in Nigeria. They constitute about 18% of Nigeria's population, with significant Igbo populations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Ivory Coast. Igbos predominate in five states in Nigeria-Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Abia. In three other states- Rivers, Lagos and Delta, they constitute almost 25% of the population.
During the slave trade, Igbo slaves were known to be the most rebellious. Most of the slave rebellions in the United States, Haiti, Jamaica, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana were led by Igbo slaves. In South Carolina, Igbo slaves were reported to have drowned themselves, rather than be kept as slaves. Today that place is called Ebo Island in commemoration of the slaves who died there. The Gullahs are Igbo. Igbos were one of the 13 African ethnic groups that provided the bulk of the slaves who were brought to the Americas. Majority of the slaves who ended up in Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland, Arkansas, Mississippi, South and North Carolina and Georgia were Igbo. An Igbo museum has been built in Virginia to honor the contribution of Igbo slaves to the state. One of the Igbo slaves who was sent to Liberia by the American Colonization Society-Edward Roye- became the fourth president of Liberia. Another Igbo slave, Olaiduah Equiano wrote the famous slave chronicles.
Picture of a make shift Ibo barn of yam at an African event
During the colonial period, the British disliked the Igbos, because of their supposedly uppitiness and argumentativeness. During military service in Burma and India, the pride of Igbo soldiers amongst other African soldiers was proverbial. In the company offices and orderly rooms, the first few words from the White officer speaking to an Igbo soldier was followed by “don't argue, you! Or “you want to be too clever”, and similar expressions. Their expressive and aggressive mentality which they enjoy in their culture at home, does not always allow them to accept false charges or accusations without responding. The late famous writer, Langston Hughes, observed “the Igbo looks proud because he is bred in a free atmosphere where everyone is equal. He hates to depend on anyone for his life's need. He does not mind if others look proud. He has much to be proud of in his land. Nature has provided for him. He is strong and able to work or fight. He is well formed. He is generally happy in his society where no ruler overrides his conscience. He likes to advance and he is quick to learn. He likes to give rather than take”.
Culturally, the Igbos are a very diverse group with different clans, families, subcultures, and subgroups. However, the customs are similar with local varieties. Although there are disagreements about the origins of the Igbos, there is a consensus that they originated from Nri in Anambra State of Nigeria. The language of the Igbos is Igbo or Ibo. It is one of the largest spoken languages in Africa, with Hausa and Yoruba. Igbo speaking people are divided into five geographically based subcultures-Northern Igbo, Western Igbo, Southern Igbo, Eastern Igbo and Northeastern Igbo. Not as urbanized as the Yoruba, they live in multitudinous villages, fragmented into small family groups.They do not have hereditary chiefs like the the Yoruba or Hausa/Fulani. Every Igbo more or less is his or her own master. The Igbos operate the “Umunna System”, which emphasizes the patrilineal heritage, rather than the matrilineal. Some of the important Igbo cities include, Onitsha, Enugu, Umuahia, Aba, Asaba, Abakaliki, Owerri, Nsukka.
In commerce, the Igbos are a mobile, vividly industrious people who have spread all over Nigeria and Africa as traders and small merchants. In countries like Gabon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Gambia, Igbo traders predominate in retail trade. Most Igbos are clannish, despite their individualism and hold closely together in non Igbo communities. They are often very unpopular in the communities they live in, because they push very hard to make money and often dominate the retail business in alien communities. In his book, the Brutality of Nations, Dan Jacobs describes the Igbos “as ambitious, dynamic and progressive people whose education and abilities did not endear them to those among whom they lived. Even during British rule, there were massacres of Igbos in Northern Nigeria-in Jos in 1945 and in Kano in 1953. The Igbos have acquired the sobriquet, Jews of Africa”.
Industrious Ibo youths in a farm - working to survive from a young age
Education is highly emphasized and given priority in Igboland. Converted to Christianity by Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian missionaries, they took up self improvement with such enthusiasm, that by the 1960's, the Igbos had the highest percentage of doctors, lawyers, engineers, physicists, and teachers than any other ethnic group in Africa. Because of the abundant educational talent in Igboland many newly independent African nations recruited them to fill vacancies in their civil service. The first American style university built in Africa was in Igboland-the University of Nigeria at Nsukka. Its founder, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was a graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. The Igbos and the Yorubas are the most educated ethnic group in Africa.
Politically, the Igbos are very effervescent and volatile. According to author Dan Jacobs “for Britain and for the British civil servants who continued to work in the Northern Region, the Igbos have always been a troublesome element in the federation, a people with a democratic tradition who are not easily controlled. Many British were glad to see them out of a central position in the federation, as were those who had driven them back to their homeland and those who now held the civil service and other jobs they had left”. The Igbos had been the most ardent advocates of a united Nigeria. Upon independence in 1960, an Igbo, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe-American educated- became the first President and Governor General, while another Igbo, Aguiyi Ironsi became the first indigenous military chief. Leadership of most of the elite universities in Nigeria were also occupied by the Igbos.
Following the military coup of January 1966, which the Igbos were accused of initiating, Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo, became President and Supreme Commander of the armed forces. Tensions rose very high in the country resulting in the massacre of Igbos in May 1966. In July 1966, a Hausa/Fulani/Tiv inspired military coup overthrew Ironsi's regime and a terrible massacre of the Igbos began in earnest. This led to the secession of the former Eastern Nigeria and the declaration of the Republic of Biafra. This eventually led to the civil war. According to George Orick, an American businessman and consultant to UNICEF who was in Nigeria at the time, one million Igbos were to be killed in order to avenge the death of a man called Ahmadu Bello, who was the Sardauna of Sokoto-Prince of the Islamic Sokoto Caliphate. He reported that “one could hear on Northern Nigerian radio the reading of long lists of Igbos who were targeted for extinction”.-see Goddell team report, congressional Record of February 15, 1969, pp51976-7. The Igbos believe, and rightfully so, that had they not fought back, their fate would have been worse than that of the Tutsis in Rwanda. The same way Northern Nigerian radio was exhorting the Hausa/Fulanis to kill the Igbos, was the same way Radio Milles Collines was exhorting the Hutus to slaughter the Tutsis in Rwanda.
Ibo men at an African event - known for their ambition, prowess, and tradition
Similarly, Heinrich Jiggs, a Swiss businessman in Nigeria who later became the chief Red Cross delegate in Biafra, reports seeing one of the circular letters in Northern Nigeria which stated that every Igbo down to the age of six would be killed. A Canadian Journalist, Alan Grossman, who had been West African Bureau Chief of Time Life News Service in Lagos from May 1966 to June 1968, testified before the External Affairs Committee of the Canadian House of Commons on what he saw. He told the committee “many thousands of Igbos were slaughtered in towns and villages across the north, and hundreds of thousands of others were blinded, crippled or maimed or in majority of cases, simply left destitute as they attempted to flee to the Igbo homeland in Eastern Nigeria. Some of the fleeing refugees did not make it home. On one train that arrived in the East, there was the corpse of a male passenger whose head had been chopped off somewhere along the line. Another group of Igbo refugees men, women and children whom I happened to see-I would say 100 or more of them-were waiting in the railway station in the city of Kano, the largest city in Northern Nigeria, for about three days, with no security guards, for the arrival of a refugee train, and a land rover full of government soldiers came and mowed them down with automatic weapons. Igbo shops and Igbo hotels were ransacked and looted, while blocks of non Igbo businesses were carefully left untouched”. (see minutes of Canadian House of Commons proceeding, external Affairs Ref. 7 pp. 239-40).
In the final analysis, Dan Jacobs, in the Brutality of Nations, summarizes the plight of the Igbos in the following way, “to the other Nigerians, the Igbos were not only leaving Nigeria, they were departing with the oil under the lands with which they are seceding. Here lay the explanation of the paradox that the Nigerians had driven the Biafrans out, yet seemed to be fighting to keep them in the federation. What they actually wanted was the land the Igbos were on and what lay under it-without the Igbos”.
Picture of Ibo masquerade performing at an African event
Some internationally recognized Igbo personalities include former president Nnamdi Azikiwe, former military ruler Aguiyi Ironsi, writer Chinua Achebe, former Biafran leader Odumegwu Ojukwu, former justice at the World Court Daddy Onyeama, former commonwealth secretary general Emeka Anyoku, former middleweight and lightheavyweight champion of the world Dick Tiger and Cardinal Francis Arinze-Pope in waiting.. Some African Americans of Igbo ancestry include evangelist T.D. Jakes, actor, scholar and athlete Paul Robeson, actors Forrest Whitaker and Blair Underwood.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Leonard Madu is President of the African Caribbean Institute and African Chamber of Commerce in Nashville, Tennessee.
After that speech my cousin needed a translator to understand the presidential EID message to Muslims. I disappointed him because my Hausa didn't capture everything Mr President said.The irony is that my cousin is a Muslim but speaks only Igbo, English and some Russian but he didn't see anything wrong in the Presidents advisers writing a National speech in a particular language only. He rationalised and downplayed the issue since it an Islamic religious affair it didn't matter even if Muslims of other ethnic group needed translators to understand it..He saw my criticism as a christian cousin poking nose on my own part I refused to translate the little I understood > I told him your Oga said "Eid Mubarak "
My MuslimIgbo brother saw that gaff from a religious point of view.
On another issue: I find it so bizarre some of the utterances in the social media from some Igbo elements who are angry that the Nigerian Police Fore (NPF) arrested EVANS (the suspected Kidnapper) calming it is a Hausa/Fulani dominated force. Some wouldn't even mind if he is released immediately. Some would even want him released and given a title not minding that 80% of his victims were Igbos. Yes what does it matter,he is an Igbo criminal and should not be arrested by a Hausa commanded force.
My Igbo friends reasoned from the ethnic(Tribal) point of view.
Gone are the days where we don’t know where Igboid communities are hidden. I have now put Anioma and them on the map for future reference. They are in 4 local government areas of Benue State namely Ado, Oju, Okpoku and Obi, all in Benue State. These are ethnic Igbo. These are known as the Umuezeokoha people. Some people were speaking about Igbo trying to annex other people’s land, but look at how sizable amount of Igbo were cut off and place in the North as northern communities.
Presumably some people hoped that the Umuezeokoha people will lose their identity as is happening with some Ikwerre people in Rivers State. Umuezeokoha community is in the present Benue state and comprises of over 300 villages of Igbo speaking areas. Ado, Oju, Okpoku and Obi are local government areas that are part of the newly proposed Apa state that, which the Idoma have been calling for.
Apa state must be obtained and added to the SE in the interest of unifying the peoples with their kith and kin in the SE.
There are over one million of them spread across four local government areas of Benue State. You can find them in Ado, Oju, Okpoku and Obi, all in Benue State. They are ethnic Igbos. Before the Nigerian civil war, they lived a happy and meaningful life, mingling freely with their kith and kin in the state. But today, things have fallen apart.
Instead of the joyful songs, they were used to, they now sing dirges. The Benue Igbos who are called by the name Umuezeokoha are not happy that they have been neglected for a long time now by successive governments, federal, state or local, and they are blaming this on their ethnic origin and the fact that they are in the wrong state.
Interestingly, the people share the same Benue South Senatorial Constituency with Senate President, David Mark. Though Igbos , the Umuezeokoha Community, due perhaps to accident of history, are found in Benue State instead of Ebonyi State , being the closest Igbo state where their kinsmen, the Ezza Ezekuna kindred are found.
According to the President, Benue Igbo Union, Mr. Nweke Cedrick Ifeanyi, his people are wallowing in poverty and neglect and are often denied democracy dividends, including obtaining local government identification letters for employment in and outside the state. Historical background of Igbos in Benue Mr. Nweke said the Igbos in Benue State; particularly those in Ado, Oju, Okpoku and Obi Local Government Areas were in existence before the advent of Christianity in Nigeria. But since then, he lamented, they have not been recognized by successive governments both at the state and federal levels in both Ebonyi and Benue states.
“Although before the independence and the Nigerian civil war, which lasted for about three years, we used to experience government attention to the extent that the missionaries then established one local primary school at Umuezeokoha community which comprises over 300 villages of Igbo speaking areas that time. The school was generally accepted by our elders then and we did witness medical attention. “But since after the civil war, we in the entire 300 Igbo-speaking villages in Benue State have been dumped by the Nigerian government.
It is worse for those in Benue South Senatorial District. We have never experienced any government attention, let alone a project from the local, state and federal governments up till date.” The Igbo Union President also disclosed that a place with a population of over one million people has no designated political ward, no councillorship representative neither at the local government level nor at the state government level despite their voting population. He said even Senator David Mark and Governor Gabriel Suswan have been winning all their elections in the area.
Mr. Nweke also narrated how their children die in their large numbers because of lack of immunization, which he said they have never witnessed since the return of democracy. He also painted a gory picture of how they were swindled of N6,000 each for insecticide treated mosquito nets, which were given free to neighbouring communities by the federal government.
“We are lacking so many things, including a health centre, political ward, good roads, good water, and electricity. There is no salary earner in our place to the extent that the mosquito treated insecticide nets given freely by the federal government was sold to us at the rate of N6,000 each, some even paid without claiming it till date,” Nweke said.
“All our roads are narrow; we do not have any motorable road in our area at all, last time when we visited the local government chairmen and complained about the issue of selling mosquito nets to us, what they said was that the era of mosquito nets had come and gone. This attracted exchange of gazes, and the question whether we are still a part of this country. Imagine as we are in this dry season, we hardly see water to drink, wash and cook, talk less of taking bath. Before we see water to do something, one has to trek up to 30 kilometres to a place where there is unpurified dam water, but in this place, you must queue up in a line before it will get to your turn,” he said.
Another member of the community, Chief John Nwali also narrated the ordeal of the people in the hands of successive governments in the state, adding, “Sometimes we do lament whether we are different from other human beings created by God. Some of them that claim to be natives of the state mock us by telling us to wait to benefit from government only when the Biafran nation which we fought for comes into reality.”
“At times we nurse the idea of belonging to another country. In fact, if we are close to another country, we could have declared our intention to become their citizens, but this one we are in the midst of Nigeria, we speak Nigerian language, practice Nigerian culture and religion, in every election we vote and still we are treated with great scorn and neglect as if we do not exist. Yet, we have somebody like the Senate President, living in Abuja with our mandate.
Even in the last 2011 general election, I was the PDP Campaign Coordinator for Benue Igbo branch, but since that time till now, we are still in the same condition. We have been regarded as slaves in the country of our own. Even the only primary school that was built by the missionary before Independence is no more attracting government attention. The school is now in a sorry state. The only secondary school we have as of now is one at Saint Charles Catholic Church at Apa Ogbozu community, which was initiated by one Reverend Father.”
“We do not have anybody in the Benue State Government cabinet both in the local, state and in federal levels. We are all confused on what to do and where to go because we do not know when this indefinite discrimination will come to an end because even to the extent that the local government identification letters are no more being given to us any longer as Nigerian citizens.”
Chief Nwali also said that during rainy season, their people get drowned in water and disclosed that none of the streams, rivers and lakes has any bridge and lamented that during the last flood incident, they lost almost all their farm lands and every other thing they had laboured for.
“The political oppression which we have been subjected to is very serious. Even one of the biggest rivers we have has not attracted government attention, just to build a bridge across it. Last year, more than 20 people died while trying to cross the river for their normal daily business. We made so many efforts to visit our former Governor, Gabriel Suswan and our Senator, David Mark, to table our problem before them, but all to no avail.”
An octogenarian, Pa Nwankwo Alo said: “Our children have not been immunized over the years, let alone polio eradication programme. Our women do not even know what hospital is when they are pregnant because there are no hospitals to attend and yet we have up to 32 polling units. We have even called for more polling units because we are more than the present one but the government refused even as the national confab in 2014 came; there was nobody to speak for us.”
On the September 23, 2016, their umbrella organization, Benue Igbo Development Union – BIDU issued a press release:
WE ARE REAL INDIGENOUS IGBO:
Unequivocally, Benue Igbo people are not known as farm settlers, as some prominent Igbo men are going about broadcasting to the public that we are only settle here for sake of farming. Comprehensively, farming is our pride in relation to our kith and kin in Ebonyi state, namely :. Ezza, Izzi Effium and Ezzamgbo people. These people mentioned here are today the strength of Abakaliki political block and also the farming strength of Ebonyi people . For more than hundred years ago we have being in Benue state even, during the time of civil war Nigeria government used all her machinery against us in Benue here which later turn to futile and disgrace to them and still today we are pronouncing widely in popularity more than expected. Nigeria government, I think this is the right time to embrace justice and stop the political ostracism against the Benue Igbo. Although, we have being facing a lot of unexpected harassment but we are firmly assuring you people that no amount of political deprivation or subjugation will make us to deny our identity as Igbo speaking people of Benue state and we must forever remain resolute to achieve our political freedom….. People should stop misdirecting the public with messages full of deceit and shenanigans that we are farm settlers in Benue state. WE ARE REAL INDIGENOUS IGBO RESIDENT IN BENUE
Written by Okechukwu Okonjo on 13th October 2014 and edited by Ukachukwu Okorie
What has gone wrong with the YOUTHS, where are they and most important who are they? Certainly not these (Babas) on TV and Newspapers these days . These are not the Northern youths ! We know the Northern youths they are not different from other youths of the world.Youths reason differently and if you come to reason on it the Northern youths may identify themselves in some of the problems these hated BIAFRANS are fighting for. Is the YOUTH in the north better than the youth in the SOUTH or especially South East? No is the answer. Are the social and economic situations in the home of the average youth in the North better than that of his southern brother? NO ! Then why leave yourselves as tools and weapon in the hands of your ‘common enemy: the OLIGARCHY /BOURGEOIS RULING CLASS.
The same BOURGEOIS RULING CLASS are feed and empowering you wrongly with ‘unyouthful ‘and non progressive ideologies that only put you more into playing their tune,enriching and strengthening their grip on power and their legs on you head and mine . The same OLIGARCHY that has reduced the middle class to nothing polarised Nigeria between THE RICH AND THE VERY POOR using every sort of instrument like religion and tribal hatred to keep the poor and working class fighting while they continue to consolidate their gains and fortify their united class .A class that is so united and very nonreligious. Their real Gods are POWER & MONEY.
My dear YOUTHS Northern & Southern, these are the people we have to carry the WAR to and when I say war I do not mean violence, not on the poor Aboki selling suya in a corner in the south or that Inymiri (no insults intended) rendering all sort of services and production in the north. They will later introduce religion to it forgetting you are all children of the same God of Abraham and that they themselves preaching religious hate are the best of friends to your so called brother who is of their same class and who they no more perceive as a 'kafiri' just because of his class.
My dear YOUTHS open your eyes ;those BABAs with you on Television are no YOUTHS and are there to destroy your generation just for their selfish gains and to continue keeping all of us under perpetual slavery: they are our common enemies WAR them from the house . It is a class war and not Inymiri vs Aboki nor Christians vs Muslims. Those people have one religion: their CLASS is their real religion.
At the end of any war all of us stand to lose, even the victorious side.
What did the north gain from the Biafran war that Nigeria won? How did it develop the north for the masses? What gains came in . Only broken families,missing fathers lost in the war,broken families,social and economic destruction.
How many people in your town has an oil block in the Delta region where 80% of the oil is owned by northerners?How do you my good Northern youth benefit from it? You don’t and I in the south do not as well .
Ask them how is it that the masses are poorer in the North ,while the northerners are all gobbling all the proceeds of the war?
Ask them why we have these level of poverty in the north while they have been in power 80% of the time since independence? My dear YOUTH before you start fighting your fellow poor Southerners ask those BABAS on TV and meetings with you these questions.
Ask them what happens to the allocations to states and your numerous local Governments ?.
Ask why some states have only 4 good secondary schools while a state of the same standard and status in government measures in the south will have 150 standard secondary schools?
Ask them why the LGAs in just 2 states are more than the total LGAs in all the South East and the masses suffer less there than in the North ?
Ask them why the Alamajiri schools built by Jonathan's administration are closed down ?
Ask them if the south claims the north is marginalising it and they are in a better shape in many aspects who then is Marginalising the North… ? I know the answer >THE OLIGARCHY /BOURGEOIS RULING CLASS.>
The AGITATORS in the SOUTH I suppose are asking the same questions but from other perspective and with or through another ‘language’. Mark you ,your Southern brothers have also almost the same questions for their own RUING CLASS.
It is time the YOUTHS became youths and reasoned as Youths without this BABAs piloting the. It is high time we saw again the NORTHER YOUTHS I met in Kano during my NYSC and short period as a graduate assistant there. Youths that patrolled together BUK and ATC/ABU Institute of Education through KABUGA reading those Marxist and Leninist literature that abound BUK then,(now replaced 100% by the Koran and Bible). Youths that read History of our nation and people and tried to learn from their wisdom and mistakes. Youths that reasoned above tribes and religion but talked more on how to better the situations of the working class and the masses in general. Youths that did not read only the BIBLE AND KORAN but discussed and debated openly and sincerely their minds on issues of general interests. Youths that took me around with their cars or Vespa and supported me to look for my Hausa Bride. Youths that every week looked for me to attend a Hausa weeding party or Ramadan banquet. Youths that during Ramadan fasting (azemi) always had their mothers send me some food to break the fast though they knew I wasn’t fasting and we laughed over it behind their mothers who we thought didn't understand but later we saw she knew everything. God bless her. hahaha. Youths that were always inquisitive on knowing how the Igbos built upper Iweka and explained to others that it wasn’t the FGN that built those houses for Igbo people after he war. Youths who sincerely ask you how Igbo people get all the money to travel overseas privately for studies while they from the North travel on scholarship and why it should be so? These were and are the NORTHERN YOUTHS we want to hear from and not those (non progressive) BABAs that arrogate youths on themselves.
These were the Youths the OLIGARCHY do not want to come together and which they use all deceit on both divide to keep down and keep away because if ever they reason really as youths they would be less selfish come together and see the downfall of the BOURGEOIS RULING CLASS. And the opening way of real equity and peace in the community. . I am Chukwubike O Charles firstname.lastname@example.org
And they will always say "....God knows why he put us together in this great Nation..." (by the way, was Lord Fredrick Lugard religious?) I suppose God also know why he is doing what he is doing now . Why not we leave ourselves free and follow His wish.
According to AREWWA youths these people (IGBOS /BIAFRANS) are: 'stubborn,arrogant,International crooks,international money swindlers,drug barons, importers of fake products,producers of sub standard things,high profile prostitutes and a disgrace to Nigeria in the international arena'.
Waooo,personally I would be careful with such a neighbour not to talk of having him in the same company or country. My question is, "what is interesting in such a people?"LET THEM GO!!.
Probably God wants to sieve them out put them all in a corner and give the a 'trashing of their time'.
Or God in his infinite wisdom and mercy wants Nigeria to grow faster without such weights on them.
Or still God would want them apart as to express themselves fully and be the 'engine' that will propel Nigeria and Africa in general to high levels as these people always prophesies and claim.
Weather we like it or not the destiny the two nations are already interwoven and you cant do much about it anymore. The success of one is the success of the other same as in failure.
Lets all be wise,civil,accommodating and peaceful at least once and pray for the wish of God to be done.
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