Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Agony of Over One Million Igbos in Benue State

Nigeria: The Agony of Over One Million Igbos in Benue State

   
Azuigbe Bridge at Umuezeokoha in Benue Igbo.
By Okechukwu Okonjo
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.

Inikiri Ichari, one of the market in Benue Igbo serving the Umuezeokoha community
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.

School constructed by the Missionaries in 1942 at Umuezeokoha in Benue.
“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
http://africaworldnews.net/nigeria-agony-one-million-igbos-benue-state/

Friday, June 23, 2017

THE NORTHERN YOUTHS (I KNEW )




JUST REASONING ON IT:

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
chukwubike@gmail.com 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

LET THEM GO...WE ALL STAND TO GAIN PROBABLY !!


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.
Charles.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

LIKELY SCENARIOS IF BIAFRA LEAVES

Likely scenarios if Biafra goes
ON JUNE 5, 2017  By Ochereome Nnanna

MAY 30th 2017 has gone down as a date that the Igbo people showed, with total accord, that they are dead serious about their quest for freedom. The sit-at-home call by the pro-Biafra groups, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, was observed by Ndi Igbo all over the country, with the South East totally locked down. Streets and highways were empty of commercial or vehicular activities, except for the vehicles of law-enforcement agencies which patrolled to maintain law and order. The skies over major cities such as Aba, Enugu, Onitsha, Owerri and Umuahia were patrolled by military jets and helicopters.
Unlike other times when the pro-Biafra groups called for mass actions through peaceful street protests which led to loss of lives as a result of shootings by the army and police, no one was in sight to be shot. Already, the
initial mockery that greeted the Biafra independence campaign about two years ago is giving way to a new template for reality check. When IPOB called its first protests just before its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was arrested in December 2015, former President Olusegun Obasanjo mocked the protesting youth, saying they were “looking for money”. Others said they were unemployed youth given money by some politicians to carry out the protests for undisclosed political gains. In other words they were rented crowds. Already, Obasanjo has changed tones, saying that if the Presidency is given to the Igbo in 2019, the Biafra issue will disappear. The last we heard from him was that the youth should be “begged” to drop their agitations. Even to the mockers and doubters, it is obvious that if a referendum is allowed today, the “Biafrexit” yes will be overwhelming.

 Those of us who are still holding out the faint hope that Nigeria can still be amended to correct the inequity flaws that retard it and make its citizens unhappy won’t be able to do much. We have become a miserable minority. Unless care is taken and soon, if the masses begin to respond in this manner to calls for boycotts of the civic activities that make us all Nigerians, such as elections, the forth-coming census and what not, overwhelming pressure might force that referendum to take place. As I said, the result is likely to be an overwhelming “Yes”. What are the scenarios that will likely take shape thereafter?
Number one scenario, if the Nigerian State succumbs to a referendum, it is likely to be restricted to the people of the South East. Nigerian is unlikely to concede the former Eastern Region (which is the definitive geo-polity frequently portrayed as Biafra by its promoters) as the breakaway enclave. It will not give up the oil and gas resources that feed its treasury with free rent. It is also unlikely that the non-South Easterners will sign to be included in the Biafra. So, it is far safer for the Biafra activists to scale down their geo-political boundaries to a landlocked South East. That being so, I dare say that being landlocked is not the end of the world. Switzerland, Austria, Botswana and Rwanda are landlocked, yet they are either developed or rapidly developing countries within their continents. Those who are predicting doom for a landlocked Biafra could be seriously mistaken. During the war, when the population of the defunct Biafra was largely on the run, there was no fuel scarcity. Biafran scientists created machines and technologies to fight the war and keep the system running. A peaceful, landlocked Biafra, with the sheer power of the Igbo creative might unleashed, can only take-off like a rocket, though the initial stages will be very trying. Biafra might become the first African country to export the type of technologies that we currently buy from Europe, America and Asia to African countries within ten years. People should always remember that it is not natural resources that make a country great but its human resources of which the Igbo boast one of the most premium qualities in Africa. Even at that, the resources (oil, gas, coal, limestone and others) are there in enough quantities to serve the needs of the republic. On the other hand, Biafra could run into an initial face-off between factions such as IPOB and MASSOB for supremacy. MASSOB might claim it restarted the struggle that won the independence while IPOB which is far more radical could claim to be the group that won the independence. If this is not sorted out amicably, Biafra could face the South Sudan scenario between President Salva Kiir and his estranged Deputy, Riek Machar, though the South Sudan conflict is mostly ethnic-based as opposed to the fact that Biafra will be a country of a homogenous ethnic stock.
Another scenario is that Igbo property left behind in Nigeria will probably be confiscated. States can make laws to appropriate them. That is a sacrifice the Igbos who own property in Nigeria outside the South East must be prepared to make. You cannot eat your cake and have it. Nigerians will likely tell you that “out is out”, as the Europeans are telling Britain after Brexit. Igbos who refuse to relocate to their country will be dehumanised as unwanted foreigners. Ndi Igbo, faced with the South East as Biafra, must be ready to start life afresh from the scratch, with the firm determination never to repeat the mistakes that makes Nigeria unworkable.
Risultati immagini per BREAK NIGERIA

The break away of Biafra will likely lead to a break-up of the rest of this otherwise blessed nation. With a leg of the Tripod gone, the rest of the superstructure cannot stand for long. With the Igbo people gone to their own country, it is unlikely that the Yoruba people will like to live under the servitude of the North. They will become a very vulnerable junior partner to Arewa, a situation they are unlikely to live with for long. They will also want to go and form their own country. They already have fantastic natural geopolitical advantages which they will simply leverage on and move on with their lives. But will the North also allow them to go in peace?
The Ijaw nation, in particular, is likely to assert its independence. The North will, like Biafra, become landlocked. If Biafra goes, there is no way the rest of the country will continue happily ever after. Nigeria is like an intricately knitted fabric. Cut the thread at any point and the rest will come undone. At this point, we probably have the last opportunity to sort out the problems militating against genuine unity in our country. Time is running out on Nigeria as we know it. Already, the hearts of majority of Igbo people have left Nigeria. It will take some earth-shaking measures to bring them back. It has nothing to do with giving them an “Igbo president”. If, for instance, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in a most unlikely scenario, picks any of such individuals as Chris Ngige, Ogbonnaya Onu, Rochas or Okorocha Ken Nnamani to stand as a figurehead president, they will call Sokoto, Katsina or Kaduna every morning to take instructions for their daily work. It will make no difference for the Igbo or Nigeria. There is no alternative to restructuring Nigeria to allow the federating units the freedom to develop at their respective paces within the overall Nigerian commonwealth. The Nigerian people need freedom. That is the irreducible minimum for real change. If restructuring will not be possible, then let those who believe Igbo people will die if granted Biafra join hands in granting them independence. Allow them to “go and die” and see if they will actually die or become the toast of the African continent within the lifetime of most of us!

 
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/06/likely-scenarios-biafra-goes/

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