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Painful And Bitter Truth: Until Nigerians Ask For Forgiveness From Biafrans, It’ll Not Know Peace —Femi Fani-Kayode

Gen. Yakubu Gowon

One of the greatest fallacies in Nigerian history is that only northerners slaughtered the Igbo. This is false. We ALL did.

It was not the northern leaders that told the world that “starvation was a legitimate weapon of war” and that commiting the greatest genocide in African history against innocent women and children was acceptable in an armed conflict, it was South Western and Mid- Western leaders that did that.

It was not a northerner that travelled to the United Nations during the war and tried to defend and justify our heinous and barbaric war crimes, it was a great son of the Mid-West that did that.

The blame for what was done to the civilians of Biafra and the attempt to rationalise and defend it goes to us all.

We must ALL ask God for forgiveness for what we did and we must all take our fair share of the blame for what was done to the Biafran civilians during that war.

History is an intellectual exercise and there can be no room for subjectivity or emotions in it. Historical facts are sacred and historical opinion is cheap. Again history is not for the unduly emotional because it is not a respecter of persons. We must always strive to speak the truth and bring to the fore all the facts when we are discussing it. Nothing ought to be hidden.

In our history there are no angels. Every single one of our notable leaders, both military and civilian, during the course of our civil war has innocent blood on their hands and we cannot shy away from it. We must accept our fair share of the blame for what was done to those innocent women and children and to those defenceless civilians.

Until this is done and there is true repentance and reconciliation I do not believe Nigeria can make any meaningful progress or move forward.

Until this is done the cycle of genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, terrorism, violence and divine retribution that we have witnessed all over our country over the last 50 years and even more so over the last five years, will not stop.

This is because the innocent blood that we collectively shed during the civil war is calling to the God of Heaven for the blood of our own innocents in revenge.

Is it by accident that the two most deadly terrorist organisations in the world today, Boko Haram and the Herdsmen, together with ISWA are now freely operating in Nigeria killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Nigerians over the last few years?

Why have we been afflicted with this evil and why has it not affected our neighbouring countries in a similar manner? The answer is obvious and it is essentially a spiritual affliction.

It is time for us to come clean, own up to our faults, confess our sins, make the necessary reparations and thereby put a stop to this evil cycle of fratricidal butchery, bloodshed and violence.

Where we get it wrong and when we have joined hands with others to commit crimes against humanity we must be courageous and gracious enough to accept it, take responsibility for it and own it and we must be ready to display a reasonable level of remorse and compassion and do justice to those that were our victims. As they say, where there is no justice there can be no peace.

What we did to the Biafran civilian population between 1967 and 1970 cannot be swept under the carpet or forgotten. We can ignore it for as long as we like and pretend that it doesn’t matter but as long as we do so the ghosts of the 1 million children and 2 million innocent civilans that we butchered and slaughtered in the most cruel and heartless manner will continue to plague and haunt our nation for many more years to come.

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Biafra: The Civil War With Nigeria Never Ended, We Fought In Self Defense —Onyeka Onwenu |The Republican News

Nigeria’s lady of songs, activist journalist, Onyeka Onwenu has said the Igbo people will make no apologies for going to war with Nigeria, as according to her, the Biafra was a war brought on them and they had to fight in self defence.

Onwenu who spoke on Monday in Lagos at the ‘Never Again Conference’ organised by Nzuko Umunna, an Igbo sociocultural group, to mark 50 years since the end of the Biafra war in 1970, also recalled how her widowed mother’s property was seized in Port Harcourt, Rivers State after the war.

She said the Biafra is a very sensitive and painful matter that ought to be addressed.

“This is a subject matter that is very close to our hearts,” she said. “It’s very personal to very many of us, very sensitive matter; very painful matter indeed. And yes, some of us have lived with some bitterness. And we make no apologies about that. We were a people in war, led into war, not by our own wishes or design, but in self defence. No apologies Nigeria, no apologies to the world.

“But here we are. I was born and raised in Port Harcourt. My father, Dike Onwenu was the first Arondizuogu man in the federal house, and he was representing Port Harcourt constituency. He was the principal of Enitonna High School. He was a brilliant man. But he died too early. I’m from Abia State since I’m an Aro daughter. I’m from Imo State, Arondizuogu and I’m also from Anambra where my mother comes from. I can go there and live and nobody can stop me.

“I’m also from Lagos State. I married a Yoruba man. I have two Yoruba children.”

Onwenu said she fought the Biafra war and recalled many children and aged people dying in her care. She regretted that the war has not yet ended, and warned those still fighting the Igbo to be careful.

“I fought the war as a young girl between 14 and 17 years, and I lost many relatives. I carried babies who died in my arms. I treated old people who took days to die. People were dying of hunger, even our soldiers were dying out of hunger. But thank God we survived.

“When my father died at 40, he was a politician and also a principal. But he didn’t have much money. In those days, you had to keep your day job, even if you were a member of the House of Representatives. Yes, my mother, an Anambra woman, was a trader. She was richer than my dad, so my dad would borrow money from her to buy land and he never paid back. You know how it is with husband and wife.

“At the end of the war, I couldn’t go back to Port Harcourt. My home was abandoned property. Those of you who come from Port Harcourt know the story. The home that a widow, my father had only laid the foundation when he died in an accident; the building that a widow built was seized as an abandoned property.

“And living just adjacent to us on Hospital Road were the Ikokus. In fact, I thought we were related because every family in Port Harcourt was together. You didn’t care were anyone came from or who they were, whether you were from Port Harcourt or not. Every parent had the right to reprimand a child he/she saw misbehaving. Port Harcourt was a beautiful town, but we couldn’t get back to it.

“So, for me, the civil war never ended, it is still going on. My poor mother went back to Port Harcourt to claim her property and she was beaten into a coma by people whom she had helped all her life; people she had helped to send to school, because she is an Igbo woman and now Port Harcourt belonged to another group of people.

“They forgot the sacrifices that the Igbo made. It is still going on, no apologies have ever been made about that. The road that is now referred to as Harold Wilson Road used to be Dike Onwenu Road. That’s on account of the sacrifices that the Onwenus, the Ikokus, and the rest, made in building up Port Harcourt.

“Here I am. I travelled outside, thanks to my sister who was at Harvard at the time. But we all came back to develop Nigeria. I have tried with the little talent that God has given me, to use it to the betterment of my society and my country. But if I were a Yoruba or a Hausa woman, I would probably have had more patronage, more help and more support than I have got by my self-help effort to raise this country up.

“But I’m not asking anybody for anything. I put myself through school, my widowed mother did her best. I was working two jobs in America to put myself through school. I didn’t want to take the Nigerian scholarship because they were giving it to everybody, those who deserved it and those who didn’t. And many of them were not even in school.

“I’m angry at Nigeria, I’m angry at this government which seems to be letting us down. I’m angry at us as a people, I’m angry at my people, Ndigbo. Because he who is rejected doesn’t reject himself. Stop complaining and do it yourself. We have always been able to do that. How did we build Imo Airport? Nobody built for us. We spent many years raising money. I was travelling all over the country to do free concerts to raise money for Imo Airport. That’s who we have been. And I remember that in those days, if the Igbo State Union decides, that’s it, everybody follows the line and gets it done.

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BIAFRA vs NIGERIA: civil war and the tale of reasons behind the war and the horror

By Ike A. Offor

SEE VIDEO BELOW

The wartime video made by CBS News or any other third party should be more accurate about the tales of the war and the truth about events and the actual reasons behind the war. If one watches any from Nigeria, one could many a times see unbalanced narrative or even arrogant tone in the narrations. But this was perfect and attracted the attention of our reporters in The Republican News.

Despite already known and always recounted stories of massacre in the Northern Nigeria against the hapless women, children, unarmed men by mobs, and the lack of action by the federal government to stop such carnage on innocent Biafrans. A narrative that led to the Aburi conference in Ghana and concomitant Aburi Accord, which was agreed as palliation to the carnage and a better true federal structure of government in Nigeria.

This video was made two years into the war, by that period approximately 2 million of hapless children, women and young Biafrans have died through starvation, a ploy or scheme used by the federal government to win the war. A policy reportedly offered by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, finance minister of Nigeria, as a means to win the war against Biafra.

The Nigerian Army recorded a lot of casualties, both injured and dead, while starvation was the debilitating cause of death on the  Biafran side.

Narration by Mike Wallace, William S. Brown, Harry Reasoner and Jeff Gralnick

 

Recently, President Buhari in his address in Katsina state erroneously said that the oil has not been discovered before the war. He said that it was not ought because of the oil but for the unity of Nigeria due to the fact that oil has then not been discovered. But historical facts are the best way to discredit or credit any assertion. In this documentary it was laid out apparently enough for anyone to comprehend it.

President Mohammadu Buhari assertion about the war was either intentional or his sense of such crucial part of national  history  eluded him. But as a man who fought in that war and as a commanding officer of the federal army and a person within the rank and files of the military then, it must be assumed that his distortion of facts was indeed intentional.

Nigerian oil was discovered under British colonial government in 1949 by the time of its independence in 1960 Nigeria already was earning $7 million annually from oil export. The presence of British Petroleum,(BP), GULF of the USA were already conspicuous within the shores of Nigeria before independence and prior to the war.

At the beginning of the war,  Nigeria’s earning through oil moved from $14 million to 300 million during the war. Which oil then was exported if not the same oil we have now? It was evidently clear in history tales that the war was fought because of oil.

By the time of the war, Nigeria was already the 12th largest producer and exporter in the  world and forecasted to be either the fifth or the sixth in the world soon after.

In the narration, Mike Wallace, the legendary CBN broadcaster and reporter clearly said that the federal government knew that they cannot do without the Biafrans because they need their talents.

The Nigerian government was afraid of an independent Biafra as a potential hostile neighbour state  and expansionist unit. So, that fear was one of the reasons of not letting Biafra become a free state and a neighbour.

The reason, according to his discussions with Nigerian leaders, behind the lack of interest by the Nigerian government to engage in genocidal move to wipe the Biafrans out is because they need the talents of the Igbo and they want them back into Nigeria.

United States supported Nigerian government politically while they try to send aids to Biafrans, but they are not willing to step into the war. The narrative behind that is completely another thing.

While the Nigerian army had superior fire power,  the sheer will of the Biafrans was overwhelmingly enough to keep the Nigerian soldiers fighting for three years. While Nigerian soldiers enlisted for the fat pay, the Biafrans enlisted for their strong will for freedom. Perhaps this was why the war lasted for three years.

Biafrans were high-spirited, hardworking and very well determined to fight and win their total freedom from Nigeria and maintain their free independent new state. If and when markets were bombed, which of course is a war crime because it is occupied by civilians and not military, the Biafrans moved their markets into bushes and business went on as if nothing has happened.

The politics of the war and the reluctant attitude of the world great powers to aid to stop the war or even prevent it from occurring is another narrative that raised several questions. The aiding of Nigeria for the war and the lack of interest from the United States to get involved in the war is why the war lasted so long and took so many lives.

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