The news of the Arrest Of Journalist , Chido Onumah, by men of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Sunday unsettled the media space and Vanguard can now confirm the real reason the author of the book, We Are All Biafrans was arrested and released after hours.
Upon arrival at Abuja airport 4pm on Sunday, Onumah spent sometime clearing his luggage and was expected to have dinner with a friend. He was waiting to confirm the venue of his appointment when a DSS official walked up to him, flashed his ID card and told him he was to be questioned in connection with a planned protest.
Onumah, who was wearing a T-shirt with the inscription, WE ARE ALL BIAFRANS, which happened to be the title of his new book, was led to the DSS office at Central Abuja. During interrogation, he was asked why he was holding a Nigerian passport and he confidently replied that “I am Nigerian.”
The DSS officials queried why he was putting on the vest with the inscription, which he answered by telling them that was the titled of his new book. Onumah further told the DSS officials that he had more vests in his bag with the same inscription and won’t hesitate to wear either of them after leaving.
According to source, while at the DSS office, Onumah was reading a book while the officials ran a check on his profile. “That was when they discovered that he was more Nigerian as anyone can be.
“They (DSS) now told him (Onumah) that there was an intel they got about some people who were trying to cause unrest and he was picked because of the inscription on his shirt. They told him his shirt’s inscription could trigger an unrest and after much dilly daily, He Was Allowed To Take His Leave ,” the source said.
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102
The Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Major Gen J T U Aguyi-Ironsi and the Military Governor of the then Western Region, Col Adekunle Fajuyi arriving at their last state function in Ibadan into a well coordinated trap set by then temporary Major Murtala Mohammed, Captain Martin Adamu, Captain TY Danjuma and some other Northern Army officers on July 29, 1966 exactly 51 years ago today.
The bloody events of that night at the Government House Ibadan and military formations in Lagos, Abeokuta and some other parts of the country were the major factors that led to the Nigerian Civil War which claimed over one million lives.
May their souls rest in peace.
Here is a detailed report of the events of that faithful night as captured by the renowned military historian and heart surgeon, Prof Nowa Omoigui : IBADAN, FRIDAY, JULY 29, 1966 (“Paiko’s Wedding”)
The situation in Ibadan on July 28 was tense. Northern civil servants, chiefs and traditional rulers who had come for the Conference of Traditional rulers were eager to get out of the South, fearful that they would be targetted in the so called “Plan 15” Igbo Plot. Indeed there were false rumors that the conference Hall was slated to be blown up. At the regimental parade for General Ironsi a small controversy erupted in the Press about the observation that northern troops refused to (or could not) sing the National Anthem. Arguments went back and forth on TV about whether their lips were moving.
Nevertheless, there was a grand reception in the evening hosted by the Military Governor, Lt. Col. Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, which belied the tensions that were simmering underneath. Fate was beckoning. Both Ironsi and Fajuyi were distinguished veterans of the Congo peace-keeping operations (ONUC) from 1960-64. Then Brigadier JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi was the overall Force Commander for the last six months of the operation. Fajuyi was well known as the first Nigerian officer to be honoured with an international military citation. As a Major, he was awarded the Military Cross (MC) for personal action in leading C company of the 4QNR in combat on November 27, 1960 and subsequently extricating it from an ambush during operations on January 3, 1961.
Nevertheless, following the call from Lt. Pam Mwadkon in Abeokuta, Lt. Garba Dada (Paiko) woke up other northern officers at the 4th Battalion, including Major TY Danjuma, a staff officer at AHQ who was temporarily staying at the Letmauk Barracks, having accompanied Major General JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi from Lagos. The Barracks is named after a town called Letmauk, site of a bitter campaign in April and May 1944 to retake AN from the Japanese in Burma, by the 1st Nigerian Brigade of the 82nd West African Division during World War II.
Dada told Danjuma: “Sir, we will have to do the same thing. The most important target is the Supreme Commander. For as long as he is there, everything we are doing here is nothing. We should go there.”
After a brief meeting with Lts. Ibrahim Bako and Abdullai Shelleng, a quick phone call was made to Lt. Col. Murtala Muhammed in Lagos, seeing as Muhammed had earlier contacted the boys to stand down from their group’s pre-planned coup. But Muhammed initially urged restraint, seeing as he was unsure whether his earlier confrontation with Anwunah meant that Igbo officers and soldiers in Lagos were already armed and may well have the advantage – as Anwunah had threatened. However, concerned that exposed northern mutineers in Abeokuta would be isolated and thus likely arrested and charged if they delayed action, Danjuma, Dada, Bako, Shelleng, and the duty officer (James Onoja) decided to overrule Muhammed and proceed with operations in Ibadan. Because Danjuma did not go to Ibadan with combat dress, he borrowed one from Lt. James Onoja* who had recently come back from a course in the US, and wore it right over his pyjamas. Then Danjuma armed himself with a hand grenade for suicide in the event of mission failure.
(*Some accounts say it was Akahan’s uniform, but the Onoja version is likely more correct, confirmed by Danjuma himself. In any case Akahan was out of the loop until daybreak).
Soldiers were then hurriedly selected from infantry companies at Mokola commanded by Onoja and Shelleng. While Shelleng took one group to man checkpoints along the Lagos and Abeokuta roads to protect the southern approaches to the city, 24 soldiers under Lt. James Onoja, some say in two landrovers mustered by the MTO, Lt. Jerry Useni, accompanied Major Danjuma to the Government House in the early hours of July 29, 1966. The specific initial objective was to isolate the premises, disconnect the Supreme Commander from the chain of command and arrest him as a tool for negotiations regarding the boys who killed Okonweze and others at Abeokuta. The Government House was already guarded by elements of the National Guards company, led by Lt. William Walbe, who was in charge of a 106 mm recoilless rifle group, along with some soldiers on duty from the 4th battalion whose reporting relationship was to the adjutant of the battalion as well as the duty officer.
THE TAKE-OVER OF THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE, IBADAN
Upon arrival there, having established that the Supreme Commander was in, Major Danjuma was confronted by two command problems. Both arose from the fact that he neither belonged to the 4th battalion nor was he part of the National Guard, although he was senior to all the boys on the ground. First task, therefore, was to ensure the cooperation of those elements of the 4th battalion who were on duty there. The second was to secure the cooperation of the National Guard Commander on the ground. In order to address the first problem he asked the adjutant (“Paiko”) to issue a “legitimate” order that all his soldiers on duty be disarmed by the duty officer (Onoja) who was there to conduct a “legitimate” inspection. After being disarmed by the Duty Sergeant, they were illegitimately screened and those who could be trusted (ie northerners), illegitimately rearmed. Then they were supplemented by the pre-selected group Danjuma brought along from the barracks with Onoja. To deal with the second problem he confronted Lt. William Walbe directly and secured his cooperation. This wasn’t too difficult. Although they were in different cells, Walbe himself had been attending separate meetings in Lagos with Joe Garba and others and was well aware of the outlines of a coup plot although he did not expect one that night.
Once the building was surrounded and the 106 mm gun positioned in support, Danjuma came under pressure from the boys on the ground to proceed with the operation. There were fears, based on myths acquired in the Congo, that General Ironsi was assisted by “juju” and that he could disappear at anytime using his “crocodile”. Junior officers who had come to join the party urged immediate attack, some even suggesting a repeat performance of the Nzeogwu assault on the Nassarawa Lodge in Kaduna in January. They wanted the 106 mm weapon used to bring down the complex. Danjuma resisted the pressure.
Lt. Col. Hilary Njoku, Commander of the 2nd Brigade in Lagos, then emerged from the main building and was walking right past the soldiers on duty moving toward the gate. One account says he came up from Lagos with Ironsi, had been staying at the guest house next to the main lodge, but was at the main lodge where Ironsi was staying, socializing with both Ironsi and Fajuyi. Another account says he came up from Lagos that evening when rumors of a coup gained strong currency among senior Igbo officers in Lagos to brief the C-in-C. When he attempted to leave the premises, ostensibly to mobilize loyal units, he was shot at by soldiers who had been ordered not to let anyone out and he responded in kind. (Some say he shot first). Luckily he escaped with serious injuries, some say with no less than 8 pieces of shrapnel in his thigh. Njoku initially made his way to the University College Hospital but had to escape again when a “mop up” team came searching for him.
At this point, Lt. Onoja asked for permission to leave, saying he was going to get more ammunition from the barracks. However, he panicked and ran away in one of the landrovers, fearing that Njoku’s escape meant the coup would fail. He was later arrested at Jebba.
When it became apparent that Njoku had escaped, Danjuma, guarded by two soldiers, made rounds to check all guard positions around the lodge and was moving toward the guest house when he heard the phone there ringing. He asked one of his guards to break the window so he could reach in to answer the phone. According to General Danjuma (rtd), this is how the conversation went:
Gowon: “Hello. I want to speak to Brigade Commander. I want to speak to Colonel Njoku.
Danjuma: “May I know who is speaking?”
Gowon: My name is Gowon. Yakubu Gowon.”
Danjuma: “Ranka dede. This is Yakubu Danjuma.”
Gowon: “Yakubu, what are you doing there? Where are you?”
Danjuma: “I am in the State House here.”
Gowon: “Where is the Brigade Commander?”
Danjuma: “He is not around.”
Gowon: “Have you heard what has happened?”
Danjuma: “Yes, I heard and that is why I am here. We are about to arrest the Supreme Commander. The alternative is that the Igbo boys who carried out the January coup will be released tit for tat since we killed their own officers.”
Gowon: (after a period of silence) “Can you do it?”
Danjuma: “Yes, we have got the place surrounded.”
Gowon: “But for goodness sake we have had enough bloodshed. There must be no bloodshed.”
Danjuma: “No, We are only going to arrest him.”
At this point Danjuma replaced the phone as yet another command crisis with the soldiers on the grounds was brewing. It is not clear from available information what Gowon did with the explosive information he had just gained from Danjuma or how he and Ogundipe planned to deal with it. Danjuma does not say that Gowon or any other senior officer explicitly ordered him to desist from his activities. To what extent, then, did knowledge that Ironsi was already surrounded by elements of the 4th battalion affect efforts to send a Helicopter or the force structure of any potential rescue mission? It appears that, at least in dealings with Ibadan, a decision was made, by omission or commission, to adopt a negotiating rather than fighting attitude to the mutiny.
This is an area which will attract considerable attention of researchers in the future. Some have used it to implicate Gowon in the coup but depending on what other information he had at that point about availability of loyal fighting units, this may be too harsh a conclusion to draw without additional clarification from Gowon himself. He may well have been stalling to allow him time to make alternative plans. Certainly, neither the National Guard company, 2nd (in Lagos) nor 4th (in Ibadan) battalions nor the garrison at Abeokuta were usable at that point. Even if they were willing, battalions in Enugu, Kaduna and Kano were too far away to be useful, particularly considering the lack of emergency strategic airlift capability. In any case, any thinking along these lines was quickly neutralized by Murtala Muhammed’s decision to seize Ikeja airport at dawn. Lastly, Gowon may have viewed Danjuma as the lesser of two evils – the other being an all out effort by mutinying junior officers to get their hands on the General (which is what eventually happened). In retrospect, at that point only a foreign power could have mustered the might to stage a complex night-time military rescue operation to save Ironsi. But there is no evidence that such an option was ever considered.
In any case, when Onoja ran away, TY Danjuma was isolated. With no duty officer on ground, and no other officer from the 4th battalion on the premises, the NCOs began to wonder if they should take strange orders from this Major they had never met, wearing a mis-sized American satin combat uniform on top of pyjamas and who wasn’t even from their unit. They began to wonder if Danjuma might even be an Igbo officer based on his physique and bearing and perhaps even his reluctance to destroy the building. Fortunately for Danjuma, Lt. Abdullai Shelleng returned briefly from his checkpoint on Abeokuta road to check on things and persuaded the NCOs to obey him, assuring them that he was a northerner.
Other officers also arrived back on premises as daybreak approached, including “Paiko” himself. Nervous soldiers then appealed directly to Garba Dada (Paiko) to blow up the house but he refused to do so unless Danjuma gave the okay. Danjuma chose to maintain the siege, waiting patiently for the occupants to emerge from the building. The opportunity would come at 8 am when the Governor and Head of State were scheduled to go for official engagements in town. The one curious oversight, though, was that no effort was made to cut off the phone lines at the lodge.
At 6:30 am General Ironsi’s Army ADC, Lt. Sani Bello emerged from the building to find out what was going on. After a brief confrontation with Danjuma and a group of hostile northern NCOs, he was arrested, told to remove his shoes and sit down on the ground. As members of the Head of State’s convoy and delegation began arriving from guest chalets they too were detained and asked to sit on the ground. They include many others like Colonel Olu Thomas, an army physician, and Chief C. O. Lawson, Secretary to the Government, arrested at about 7:30 am.
At this point, Lt. Col. Fajuyi personally emerged from the building. Some accounts claim that his ADC had absconded during the night and switched sides. Danjuma describes his conversation with Fajuyi as follows:
Fajuyi: “Danjuma come. What do you want?”
Danjuma: “I want the Supreme Commander”
Fajuyi: “Promise me that no harm will come to him”
Danjuma: words to the effect that no harm would come to Ironsi and that he was only being arrested.
Fajuyi: “I will go and call him.”
Chorus of northern NCOs: “No, Sir. Don’t allow him to go.” Danjuma: (talking to Fajuyi who had briefly turned around) “Sir, you see what I have. This is grenade. If there is false move two of us will go.”
At this point Fajuyi led the way into the building with the grenade bearing Danjuma and five armed soldiers (including Lt. Walbe) right behind him, essentially using him as a cover as they climbed the staircase and went upstairs to meet General Ironsi.
Ironsi: “Young man”
Danjuma: “Sir, you are under arrest.”
Ironsi: “What is the matter?”
Danjuma: “The matter is you, Sir. You told us in January when we supported you to quell the mutiny that all the dissident elements that took part in the mutiny will be court-martialled. It is July now. You have done nothing. You kept these boys in prison and the rumours are now that they will be released because they are national heroes.”
Ironsi: “Look, what do you mean? It is not true.”
At this point Ironsi and Danjuma began arguing, with Fajuyi getting in between them and reminding Danjuma again and again of his promise that no harm would come to Ironsi.
Danjuma: “Fajuyi get out of my way. You, just come down.”
Danjuma: (to Ironsi) “….You organized the killing of our brother officers in January and you have done nothing to bring the so called dissident elements to justice because you were part and parcel of the whole thing.”
Ironsi: “Who told you that? You know it is not true.”
Danjuma: “You are lying. You have been fooling us. I ran around risking my neck trying to calm the ranks, and in February you told us that they would be tried. This is July and nothing has been done. You will answer for your actions.”
At this point Danjuma and Lt. Andrew Nwankwo, Ironsi’s AirForce ADC, had a fierce verbal exchange, with one holding a grenade with the pin pulled and the other holding a pistol. But with the fingers of five other soldiers on the triggers of automatic weapons, Nwankwo was outgunned.
IRONSI AND FAJUYI ARE KIDNAPPED
When the group got downstairs, Danjuma instructed the 4th battalion adjutant, Lt. Garba Dada (“Paiko”), to arrange for both Fajuyi and Ironsi to be taken to the guest house on the cattle ranch at Mokwa “pending date of full inquiry”. Lt. “Paiko”, however, informed Danjuma that he was not a party to the commitment he made to Fajuyi (or Gowon) about their safety and a fierce emotional argument erupted between Danjuma and the others. At this point a northern soldier tapped Danjuma on the shoulder with a loaded rifle and, speaking in Hausa, said:
“These foolish young boys. That is the kind of leadership you have given us and messing us up. They killed all your elders and you are still fooling around here. The man you are fooling around here with will disappear before you know it.”
The other soldiers agreed with this soldier and pounced on both Ironsi and Fajuyi, wrestling them to restrain any movement. Danjuma, faced with one command crisis after another all night, had finally lost control.
Fajuyi turned to Danjuma and said: “You gave us the assurance.”
Danjuma replied: “Yes, Sir. I am sure you will be all right.”
He was wrong.
Two landrovers took the captives away while Danjuma hitch-hiked back to the barracks. Both Ironsi and Fajuyi were squeezed into the front seat of one vehicle while Ironsi’s ADCs, Lts. Bello and Nwankwo were behind. Two officers, Lts. Walbe and Dada, accompanied the group with one joining the driver of the lead vehicle. The command vehicle led another vehicle full of armed troops. Among those soldiers said to have been present include the 4th battalion unit RSM Useni Fagge, Sergeant Tijjani (from Maiduguri), Warrant Officer Bako, and other soldiers including Dabang, Wali, and Rabo. Some of those involved were later to come to prominence during the unsuccessful Dimka coup of 1976.
They drove to Mile 8 on Iwo road, where the group dismounted and went into the bush, crossing a small stream. Ironsi and Fajuyi were subjected to beatings and interrogation. General Ironsi acted a soldier as he was questioned, refused to be intimidated and remained silent, refusing to confess any role in the January 15 coup. Indeed, according to Elaigwu, “It was reliably learnt from an officer and a soldier on the spot that it was Ironsi’s muteness amidst a barrage of questions that led to his being shot by an angry Northern soldier.” Other sources suggest that the “angry northern soldier” may have been Sergeant Tijjani. Details are murky.
Fajuyi was also shot. Although the western region publication “Fajuyi the Great” published by the Ministry of Information in 1967 after his official burial said he had offered to die rather than “abandon his guest”, those involved in his arrest and assassination insist that he was an even more critical target than Ironsi .
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102.
The Anambra State Police Command has warned the Indigenous People Biafra not to dared it or be ready to face the consequences. The police warning followed insistence by IPOB that it would on 30th, May paralyse economic activities in the South-East and beyond with a sit-at-home protest.
According to the secessionist group, it would use the day to honour people of Biafra allegedly killed during the civil war of 1967-1970 and others allegedly killed recently by security agencies in different parts of the geopolitical zone.
But in a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Haruna Mohammed, the command warned IPOB not to dare it by going on with the planned protest, reminding the pro-Biafra group that it remained a proscribed organisation.
The statement read in part, “Information at the disposal of the Anambra State Police Command has revealed that the outlawed group, Indigenous People of Biafra is perfecting plans through public announcement and threats in Nnewi and other parts of the State in order to enforce a “sit-at-home,” warning people to stay at home and not to come out for any business activities on the 30th of May,2019.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Indigenous People of Biafra is still a proscribed organisation hence all its activities remain illegal.
“The Commissioner of Police Anambra State, Mustapha Dandaura enjoined all Anambra people to disregard alleged calls by any group urging them to sit at home on the 30/5/2019 and go about their lawful businesses.
“The CP further assured the public that adequate security arrangements have been put in place by combined security forces in the State to nip in the bud any threat emanating from such groups.”
The statement added, “The Command will therefore not hesitate to deal decisively with and in accordance with the law any individual or groups under any guise that will disrupt public peace in the State”.
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +2348189650279, +32466100102.
The Anambra State Police Command on Wednesday urged people of the State to disregard the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on May 30. Warning that IPOB as a proscribed group remains unlawful and any activity by them is illegal
The Command urged people of the state to go about their lawful duties as its men would be on ground to ensure their safety. A statement by the Command’s spokesperson, Haruna Mohammed insisted that IPOB remained proscribed and all its activities are illegal.
The statement from police reads:
“Information at the disposal of the Anambra State Police Command has revealed that the outlawed group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are perfecting plans through public announcement and threats in Nnewi and other parts of the State in order to enforce a “SIT AT HOME ORDER” warning people to stay at home and not to come out for any business activities on the 30/5/2019.
A lot of Biafrans have reacted to the news from the police, calling it wasteful effort to stop something the people have long accepted as a norm and must be observed.
Subscribe to the Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +2348189650279, +32466100102.
TheAlaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has backed the call by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other pro-Biafra groups for the observance of May 30 as Biafra day of remembrance.
The body appealed to the apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU), churches and other Igbo organisations to set aside the day as it would help in recreating and enhancing Igbo national consciousness and rebirth.
IPOB had last week, through a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, declared a sit-at-home on May 30, throughout Biafraland in remembrance of its fallen heroes and heroines, who paid the supreme price in the struggle for Biafra.
The group said it would also remember all victims of Fulani herdsmen’s attacks, Boko Haram violence and those that died at the hands of security agencies over the years that nobody remembered.
A statement by ADF President, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, Secretary, Prof. Nath Aniekwu and Public Relations Officer, Chief Abia Onyike, noted that the people of the South West, through persistence and with the support of their legislators would soon have a legislation recognising June 12, date of the annulment of the 1993 election, as Democracy Day.
“ADF is aware that several groups and individuals have annually been celebrating this auspicious day in our history as a remembrance day in one form or the other. Many religious groups and several pan-Igbo organisations, including pro-Biafra groups such as Ekwenche, MASSOB, IPOB, Coalition of Pro-Biafra Groups, etc, have been celebrating this for some years.
“ADF is of the view that we, as a people should collectively do this in remembrance and honour of millions of our brothers and sisters who died for our sake.
“We should also honour several nationalities and their governments, churches, humanitarian organisations and heroic individuals including those, who burnt themselves for the sake of our liberty, we should hold May 30 as a solemn day in our history.
“We do this also for the sake of our national consciousness, solidarity and to unite with all our neighbours who suffered with us and still believe in the unity and progress of our region.
“We shall formally address this appeal to all governments, churches, state Assemblies, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, clans, town unions and other bodies for endorsement of this call,” the group stated. (The Sun)
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +2348189650279, +32466100102.
President Muhammadu Buhari has for the umpteenth time recalled that he contested elections four times and ended up in Supreme Court three times, before he finally won the election in 2015, all because he wanted the best for Nigeria.
President Buhari said this when he met 71 retired army generals, admirals, marshals, and former military governors/administrators who visited him at State House, Abuja.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement quoted Buhari as saying, “God has made this country great. We have human and material resources, and may God continue to give us the right leaders. My objective is very clear, and I will continue to do my best.”
He recalled that in his days as military head of state, “we had no other country but Nigeria. We will stay here and salvage it together,” noting that even if one was blessed enough to send their children for training abroad, “after such training, they will still have to come back here. We must, therefore, give our best for our country. The patriotism imbued in us by the military will ever remain relevant. Let’s do our best for this country.”
The President described Nigeria as “a fabulous country,” adding that if it was not so, “the country could not have survived the damage done to it materially and morally in the past,” glorifying God that after 30 months civil war, with over two million lives lost, “we are still one country.”
President Buhari prayed that Nigeria would not lack people who can exploit its human and material resources, adding: “The higher you go in Nigeria, the hotter it becomes, and not the other way round. But I can’t complain. I tried so hard to be here three times, ending up at the Supreme Court. So, I can’t complain over anything I am going through now.”
He described the military as an institution that gives amazing opportunities to know the country, its different people and cultures, “and I am very grateful that you have claimed me back as one of your own. I was governor of (defunct) North-Eastern State, which is now six states, Minister of Petroleum for over three years, head of state; I was arrested and detained, but did not lose my rank, because nothing was found against me.”
The leader of the delegation, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, who was military governor of Borno State, and later military administrator of Lagos State, said the retired top officers thought it right to visit the president, “to say that you have represented your constituency very well. You announced a simple three-point agenda on assumption of office namely security: fighting corruption, and the economy. You have kept your words as an officer and a gentleman.”
The most senior of the retired officers, Vice Admiral Jubrila Ayinla, a former Chief of Naval Staff, who said future generations would acquit President Buhari “most creditably,” added: “On behalf of the generals here today, I congratulate you on the tremendous work done by this administration, and wish to state unequivocally that we are proud of you and fully behind you in the presidential elections next week. We pledge our full support and continued loyalty.”
The delegation was made of one Vice Admiral, two Lt-Generals, 15 Major Generals, two Rear Admirals, eight Air Vice-Marshals, 12 Brigadier-Generals, three Commodores, nine Air Commodores, and 17 former military governors/administrators, among others. (The Sun)
Following the outrage generated in the social media by a hateful remark by one Mr Alaba Ajibola, who claims to be a staff of the prestigious private university, Babcock University has distanced itself from the said fellow.
The remark on his Facebook wall that ” the Igbo should have been wiped out during the Biafra-Nigeria civil war” caused outrage that went viral on the social media and attracted the attention of the university and they had to make a disclaimer.
The only serious issue still pondering many readers is that the young man in question still has on his social media accounts profile that he is still the staff of Babcock University.
The attention of Babcock University has been drawn to a story titled”Babcock University staff goes on a rant; Says Igbos Should Have Been Wiped Out During the Biafran War”.
The story is credited to one Alaba Ajibola.
This is to inform the public that the said Ajibola is neither a staff of Babcock University nor does he represent the University in any way whatsoever. The said Ajibola was once a staff of the Institution but his engagement with the University in that capacity ceased long ago. There is no longer any relationship, whether imagined or real, between the said Ajibola and Babcock University. Therefore, the University dissociates itself from him and his comments.
Babcock University’s pride is in its diversity of people and cultures. It is a global institution, and accommodates people, without bias, from every continent of the world. This confers upon the University its mark of uniqueness and identity as a global brand. The Institution celebrates the diversity of humanity because it gives a sense of beauty, and an acknowledgement of the power of God, the creator of all.
Babcock University values every and all persons irrespective of creed, culture, race, religion, and political persuasions.
The noble achievements of the University have been made possible by the contributions of the exceptionally gifted and immensely great individuals from the different parts of this country, and those from other nations of the world, who have found joy working in the University.
Whereas Babcock University believes in freedom of expression, and places premium on autonomy and responsibility, it is never supportive and does not wish to accede to any divisive tendencies intentionally or unintentionally couched, and are capable of inflaming the embers of discord or potentially devised to dismember the nation.
The University wishes to thank members of the public for their continued faith in the Institution, and for believing in it as socially responsible.
The University will continue to promote love, unity, excellence, integrity and accountability in all it does.
Director, Communication and Marketing, Babcock University, Ogun State, Nigeria.
The former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the injustices and human right abuses suffered by the people of the South East of Nigeria during the Nigerian-Biafra civil war of 1967-1970, by the declaring the sub-region a ‘special area’.
Kalu, who spoke in an interview with aviation reporters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, shortly after arriving Nigeria from the United States of America (USA), also commended President Buhari for addressing the injustices associated with the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election, by posthumously acknowledging the election as free and fair, as well as declaring Chief MKO Abiola as the legitimate winner of that election.
Kalu said the recognition of the June 12 elections as legitimate and MKO Abiola as the winner has portrayed Buhari as a true democrat considering that his two predecessors (presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan) had failed to validate that election during their reigns.
The former governor, however, said President Buhari should extend the same gesture to the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, who superintended over the June 12, 1993 elections. He also sought Buhari’s extension of his reconciliation gesture to the people of the South East where millions of lives were lost and property destroyed during the civil war to assuage the feelings of hurt among the people of the region. Kalu said: “President Buhari has started a good thing by honouring Chief MKO Abiola and declaring June 12 as Democracy Day. Now that he is working, he should also remember Prof. Humfrey Nwosu, the man who conducted the freest and fairest election in Nigeria. Nwosu should also be honoured.
“And I want President Buhari to go a step further and declare the South East a special area, where people in the region were given ill-treatment during the war. People lost lives, they lost property, and they were given just 20 pounds.
“He has already made a good step by paying the Biafran police their entitlements. But, the region should be considered a special area by the government because, if that is added to what Buhari has done, in terms of those who lost their lives during the struggle for the actualisation of June 12 mandate, God will start forgiving Nigeria,” Kalu added.
Kalu also lauded Buhari for giving financial autonomy to the state judiciary and houses of assembly but urged that same autonomy be extended to the federal judiciary, noting that the independence of the judiciary is most fundamental to the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy. (The Sun)
Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja; Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Former minister of Health, Prof. Alphonsus B. C. Nwosu has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon ordered the Nigerian Army to be soft on Biafrans during the 1967-1970 civil war.
Prof. Nwosu said the president should spare Ndigbo his memory of the war and that he did not understand the basis of the president’s claims that the war was not brutal when over three million Igbo children were starved to death.
The former political adviser to former president Olusegun Obasanjo stressed that a war that every family lost a valuable provider and the Asaba massacre could not be said to be less brutal.
He remind the president that a Red Cross plane, which was to supply food to starving Igbo children, was shot down at Uli, in present Anambra State, by Nigerian soldiers, and that the late co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, renounced Christianity because of the killings, among other atrocious things perpetrated against the South East during the war.
“A war where bombs exploded in markets, every family lost valued providers, Asaba massacre took place and a Colombian rights activist had to burn himself in protest against atrocious things taking place against Ndigbo cannot be said to be one where Nigerian soldiers were lenient on Biafrans.
“It was a war which every Igbo, with proper Igbo DNA would not want to remember,” Nwosu said and expressed surprise that the president did not consider the sensitivity of the matter and the telling effect his claim would have on the people of the South East.
He said: “Ndigbo have moved on, in spite of the war. In due time, the accurate accounts of the war, as recorded by the participant,s shall be released.”
Nwosu tasked the president to focus on building a “just, fair and restructured Nigeria that works for all Nigerians and not for some Nigerians only,” rather than delving into issues which touch on Igbo sensibility.
Meanwhile, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has faulted the president’s comments on the civil war.
IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said that most Biafrans were massacred by the Nigerian soldiers without mercy.
“We state categorically and without equivocation that Buhari’s claims are as false and as strange as they come, especially in the face of quantum evidence to the contrary, chronicled by independent observes of the wartime atrocities committed by Nigerian forces against innocent Biafran civilians, including women and children”.
“We doubt if it is the same Buhari that addressed Eastern Youth Corpers in 2016, in his country home in Daura, Katsina State, on the horrors, pains, misery and suffering of the war, that made this latest ‘soft’ on Biafrans statement. It couldn’t have come from the same person.”
“The perpetrators, who seized power in 1966, on the blood of their fellow officers of eastern extraction, continued their bloodletting that directly led to the war… In July 1968, the British mission in Nigeria estimated that 200 to 300 Biafrans were dying every day. However, these estimates were based on numbers reported by the Nigerian government, as the British did not have access to the Biafran enclaves.
“Two months later, during the height of the crisis, the International Committee of the Red Cross (which traversed Biafra during the war) estimated 8,000 and 10,000 deaths per day.
“It obtained these figures based on random samples of death rates in villages, refugee camps and hospitals across Biafra, and cautioned that the estimates were likely to be conservative.
“Professor of Nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health, Jean Mayer, similarly argued that estimates of 10,000 deaths a day appeared to be accurate. We reckon that Buhari would rather wish all these away but it won’t work. It is a fact of history”.
“The Asaba Massacre is but another fact of history that clearly debunks Buhari’s narratives…
“It was reliably estimated that more than 700 men and boys were killed, some as young as 12 years old, in addition to many more killed in the preceding days. Bodies of some victims were retrieved by family members and buried at home. But, most were buried in mass graves; without appropriate ceremony. Many extended families lost dozens of men and boys. Federal troops occupied Asaba for many months,” Powerful narrated.
Similarly, Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has also faulted president Buhari over his comment that Nigerian soldiers had mercy on Biafrans during the civil war.
MASSOB Leader, Mr Uchenna Madu, said the president’s statement cannot “pacify the people of Biafra… The beauty and secret of the success that propelled us were the principals of non-violence, consistencies and self-resolution.” (The Sun)