By Onyema Uche
Let me officially respond to the reckless comment of Lt. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari on Biafra and the civil war.
1. First let see the comment, "the Nigerian army was soft on Biafra during the civil war". There have been many reactions and spontaneous reactions over this comment since it was made. No one has welcomed the statement or has defended it. The statement exposed the recklessness of our president, his dark mind and deep-seated hate for the Biafrans.
2. The worst thing to victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing is denial of the act. Throughout history, denial of the acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing have always provoked spontaneous reactions like street protests, riots and violent demonstrations. This is because to deny the fact of genocide is equivalent to the actual act. It reopens the pains of tragic history and recreates the animosity and hate that accompanied the act. This is exactly what Buhari did. He just denied the act of genocide against Biafrans and exonerated the actors.
3. From July 1966 to May 1967 a continuous systematic act of ethnic cleansing went on in northern Nigeria which many writers called pogrom. Biafrans were the targets. In that pogrom over 50,000 Igbos were massacred in the north under the very watchful eyes of Gen.Gowon.The war in which Buhari said Nigerian army was "soft" started with the slaughter of 50,000 Igbos. Let me tell you one horrific side of the pogrom in the north. As soon as the massacre started in the north, Igbos ran to the palaces of Emirs and to military barracks for safety. The emirs gave them shelter and protection. As the Emirs went to their Arewa General meeting in Kaduna, the emirs instructed that nobody should hurt the Igbos till they come back from the meeting. After the meeting, the emirs returned and ordered for the killing of those Igbos that ran to the palaces for protection. Do you know how they were killed? They were gathered together in a hut and were set ablaze. They watched them scream, beg and burnt to death. Those that ran to the barracks were brought out and were beaten with sticks and clubs to death. A war that began with such cruelty cannot at anytime have a "soft" touch.
4. The Asaba massacre of 1968, over 1000 innocent civilians were brutally murdered by the order of Muaritala Mohammed. Lt. I O S Omar Sanda Nwachukwu led the slaughter squad. The massacre of over 2000 innocent civilians and a complete annihilation of a village in Ogwashi-Ukwu by Nigerian soldiers was not a "soft touch."
5. The policy of starvation which Gowon endorsed and had his men defended all over the world was not a "soft touch". Anthony Enahoro called starvation a legitimate weapon of war. By that statement Gowon endorsed the crusome death of over 1million children, over 2million women. Yet this blood thirsty president said he had a "soft touch" with Biafra. "We do not want to see any red Cross, we do not want to hear any Pope. We will continue to shoot at everything. And when we get to the heart of Igbo land we will shoot everything including those that do not move" by Benjamin Adekunle, a marine commando of Nigerian army. This was not a statement of a soldier who was instructed to be "soft on the people". It was statement of hate and brutality from a sadistic army of Gowon. To Buhari this meant "soft" touch.
6. After the fall of Oboloafor, under the command of General Shuwa, trailer loads of invalids, lepers and imbeciles with all forms of deformities were brought from North to defile, rape our women just to scorn us and desecrate and pollute our land. What did the Biafra women do to deserve such violations? Everywhere the Nigerian soldiers entered the uncircumcised baboons of Nigerian army will embark on free looting and raping, an act Buhari's militia herdsmen have continued to perpetuate till date. Yet Buhari called it "soft touch".
7. The war got bitter as the years passed by. From 1969, Nigeria government under the supervision of Awolowo, the air blockage has been fully implemented. Under the watchful
eyes of fathers children starve to death. Breasting feeding women starved to death. Men ate raw cassava to survive. Breastfeeding mothers died on the roadside, some with their suckling babies still sucking the breast of a dead mother. Some children died with mouth glued on the breast of their dead mothers. Nigerian soldiers saw the dying women and children and walked on in pursuit of men who dared to survive alone. Families watched one another die, starve to death. Yet Buhari said Nigerian army was "soft". Awolowo started his journey to hell from this earth. Our religion told us anyone that commits suicide will go to hell. Awolowo did not only die with his frustrated ambition to rule Nigeria, he also was forced to commit suicide. He drank saving powder and died. I can imagine him hearing the cries of Biafran children starved to death in his last minute before death.
8. How about the bombings of markets, hospitals and churches? Were those actions from the "soft side" of Gowon's heart? I saw uncles who did not go to war but had their arms and legs amputed. Same with some women and children. These injuries were sustained either coming from church, going to or in the market and in hospitals. Buhari, was this "soft touch'? The crusome murder of women during Ahia attack will never be forgotten. For days and weeks the Nigeria planes bombarded our markets killing in hundreds women and children. Yet Buhari said he had soft touch on Biafrans.
9. The killing of Biafran soldiers continued till 1971. I heard stories of brave men from my village who were killed by the Nigerian soldiers that camped in a primary school in our village. They shot and killed suspected young men who were Biafran soldiers. Onwuatuegwu was killed after the war. He was shot at close range on the street. No one was punished for maltreating Biafrans or for killing our men even after the war just as no fulani herdsmen has been prosecuted for killing Biafrans. Just as this president gives double promotion to police men who killed Igbos.
10. Let me say it loud and clear. We will not forget. We will not forgive. No generation that suffered what we suffered ever forgave or forgot. The Jews has never forgiven Hitler nor have they forgotten. The Chinese people have not forgotten nor forgiven Japan. The Philippines have not forgotten or forgiven. So do Biafrans. Even as some religious hypocrites try to preach forgiveness and some cowards try to ask us to forget, we will not because it is unnatural to forgive or forget a crime that is continuous. In Biafra experience in Nigeria there is no past.
11. It is deplorable that instead of Nigerian governments to show remorse for what they did to Biafrans they have continued in their pathetic denials. Gowon keeps organizing public blasphemy in the name of reconciliation when he has not shown any remorse, confession or shown contrition. Somebody needs to tell Gowon that sin is not forgiven because it has been billion years since the act was committed.
12. It is because we have castrated men, chained giants as our federal representatives that Buhari, the president of Nigeria had the temerity, the audacity to open his mouth and say such wicked thing. It is obvious that agitation for Biafra has not picked. It has not picked because our governors and legislators are feeding bottle carrying men in office. Ordinarily women should have spontaneously rushed to streets in every state of Biafra land carrying pictures of the victims of the civil war so that Buhari will see. The youths should have been on the streets rioting and burning tires. Students should have embarked on demonstrations. Our men should have been calling for Buhari to apologize by now. But woe to them that lost a war.
13. Biafra has laid the foundation of her freedom with the blood of millions of her children, there is no cover up that can wipe the history. No amount of intimidation can kill the spirit of Biafra. Nothing will bring reconciliation between biafra and Nigeria. This is because the tears of the innocent that watered the streets in the north will never dry. The blood of the starved children will never be satisfied till freedom is granted to the survivors of the Biafra Holocaust.
The Sons Of Perdition And Angels Of Death