Below is a letter sent to the US Congress by the Converner-South East Elders Forum-Dr Dozie Ikedife:
We are members of South East (Nigeria) Elders Forum- a Nigerian registered non-governmental organization (NGO). This is an open, non-political, non-religious not for profit organisation. We are all members of Igbo Ethnic Nationality and elders as the name implies made up of traditional rulers, religious leaders, academicians, technocrats and leaders of thought in many fields of human endeavour. We are concerned about the Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
We have suffered recurrent genocidal crimes committed against us by Nigerians, especially those of Northern Nigeria, dating back to 1945. This climaxed in the pogrom of 1966/67. By the general agreement of the people of Eastern Nigeria, we decided to distance ourselves from the rest of Nigeria, based on many waves of unjustified killings. We therefore, elected to be known as people of independent State of Biafra in 1967.Immediately after this, Nigeria with her allies, declared war on this young state of Biafra. Unprepared, unexpected, we were forced to defend ourselves for 30 months before we were overwhelmed by complete blockade, starvation, heavy indiscriminate bombing of churches, markets and other public places. We were forced to surrender to Nigeria`s allied forces on January 12th, 1970, to save the rest of the Igbo population from complete eradication.
Despite window dressing declaration of “No Victor, No Vanquished” and ostensible policy of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reintegration, economic strangulation and systematic exclusion of Igbo people in Eastern Nigeria (Biafra) followed since then. Unprovoked, unjustifiable sporadic killings of our people continue to date. Few instances are listed below to illustrate;
- In Jos (Northern Nigeria) 1945, there was massacre of Igbos.
- In Kano( Northern Nigeria), a genocide against Igbos in 1953
- 1966 pogrom of over 60,000 Eastern Nigerian civilians were killed in the North
- May 29, 1967- over 200,000 soldiers and civilians were killed in Western and Northern Nigeria.
- 1967-70 – 3,000,000 killed during the bloody civil war.
- In September, 1967, the Asaba Massacre (refer Blood on the Niger) since the war ended.
- Another Kano riot took place in 1980, in which many Igbos were killed and property worth billions of Naira destroyed
- In Maiduguri, 1982, a series of Igbos were also killed
- Jimeta, 1984
- Gombe, 1985
- Zaria, 1987
- Kaduna and Kafanchan, 1991
- Bauchi and Kastina, 1991
- Kano, 1991
- Zangon-Kataf 1992
- Funtua, 1993
- Kano, 1994
- Beheading of Gideon Akaluka in December of 1996 in a police station in Kano
- Kaduna ,2000
- Kaduna, 2001
- Maidugiri, 2001
- Jos- maiden crisis took place September ,2001
- Kaduna ,2002
- Jos-November, 2008
- Post – April, 2011 Presidential Elections, 10 youth – corps men and women, as well as, numerous citizens were murdered because a Christian from the South region was elected president .
- Jos – Christmas day, 2011
- In Abuja, 6 traders from Southern Nigeria also described as Apo 6, were brutally killed for no just reason.
- Madalla – christmas day ,2011
- Mubi – January 6, 2012
- In January, 2013, the bodies of several MASSOB members were found floating in Ezu River in Anambra state
- Many slaughtering of Igbos orchestrated by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram
Even in the homelands of the Igbo people, we have the following;
- Nimbo Massacre, 2016
- Awgu Massacre, 2016
- Abia Massacre, 2016
- In 2016, 74 year old Mrs. Bridget Agbahume, a market woman, was beheaded due to alleged blasphemy. There were no legal actions taken against the perpetrators
- Ndubuisi Uzoma, a young Igbo university graduate, was beheaded in his farm near the Abuja airport by fulani herdsmen.
- Sometime ago following the publication of a cartoon in a Scandinavian Newspaper about a Muslim with head injuries, there was a wave of killings of Igbos in Nigeria
There are many other instances of unjustifiable killings of South Eastern people especially the Igbo people.
On May 30th, 2017, the Igbo people of Biafra land (Eastern Nigeria) decided to observe a “Sit at Home” (that is, no work, no business activities) to ruminate on their fate in Nigeria, as well as, remember their people who have been unjustifiably killed before, during and after the Biafra War. This innocuous “Sit at Home” order was widely obeyed by Igbo people all over Nigeria, to the surprise of the rest of Nigerians.
Following this, various Arewa(Northern Nigerian) youth groups unanimously issued a 3 month Quit Notice to all Igbo people residing or doing business in Northern Nigeria to leave all parts of Northern Nigeria before October 1st, 2017. Failure to do so will attract dire consequences including deaths and confiscation of their properties and businesses. The elders of Northern Nigeria instead of condemning this threat, confirmed it.
This is a very significant and ugly development. It is clear demonstration of deep seated wide spread disbelieve in one Nigeria of equal citizenship for all by people of Northern Nigeria both young and old. Arrival at this point is that parting of ways, peaceful separation of Biafra from Nigeria, is here now.
We fear the worst
This is in spite of the fact that the subsisting Nigerian constitution 1999 (as amended) allows Nigerians to live and own property in any part of Nigeria or outside it.
Incidentally, it is the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria who in practical terms demonstrate their belief in one Nigeria. They live and invest heavily in every part of Nigeria, in the West and in the North.
Conversely, there is little or no worthwhile investments in Igbo land by Hausa/Fulani of Northern Nigeria.
Igbo owned landed properties were once declared abandoned properties and confiscated in parts of “ONE Nigeria”. A threat of another major confiscation has now been announced in the North. The Igbos in other parts of Nigeria have been repeatedly hit physically and emotionally by other Nigerians for no just cause, but perhaps morbid hatred.
The Existence of both peaceful and violent agitations in various parts of the country is a clear indication of generalized discontent. The amalgamation of the country in 1914 has become a marriage in which partners are not happy and appear irreconcilable. The peaceful dissolution of the marriage (amalgamation) is the most prudent thing to do, rather than persist till these agitations spin out of control with destruction of properties and loss of life in thousands and millions again.
Since the Igbo people are so hated and badly treated by other Nigerians, the only fair thing to do is let them be separated from the rest of Nigeria.
We agree that living in a big country like Nigeria has some advantages. But if security of life and property is not assured in a big country, then it is far better to live in a smaller country and be alive.
If waves of unprovoked killings of our people (Igbo people) in Northern parts of Nigeria and even in our ancestral homes, pillaging and sacking of our villages and destruction of our farm crops by armed itinerant nomadic cattle herdsmen from the North, threat of sacking peaceful law abiding Igbo people living in Northern Nigeria, continued systematic exclusion of Igbo people and neglect of Federal Government infrastructures in South Eastern Nigeria is our lot in Nigeria today, then Sirs, we humbly submit that we are better off living in a separate smaller country called Biafra urgently and peacefully carved out of Nigeria. BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.
We take consolation in and hang our hopes on the United Nations Act which allows for peaceful self determination to ethnic nationalities who so wish.
WE DO WISH.
We have noted the recent attempts by Scotland to pull out of the United Kingdom after centuries of the union. Great Britian voted to pull out of the European Union after several years` membership. We also recall the breakup of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, the carving out of several independent countries out of Union of Socialist Soviet Russia(U.S.S.R.) and the recent creation of East Timor, etc. It is because of our wish to have a peaceful carving out of Biafra from Nigeria that the Elders of Indigenous people of Biafra, took the Federal Government of Nigeria to Nigeria High court sitting in Owerri Imo State for Declaration of the right of Indigenous people to self-determination. The case is still ongoing with suit number FHC/OW/CS/192/2013.
We are happy that the United States of America is a champion of Democracy and democratic principles hence this appeal to you to help us- BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. We hereby appeal to you and through you to the American Congress (Senate and House of Representatives), American Government and American people to save us, the Igbo people of South Eastern Nigeria numbering over 40 million people both at home and outside Igbo land from these series of senseless killings and threats to extermination. BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.
We appeal to you to please urgently do the following and more:
- Persuade the Government of Nigeria to ensure that the threat of sacking and dis-possessing of Igbo people of their investments in Northern Nigeria come October 1st,2017 is NOT carried out then or ever in future.
- Help ensure that Igbo people living and carrying on lawful and peaceful businesses in Northern Nigeria are not visited with another wave of killings, massive genocidal crimes or pogrom again.
- Help to ensure that machinery is urgently put in motion that will lead to urgent but peaceful separation of Biafra from Nigeria without rancour, friction or bloodshed.
- Discourage the existence or threat of any genocide or ethnic cleansing wherever it rears its ugly head as in the case in hand – by taking preventive actions. BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
- Help us to ensure that we are not exterminated from the face of the earth by those who seem not to be happy with our existence.
Sirs, this is a distress call from an Ethnic Nationality group, the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria (Biafra land) numbering over 40 million people, who are being killed sporadically without provocation or justification and who are being threatened with further visitations of rampageous killings by their fellow Nigerians.
BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.
With greatest respect to you all.
Yours in great fear
Dr. Dozie ikedife