“By the way, in May 1968, my uncle (my mother’s younger brother) was shot in his Warri street residence in Port Harcourt, his corpse butchered, his flesh sold as Biafra meat in Mile 1 market. That same day the Nigerian Army opened up and started shelling Port Harcourt, which was ultimately liberated”
PEGASUS REPORTERS, LAGOS | NOVEMBER 1, 2021
As a Rivers man who saw the events of 1967-1970 and who was old enough to understand them, this protest in Port Harcourt is a slap on true Rivers indigenes. and the memory of ALL the Rivers men and women who were slaughtered in the pogroms and ethnic cleansing committed during the civil war by the Biafran Army.
Let us remind ourselves of the TRUE facts and REAL reasons behind the secession and subsequent civil war. Ojukwu and his cohorts decided to secede from Nigeria because Gowon broke up the regions and created Rivers State among the 12 states he created. Remember the Aburi accord? Article 4 of that accord had to do with the breaking up of the regions. On the 27th of May, 1967, Gowon broke up the Regions, from the then Eastern Region and carved out Rivers, South-Eastern and East-Central states. 3 days later on 30th May, 1967 Ojukwu seceded citing the Aburi accord. ON ABURI WE STAND!! The rallying war cry of the day. How anyone who calls himself/herself a Rivers indigene support tacitly or otherwise the so-called Biafra cause when Biafra seceded just because Rivers State was created and the Rivers people for once had a right to self rule?
In the quest for a sovereign country did the Igbo majority seek, discuss with or solicit the support of the minorities in the Oil Rivers and South-East?? Where is Biafra? How do you seek for a country which was subsequently named Biafra WITHOUT involving the indigenous people of Biafra? Isn’t that supreme arrogance or maybe they were not included because they were meant to be wiped out later. Events proved the latter to be true.
Late Chief (Dr.) Nabo Graham-Douglas who was the Attorney General of the Eastern Region was sent on compulsory leave and exiled to his home town Abonnema with orders for him to be executed. Fortunately the plans leaked and he miraculously escaped. He didn’t draw the Articles of secession and only heard about Biafra from the BBC journalists who came to interview him in Abonnema. He was one of the lucky ones.
The ethnic cleansing began in earnest. Our intelligentsia; top civil servants, technocrats and other able bodied men and women were rounded up and summarily executed in Enugu, Owerri, Aba, Umuahia, Degema, Buguma, Bakana, to mention but a few towns/cities. In Port Harcourt, Rainbow town and Igritta, became killing fields. the bones of those victims still lie there
These atrocities were committed by the Biafran Army, against people who were supposed to be fighting the same cause with them.
In a bid to wipe out the minority tribes, our towns and villages were evacuated, our men put to slave labour and later on shot (reminiscent of Nazi Germany), our women taken as sex slaves, young boys shared the same fate as the men. Bakana, Bille, Abonnema were all forcefully evacuated.
Finally, when the Nigerian Army counter attacked and liberated Port Harcourt, the retreating Biafran Army, burnt Kingsway (now Supabod building), Nabo Graham-Douglas’s law library (which was the best Law library in the whole of West Africa) and other land marks in the Garden city. Of what military significance were these acts??
I don’t blame the misguided ill-informed people for trampling on the graves of those who were murdered by the Biafran Army, by protesting in Port Harcourt. I blame Gowon for forbidding accounts of the war being published after the war, but more importantly for not trying war criminals (like Col Ojeh of Degema) within the Biafran Army and holding them accountable for their inhuman and murderous actions during the war. 70 years after World War 2, we are still reminded on a daily basis the atrocities that the Nazi’s committed. If Gowon had done what he was morally and duty bound to do, this matter of Biafra would have been put to rest once and for all.
By the way, in May 1968, my uncle (my mother’s younger brother) was shot in his Warri street residence in Port Harcourt, his corpse butchered, his flesh sold as Biafra meat in Mile 1 market. That same day the Nigerian Army opened up and started shelling Port Harcourt, which was ultimately liberated.
Are those protesting and the other supporters of “Biafra” aware of these facts??
The war has been over these past 45 years, we are forging on as a country, setting aside our ethnocentric issues. That Ex-Biafrans have been assimilated into all spheres of our society (as they should), without any punishment meted out to the war criminals among them, doesn’t give anyone the right to re-write history or bring these painful memories back.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!
Alabo Abiye Akkio-Abbey wrote from the USA
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