By Russell Idatoru Bluejack
Biafra consists of over 60 million indigenes residing as citizens against their will in Nigeria. The constituents of Biafra are situated in the multilingual South-South and monolingual South-East regions in the pseudo geographical region referred to as Nigeria. It is a truism that Biafrans that used to reside together as Old Eastern Region have been balkanized by the divisive politics of the combination of the North and Britain. Britain, as colonial master, forcefully amalgamated the Northern and Southern Protectorates in total disregard of their discordant cultures, worldviews, values, and religions. That marriage of convenience devoid of deliberation became the genesis of what has become a verisimilitude of an intractable national throe. The diverse people that were forced to become one did not opt for it, as they were too different in all ramifications to cohabit the geographical space called Nigeria. Britain never meant to leave Nigeria, the reason she never organized referendum for the nation. We are wont to think that the amalgamation was a ploy by the colonial master to enable the North have untrammelled access into the South for onward invasion and Islamisation. The 1914 amalgamation was uncalled for. It was the instrument that furthered British indirect rule through the backdoor. The travails of Biafrans is the aftermath of this forced marriage, and it is our humble submission that Nigeria was created to cage the heterogeneous people of Biafra.
THE BIAFRA EXPERIENCE SINCE 1945
The industrious nature of the Igbo-speaking Biafrans has made them the occupants of every environment that supports life, the reason it is oft-said that the Igbo people are found anywhere plant grows. This migration of the Igbo, occasioned by their quest to do business every and anywhere, took them to the northern part of Nigeria. As good as their mobile nature is it is responsible for their travails in lands native to the Hausa/Fulani, where they become the target of the Jihadists. In 1945, the Igbo and their counterparts from the South-South (today wrongly called Niger Delta) were raped and slaughtered in thousands by the Hausa/Fulani in Jos. It was a very avoidable, bloody pogrom. Numerous lives were lost, and the occult reason was religious difference. The details of that horrendous experience is Gothic.
The 1945 pogrom had come and gone, but Biafrans continued to do exploit in business in faraway lands, local and international. The 1966 pogrom was a fallout of the military coups that took with it the lives of Murtala Mohammed, a Fulani and Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo. What started as a military tussle for illegitimate leadership by fiat snowballed into an opportunity for the feisty and bloodsucking sons and daughters of Uthman Dan Fodio, the Fulani that had conquered Hausa in the North, to maim, ravage, and kill men and women from the southern part of Nigeria. The 1966 pogrom was an attempt at decimating the number of southerners in the guise of military coup, for most of the victims were civilians from the old Eastern Region (Biafrans) that resided in Kano. This attack was so vicious that some of our people, those that had managed to survive the onslaught, managed to find their way to the Emirate, where they were deliberately starved and indirectly killed. The story has it that most of our people were chased to the Railway Station in Kano, some were raped while others were butchered and dismembered by the Jihadists. We are tired of dying in the name of unity of Nigeria. The blood and resources of Biafrans in the South-East and South-South sustain the ersatz unity of an obviously divided Nigeria.
Continuing, the 1966 pogrom ignited the agitation for Biafra, with Odumegwu Ojukwu, an easterner in the Army, as its arrowhead. The Civil War itself was the aftermath of failed agreement between Nigeria and the separatists, an agreement for restructuring that held in Aburi, Ghana. Upon arriving Nigeria, the Fulani opted out of that agreement because they saw in it an attempt to free those they refer to as minority (Biafrans) from their predatorial activities. Yes, the resources in Biafra were too useful to the North that setting the occupants of that region free was tantamount to impoverishing the North. Let it be made clear that prior to Lugard’s amalgamation of the distinct Protectorates, the Northern Protectorate had operated a budget deficit account from 1900 to 1913, a sign that the region was tottering on the brink of extinction. Does anyone entertain a scintilla of doubt that the amalgamation was done to make it possible for the North to survive on the basis of predatorship? Evidence are available to prove this assertion.
The North is home to natural endowments such as gold and several minerals, but they have chosen to remain parasitic to the South, where oil exists. This predatorship is responsible for several other conflicts that have led to avoidable loss of lives in our region. They have used the Land Use Act to deprive the coastal Biafra regions of the treasures of their water bodies, as proceeds from the continental shelf have become the property of the Fulani-controlled central government. Their preponderance in government has made it possible for them to twist laws to suit them to the detriment of others regions. They celebrate several Islamic holidays, leaving Christians in Biafraland with just two: Lent and Christmas. The Armed Forces Ruling Council document, a product of de facto (illegitimate) government contains Islam, making it seem as if the country is an Islamic one. The exclusion of over 70 million Christians from that military document called Constitution shows that the country is not united, and that is why Christians (Biafrans) are always killed with gay abandon.
Having lost the war to Nigeria due to British, French, and Cameroonian interference, Biafrans became the object of scorn. All the millions of Pounds owned by Biafrans in banks were shrunken to paltry £20, a lucid attempt to impoverish them. Further damage was done to Biafrans by the Fulani when seeds of discord were sown to break the solidarity the Old Eastern Region enjoyed. Lies were injected to cause acrimony and rancour, as the coastal people (today South-South) were made to believe that their Igbo-speaking counterpart would dominate them, if they continued to work together. Properties belonging to the Igbo that were situated in the coastal part were declared abandoned by Nigeria’s military and given to indigenes in the coastal part, a further attempt to break the unity of Biafrans. These were some of the extensions of the war that had ended, a lucid case of conflagrating hatred for the Igbo people. The Nigerian Civil War did not end because everything that subjugates the Igbo and their South-South counterpart, making them second class citizens in Nigeria, continued unabated.
The issues that led to the war still stare us in the face as I write. There was another attempt to reborn the agitation for Biafra some years ago, but the leader was susceptible to the dirty game of the Fulani, hence its abrupt demise. The reinvigorated struggle for self-determinism under the auspices of the Director of Radio Biafra, London and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, rekindled the fire in hitherto comatose Biafrans that had become fatalists in an oppressive Nigeria. Prior to Kanu’s arrival, Biafrans had lived as conquered slaves: speaking only when permitted by the Fulani, killed at the whims and caprices of the oppressor, and politically and economically discriminated against. Kanu, a young prince from Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia, Abia State, brought the elusive antidote for the criminal silence that had characterised the South-East and South-South in the face of glaring oppression and alienation. He stoke the fire with his bold presentations at the studio in London, but when he noticed that a true liberator of his people must pass through the furnace of oppression, he came to Nigeria and submitted himself to the oppressors.
Nnamdi Kanu was unlawfully imprisoned for two years without fair trial for the trumped-up charges against him. He spoke the truth about the socio-economic crime in Nigeria and sparked off the ire of the Fulani. Kanu was marked for death for daring to do a postmortem on the institutionalized social, religious, political, and economic corruption that defined Nigeria. Kanu’s arrest in 2015 sparked off unarmed agitations by Biafrans for freedom, for which the Fulani-controlled Nigerian security operatives chased and killed them. The violent attack on and subsequent killing of unarmed Biafra agitators for no other reason other than their clamour for freedom became a recurrent ugly incident in Nigeria. Whenever AREWA youths agitate, they were protected by the Armed Forces in Nigeria because they are Fulani. Muslims are free to maim and kill, but unarmed protest for freedom by non-Muslims (IPOB) continue to elicit clampdown unknown. Women, children, and youths lawfully agitating for freedom have been gunned down by the Police and Army in Nigeria. Whatever that is against the domination of Nigeria by the Fulani remains proscribed and treasonable. Several attempts were made on the life of Kanu’s while he was in detention. He had to die for speaking the truth and questioning the domineering activities of the Fulani in Nigeria.
Kanu’s unforgivable crime against the Fulani-controlled Nigeria was his attempt to liberate Biafrans from the clutches, talons, and firm grips of the oppressor. Biafrans had become slaves to be slaughtered at will; game specimens to be invaded as targets of Jihad. Why would small Kanu be the one to upset the apple cat? Exasperated by their inability to silent the imprisoned Kanu, war was declared on the peaceful agitators that continued to mount pressure on Nigeria to release their hero. Thousands of these unarmed IPOB agitators were killed in the most brutal form by the combined team of the Army and Police in the South-East. A very gory video about one of the killings has gone viral since 2016. The video shows how Fulani soldiers under the command of President Buhari invaded a peaceful assembly of IPOB in Nkpor axis, shot at men, women, and children and took their corpses away. The most horrible part of the video shows some unarmed agitators that were beaten severely and tied crocodile style. These helpless youths were pushed close to mouths of dug pits, their throats were slit, eyeballs plucked out, scrotal sacs severed with knives, and cut in a zig zag manner. I could not eat anything for a whole day after seeing this video. Men of the Nigerian Army did that to unarmed agitators for freedom. It dawned on me that we have been living with beasts in Nigeria. Several bodies of unarmed agitators were found in the river in Anambra State in 2016. The Governors of the South-East work with the Fulani-controlled Federal Government of Nigeria to kill unarmed agitators with impunity. This is what has become a norm in this demonic contraption called Nigeria. Another prayer meeting in a school in Aba, Abia State was destabilized by a combined team of Police and Army. People who had gone to pray for their nation were attacked and killed. Many lives were lost in that attack. Those killed were acid-bathed and dumped in burrows. Biafrans are always being killed by Nigerians. One sees no reason why they should not be freed.
Fulani herdsmen and the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist groups continue to unleash terror on Nigeria with minimal response from the government. But why would they respond to the fierce and destructive activities of Boko Haram and herdsmen when the assailants are Fulani? Nigeria practises both social and religious jihad. The former enables Fulani herdsmen invade the lands and properties of non-Fulani without let or hindrance while the latter (religious jihad) makes it possible for the Fulani to exterminate Christians, such as the cases of the killed pastors in the North. There is a gully of religious, cultural, and values disparity between the North and South – the reason Britain should have considered referendum, if she truly wanted Nigeria to be independent. Wherever you find discordant religions and cultures there is bound to be intractable chaos and rancour. The intolerance shown by the North to the complaints of the inhabitants of the South, especially Biafrans, proves that the only reason they want us to be united is because of our resources. They hate Biafrans, and this can be gleaned from the very brutal ways we are killed.
I wish to bring to the fore a very painful incident that took place in Port Harcourt, January, 2017. His Excellency, Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States, had just emerged victorious at the polls. Biafrans all over the world had worked night and day, prayerfully and otherwise, to see to it that Obama’s dynasty ended. We, Biafrans, knowing the soft spot Hillary Clinton, Obama’s stooge, had for Islam, worked hard to ensure that she was stopped. Furthermore, we gathered that the killer of innocents, President Buhari, had moved the whopping sum of $500m to support Clinton. Well, we were so happy that our own candidate won. In commemoration of Trump’s victory, Biafrans in Nigeria staged a very peaceful rally in Port Harcourt. The rally had the flag of the US and photos of the POTUS. To our chagrin, Nigerian Police and Army attacked these unarmed Biafrans, shot at them and killed over 15 of them in broad-day light. Innocent people that were celebrating Trump’s victory were treated like criminals. Several of them that were not killed were tied and carted away by men of Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS). I watched in tears as these young men and women were thrown, like pieces of shit, into security vans for no other reason other than celebrating Trump’s victory. I watched in awe as these security operatives burn the United States flag and photos of President Trump. This is what Nigeria has become under Buhari. Nigeria has become the most dangerous place for Christians to live. There are proposed bills at the floor of the docile legislature that seek to gag Christians in Nigeria. An attempt was made by Buhari’s Government to tactically relegate Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) to the background in school curricula.
Lastly, there was a recent move by the Fulani soldiers into the East, with the sole aim of killing Prince Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB. He was granted bail and billed to reappear in Court in October. The invasion of his father’s palace in Abia State by men of the Nigerian Army has led to more death. These bloodsuckers invaded Kanu’s home in the guise of a military training code-named “Python Dance II”. We all knew that the East was the most peaceful part of Nigeria, hence the need to take the reason proffered for the invasion with a pinch of salt. Barely a day after the commencement of the so-called training, the residence of the IPOB leader came under attack. The resilience shown by the unarmed youths manning his gate warded off the assailants. Another attempt was made to gain entrance into the palace, but this was rebuffed by unarmed agitators at his gate. Kanu survived another assassination attempt on his life and was stopped from attending a meeting in Port Harcourt. It became crystal clear that the python had come to Kanu’s community to dance and stop him from moving: the dance had come to besiege him until the command comes for him to be killed.
The D-day came for the python to dance where it intended to, and that was the day Kanu’s residence came under attack by men of the Nigerian Army. Yes, that was what the dance was about. These armed men of the Nigerian Army moved their tanks and entire military artillery to Kanu’s residence and shot at the unarmed boys and girls that manned his gate, injured some, killed many and finally broke into his apartment. This attack lasted for more than an hour, as the unarmed agitators became human shields, preferring to die rather than allow these beasts in uniform lay their hands on their enlightened leader and saviour, Nnamdi Kanu. Scores of unarmed Biafrans were killed. While the heavy shooting at unarmed innocents took place at the gate, Nnamdi Kanu remained inside waiting for these beasts to come and kill him. His crime was speaking the truth, and for doing the right thing people were being killed without a fight. Where in the world do the military shoot at unarmed people? Those who covered this dangerous invasion escaped with bullet wounds. We are thankful to them for the videos that have gone viral. The whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu is still unknown. Was he killed? Was he abducted? Was this very intelligent liberator of the oppressed slaughtered and butchered the same way the Fulani handles our people? Where is Nnamdi Kanu? When will justice come? Should we continue to die for demanding for freedom? Is unity by force or choice? Should we continue to pretend that everything is hunky-dory with Nigeria? We have been killed for many years. We need some reprieve. We need to be freed from this protracted bondage. We cannot continue to live with those that derive schadenfreude in killing us. No way! It is time for Biafrans to live like humans, not preys. It is also noteworthy that before the invasion of Kanu’s place of abode, the uniformed beasts had intercepted unarmed IPOB at Isi Alangwa and subjected them to the most inhuman treatment. They were flogged and made to drink dirty water. Others were killed in the bush and their remains given to scavengers. Pictures and videos abound to substantiate these real accounts.
Unity is a product of choice, not force. No forced marriage lasts. The Biafra challenge deserves immediate attention. The Kurds and Catalonians are not as depressed and oppressed as Biafrans. We are being killed with impunity. We have become game for jihadist activities of the Fulani. There is a serious clandestine plan to exterminate us in millions, and this calls for urgent international intervention. We are not armed and are not ready to fight. All we are asking for is referendum for our people. Is that too much to ask? We get killed for worshiping God Almighty. We get killed for celebrating the victory of the President of America. Shall we continue to live vegetatively? We deserve respite from this prolonged oppression.
Russell Idatoru Bluejack is a thinker, revolutionary writer, university tutor, and socio-economic and political analyst that writes from the creeks in the coastal part of Biafraland.