Joy Chioma Ugwu

My father told me that the war proper broke up in 1967. Please I want us to take note of the word ” PROPER ” this word proper here to me means there was something on ground before the final outburst of the war in the year 1967 exactly 50 years now. There was agitations, protests, a cry of marginalisation, a national compulsory retirement of top Igbo men in the key positions in the military and government, a look alike of OPERATION PYTHON DANCE II armed Nigerian army deployed to watch and maintain order in the Eastern region. So all these and many more was what they saw before the war proper.

CHUKWUEMEKA ODUMEGWU OJUKWU was the then NNAMDI KANU. My father said he was a diehard follower of OJUKWU, OJUKWU was his lord, he doesn’t like reading any newspaper that OJUKWU was not captioned in. My father was then in his mid 20s anyway, and had an Elementry Certificate hence he was able to read and write then.

He said it was first of all a state of emergency in all the Eastern regions but things tensed up more and more and war broke up and all the Eastern region was held captive no one was able to go out or come in into the states, people thought it was a child’s play until one week passed, two, three, six, one year up until three good years before BIAFRAN soldiers SURRENDERED and seek peace and reconciliation.

My father said that within this three years that everything human being use for survival was banned from the Eastern region ranging from Nigerian currency, food, meat, clothes, power supply, petrol, toiletries, weapons. In fact, all the routes to the Igbo states was closed down. And our people were left to die in starvation and hunger and that was why Kwashorkor set in that those war bullets did not reach Kwashorkor killed them.

He said that Nigerian armies were armed to their tooth with the largest world’s supports, that it was only very few countries and charity organisations that supported Biafrans. That many countries that Biafrans “thought” would support them didn’t show up when the agitations escalated into war. Biafrans surrendered because of frustration and exhaustation. My father recounted that there blood of young igbo men everywhere like that of abattoir on the streets. All the structures/ investment in the Eastern region was burnt to ashes. Schools, markets, churches, houses were burnt to dust. Nigerian army slaughtered n ate Biafran people like suya. They killed igbo men who were their prime target until men went into extinction. our women were widowed, mothers and young women were raped and taken away as sex slaves in the barracks.

Mothers ran without remembering they had suckling children, even those who were passionate enough to carry their babies, elders strangled those babies when they begin to cry due to the fear that their cries would implicate them from their hiding places. I don’t know if we truly understand this trauma?

The world estimated that over 2 million igbo people died during the Biafran war but my father would always say each time he hears of this figure “O bu tee onye nann nwuru” translation…it’s even only one person that died. My father will sit down at a go and count up to 300 men from his kindred (umunna) who followed the war. He has their names, the dates they left without returning back. His immediate younger brother (uncle) Mathias left one morning and never came back, his corpse nobody saw. May his soul rest in peace.all these facts will convince all of us that his estimate is far more than what was recorded. Many communities were totally wiped out with no trace of human being again after the war in Abia, Aba, Anambra, imo, Enugu he said had a small advantage because of its proximity to Kogi state, some of their Kogi neighbours and friends absorbed them into their communities n families.

Wives and under aged girl children were given to Nigerian soldiers to appease their anger if they came n no food to give them. Our people lived in the bushes and forests for 3 years, with no clothes on, they ate raw casava like goat, under trees became their palace. All these soldiers we are calling baboons n monkeys did all of these to our parents 50 years ago. 98% of Nigerian soldiers from Eastern region never returned home after the war till today.

Brothers and sisters from the East, with this little and undetailed stories my father told me we would be able to convince ourselves the Igbos would have been the most populated humans in this part of the world and that Biafra war did more harm than good to our people. Our men were assassinated with their dreams and aspiration untapped.

Now we the remnants of Biafran war are trying to forget the past and move on with the scars n pains the war caused our parent…some persons emerged from the street again to chant war songs, each time I log in on Facebook I see dead bodies, blood, bruised people, my people in Aba, Abia swimming in a dirty floods. I hereby, beg my brothers n sister on the streets of Aba, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Enugu to please leave the the roads, enter into your closets face the wall and cry to chukwu Okike Abiama on whatever marginalisation you think we are facing, we are all feeling the pains, the world has seen your tears and pains. It’s enough! Let God n the blood of those who died in the past fight the remaining battles. It doesn’t make sense if tomorrow your dream Biafra comes and you didn’t live to see it.

Another thing I want to bring to our consciousness is that OJUKWU did not die, he was flown to exile, he died 4 years ago and was given a National burial but 2milllion Igbo men died in the war. So also if war erupts now Nnamdi Kanu will not die he would be flown back to London where he is a citizen, the only place he would be seeing you and I die is on Aljazera or BBC. You n I will have no place to hide, we don even have money to do papers, the Little things we had been able to put back in order after the war would be destroyed again, think about our houses, businesses, certificates, our factories in Aba, our stocks in onitsha main market, all will be burnt to ashes and your sisters, mothers anties and I would be taken into captive for sex.

Martin Luther was in his room as a monk when he wrote “I have a dream” he had only his pen and paper. And he was able to liberate Black Americans from generational slavery. Let us shun war, seek dialogue, peace and love. Igbos are known to be wise… the first war didn’t favour us and I doubt if this one smelling will if it eventually breaks up. We can’t afford to make the same mistakes again. Nigeria Army have all the weapons for war, Biafra don’t have.

Let’s think peace, let’s think dialogue, let’s think mediation. Biafra can come without war if we so wish.
I love all of us and I want us to survive.

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