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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

BIAFRA: OUR HEROES AND HEROINES WE CELEBRATE, AND WHY WE CELEBRATE THEM (Part 1)

OUR HEROES AND HEROINES WE CELEBRATE, AND WHY WE CELEBRATE THEM (Part 1)


The "riots" or the war, led by Biafran women in the provinces of Calabar and Owerri in Biafraland in November and December of 1929, which was termed "Aba Women riot of 1929," but in a real sense I choose to call it “Biafra women genocide 1929” or “Aba Women Resistance of 1929”. Thousands of Biafra women organized a massive insurrection against the policies imposed by British colonial administrators in Biafraland, touching off the most serious challenge to British rule in the history of humanity.  The riot broke out when thousands of Igbo women from Bende District, Umuahia and other places in eastern Nigeria traveled to the town of Olokoro to protest against the Warrant Chiefs, whom they accused of restricting the role of women in the government. Colonial Police and troops were called in. They fired into the crowds that had gathered at Calabar and Owerri, killing more than 50 women and wounding over 50 others. During the two month “war” at least 25,000 Igbo women were involved in protests against British officials. These are the people we celebrate, I say may their souls rest in the bosom of the Lord, they will never be hated by evil British again.
Biafran Soldier assisting wounded civilian Biafran

Another episode in which the massacre of Igbo indigenous people took place in Nigeria was in Jos on 22nd June 1945. Hundreds of Igbos were slayed by the Hausa-Fulani during the devastation and tens of thousands of pounds sterling worth of their belongings either ransacked or devastated. No single person was detained or charged by the British regime nor an investigation set to determine the "official" cause of this grisly act. The second mass killing of Igbos and other Biafrans happened in Kano in 1953. In both cases, thousands of Biafran people with their families were ferociously murdered and their property plundered. We celebrate the men; women and the children of these victims.

Between May and October 1966, more than 30,000 Igbos and other Biafrans were killed in Northern Nigeria, and between October 1966 and June 1967 more than 100,000 more were massacred. In some instances pregnant women were killed, unborn babies pulled out of their wombs and murdered as well. Many of the victims were beheaded.
Asaba massacre will never be forgoten on october 5, 1967, during the bloody Nigerian/Biafran civil war, federal troops occupied the peaceful town of Asaba, on the west bank of the Niger River. They accused the people of supporting the retreating Biafran army and for two days rampaged the town killing hundreds of innocent, unarmed citizens. They are the people we celebrate; they deserve our respect and homage.

Then from July 6, 1967–January 15, 1970 more than 3.5 million Biafrans were killed in Nigeria-Biafra war and many civilians died mainly from starvation as a result of the federal blockade.

Hundreds of Biafrans were killed again between 1993 – 1998 in Northern Nigeria because of Moshood Abiola, the winner of June 12 elections. In the same vein, Biafrans were also massacred when Abacha and Abiola died between 8 June and July 7, 1998 respectively.
On 20 November 1999 Nigerian military attacked the village of Odi, Bayelsa State as part of the conflict resolution in the Niger Delta. Over 2,500 men, women and children were killed under the supervision of Nigeria government led by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Religious riots between Christians and Muslims over the introduction of sharia law in Kaduna State in the year 2000, which was called Kaduna 2000, over 5,000 Biafrans were killed by murderous Fulanis, we celebrate you people, I say may your souls rest in peace.

The cause article in Thisday News about the 2002 Miss World beauty contest (to be held in Abuja), in which Muslims took offence. Over 200 Biafra men, women and children were mulled and hacked down by Hausa/Fualni in the Northern Nigeria.

Rev. Fr. Akam said "To the dead, those who received on our behalf the death brought to our doorsteps, I say rest in Peace. You will not experience injustice and hatred again, you will not be discriminated again because of your tribe nor will you die anymore. You are now with the righteous King."

To the bereaved (my Fellow Biafrans), I say, be consoled. Your loved ones didn’t die stealing or raping; neither did they die kidnapping. Theirs came as a belief that there is a limit to oppression, that there comes a time in life when death is nobler than slavery. They believed that freedom is never given but earned. Like historic freedom fighters, they died on the road because their types never get to the Promised Land; they only steal it's view from a distance. Look at the biblical Moses; look at Martin Luther King Jr. in America; they could only point at the Promised Land from a mountain distance".

Written by Obulose Chidiebere N.

Edited by Peter Nonso Ikeh
For Family Writers Press

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