Muhammad Al-Ghazali


Re: Biafra: Is It Time To Let Go?


The piece I wrote penultimate week on the raging agitation by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous Peoples Republic of Biafra (IPOB) to secede from the rest of Nigeria they call a zoo, generated a lot frenzy, and emotion, among a broad spectrum of readers from diverse backgrounds. This was expected. Beginning from today, except for minor editing to capture the bare essence of the arguments, as well as for lack of space; I will attempt to give vent to some of those reactions. At the concluding end, of course, is my short postscript. Enjoy!


Your piece titled as above reflects the typical inability of the average Nigerian to see issues clearly, except, of course, where it touches on his or her own ethnic group or religion. The major point you seem to have missed, which is the major short coming of all Nigerians who belong to your school of thought, is that there is nothing that bondage or slavery can possibly offer that will ever equal the sweet taste of freedom. To quote The Emir of Kano, in his recent presentation on the Biafra issue, your kind are “not students of history”, or you would know that this is the reason millions of men and women have, in the generations past, willingly given their lives for freedom. No wonder you cannot see that the Ethiopians and South Sudanese you mentioned prefer their penury to Arab slavery. Surely human dignity demands that!


You are clearly the image of the non-Igbo intellectual class who have woefully failed this nation. When your great knowledge should have compelled you to be at the vanguard of the struggle for freedom and equality for every Nigerian, irrespective of their ethnic or religious origin, you put on your ethnic regalia and, by omission or commission, aided the political class and the military class to perpetuate untold atrocities against the Igbo from 1970 till date, which has seen to it that the Igbo youth are once again crying Biafra! This cry was raised in 1966 only because of the hate driven Hausa/Fulani led attempt to annihilate the Igbo for no justifiable reason.


If people like you had risen up and challenged your fellow Hausa/Fulani Muslim brothers each time they “massacred” the Igbo in northern Nigeria and destroyed their properties, there most likely will not be any body agitating for Biafra today. Where were you from 1970 till date as one government after another rode rough shod over the Igbo? Or did you people not realize what was happening? Could it be that the silence from your kind was because you had deluded yourselves to the point where you believed that the Igbo have become a “none-issue” forever?


In 1969, General Yakubu Gowon declared that “Just as the Germans today do not like to be called Nazis, soon no one here will like to be called a Biafran”. On the 15th of January 1970, he declared that “The so called ‘rising sun of Biafra’ has set forever”. Quite clearly he and his fellows were either too naïve or too young to have realized that those words implied a lot of responsibilities aimed at re-integrating and assuaging the hurt the Igbo felt about the unrationalizable (sic) atrocities committed against them by fellow non-Igbo Nigerians.


The Nigerian army recently threatened to deal decisively with the pro-Biafra agitators. As they go about preparing to do this, they should ask themselves how many more Igbos they are willing to kill to keep Nigeria one. Are the over 50,000 killed by the Hausa/Fulani before the War plus the more than 3 million destroyed by the army in the cause of that war not enough? Will the death of another 3 million suffice? If this army and the other security agencies had performed their constitutional responsibility of protecting the Igbo and their properties from the murderers roaming the streets of Hausa/Fulani cities like Gowon had promised the world that they would before the end of the Civil War, there most likely would not be any Igbo people today dying for Biafra. The army should realize that if they kill every Igbo person above 2 years globally, our children of 2 years and below, including the unborn ones will still grow up to cry Biafra.


To suggest that the agitators are the uneducated of Igbo land is the height of intellectual rascality, just as it is foolhardiness to believe that these agitations are about getting a greater cut of the “national cake by way of political appointments”. The fact that you do not realize that the impunity with which the Hausa/Fulani and their collaborators, with the active connivance of the Yoruba race, have gone about terrorizing fellow Nigerian citizens, particularly the Igbo, is enough justification for the call for the disintegration of the country is a problem in itself.


If after all this, the Igbo still insist on Biafra, then it is indeed time to let the Igbo go; with strong guarantees that their properties and investments in other parts of Nigeria will not become “abandoned properties”; because Nigerians own properties in other countries. If this later part is not done, the ensuing animosity and hatred will last for generations. If the leadership of this country are unwilling and cannot do this, then the Nigerian army should prepare to kill many more millions of Igbos.


Those Hausa/Fulani, who have made killing Igbos in northern Nigeria their contribution to national development, should sharpen and oil their daggers, because sooner or later they will be presented with the opportunity to use them again. If this “ready-made market like Nigeria” must be mixed with oppression, intimidation and death for the Igbo, then even I will choose Biafra or death.


Reginald Ekeanyanwu (jrowim”



The first major flaw in Reginald’s reaction, is the habitual error of his ilk in always imagining – and indeed believing, only when they want to score cheap political points,  that every ethnic group, north of the Niger, belongs to the “Hausa-Fulani” stock he frequently referred to with so much venom. If we read between the lines, the illusionary “Middle-belt” to which I am supposed to belong, escaped mention even though its sons and daughters formed a large part of the fighting force that prosecuted the Civil War.

The second flaw, concerns, of course, his tragic recollection of our most recent history, including that of the Civil War. As condemnable as it was, the pogrom in the north did not occur in a vacuum! It was a response to definite and deliberate acts of provocation, which historical accounts reveal was celebrated with glee in certain quarters! But this is hardly the time to reopen old wounds. For this debate to be meaningful, it must be supported with solid facts and not deliberate distortion of our history.

If the rest of Nigeria must now apologize to the Southeast for all the lives it lost before and during the Civil War, who would apologize to the families of Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Chiefs Ladoke Akintola and Festus Okoti-Eboh, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Army who lie in un-marked graves in the South East and the Niger Delta who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep the nation one?   

If Reginald had not allowed himself to be overcome by the same prejudice he serially accused serially me of; he would have realized that there was nowhere I mentioned that the on-going agitations for Biafra was the handiwork of miscreants alone. I invite him to read the piece once again. I must also restate my firm conviction that the agitation for Biafra will not be in the collective interests of the Igbo people particularly when the illusionary utopia involves the co-option of numerous ethnic groups in the Niger against their will!

Similarly, all ethnic groups in Nigeria can lay claim to different forms of injustice visited against them by the Nigerian state. The best way to address same is through active engagement at the center on the basis of mutual respect and trust. Nothing can be achieved by force, as even the Boko Haram sect will soon discover, no doubt!