Since the publication of a review of Chinua Achebe’s latest book, ‘There Was A Country’ in The Telegraph of UK, a lot of controversies have been generated, This is because Achebe was brave enough to accuse Late Pa Awolowo of been behind the genocide against Biafrans during the war. Here, Jungle Journalist brings you quotes from world and Nigerian leaders during the said war and genocidal law against Eastern Nigeria:
”All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder.”
Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Nigerian Minister of Finance, July 28th 1969) ” “Until now efforts to relieve the Biafran people have been thwarted by the desire of the central government of Nigeria to pursue total and unconditional victory and by the fear of the Ibo people that surrender means wholesale atrocities and genocide. But genocide is what is taking place right now – and starvation is the grim reaper. This is not the time to stand on ceremony, or to go through channels or to observe the diplomatic niceties, The destruction of an entire people is an immoral objective even in the most moral of wars. It can never be justified; it can never be condoned.”
Mr. Richard Nixon, September 9, 1968- During the Presidential Campaign.
“Federal troops, killed, or stood by while mobs killed, more than 5000 Ibos in Warri, Sapele, Agbor, “New York Times, 10th January, 1968.
“It’s (mass starvation) is a legitimate aspect of war, ” Anthony Enahoro, Nigerian Commissioner for Information at a press conference in (New York, July 1968)
“Starvation is a legitimate weapon of war, and we have every intention of using it against the rebels, “Mr Alison Ayida, Head of Nigerian Delegation, Niamey Peace Talks, Republic of Niger, July 1968) “
The Igbos must be considerably reduced in number” (Lagos Policeman quoted in New York Review, 21 December, 1967)
”One word now describes the policy of the Nigerian military government towards secessionist Biafra: genocide. It is ugly and extreme but it is the only word which fits Nigeria’s decision to stop the International Committee of the red Cross, and other relief agencies, from flying food to Biafra” Washington Post (editorial) July 2, 1969).
”In some areas outside the East, Igbos were killed by local people with at least the acquiescence of the federal forces, 1000 Igbo civilians perished in Benin in this way”
(Max Edward- Reporter on the ground-New York Review, 21 December 1967).
”After federal forces take over of Benin, troops killed about 500 Igbo civilians after a house-to-house search with the aid of willing locals” (Washington Morning Post, 27 September, 1967).
“The greatest single massacre occurred in the Igbo town of Asaba where 700 Igbo male were lined up and shot as terrified women/children were forced to watch”
(London Observer, 21 January, 1968)
“Federal troops, killed, or stood by while mobs killed, more than 5000 Ibos in Wari, Sapele, Agbor” (New York Times, 10th January, 1968).
“There has been genocide on the occasion of the 1966 massacres, the region between the towns of Benin and Asaba where only widows and orphans remain, federal troops having, for unknown reasons, massacred all the men”
(Paris Le Monde, 5th April, 1968).
“In Calabar, federal forces shot at least 1000 and perhaps 2000 Igbos, most of them civilians” (New York Times, 18th January, 1968).
“Bestialities and indignities of all kinds were visited on Biafrans in 1966. In Ikeja Barracks (Western Nigeria) Biafrans were forcibly fed on a mixture of human urine and faeces. In Northern Nigeria numerous Biafran house-wives and nursing mothers were violated before their husbands and children. Young girls were abducted from their homes, working places and schools and forced into intimate intercourse with sick, demented and leprous men” (Mr. Eric Spiff (German War correspondence Eyewitness, 1967).
“There has been genocide, for example on the occasion of the 1966 massacres , Two areas have suffered badly [from the fighting]. Firstly the region between the towns of Benin and Asaba where only widows and orphans remain, Federal troops having for unknown reasons massacred all the men. According to eyewitnesses of that massacre the Nigerian commander ordered the execution of every Ibo male over the age of ten years” (Monsignor Georges, sent down on a fact-finding mission by His holiness the Pope reporting his finding in Vatican Rome, Le Monde, French Evening newspaper, April 5, 1968).
”650 refugee camps, contained about 700,000 haggard bundles of human flotsam waiting hopelessly for a meal, outside the camps, was the reminder of an estimated four and a half to five million displaced persons, the Kwashiokor scourge, a million and half children, suffer(ed) from it during January; that put the forecast death toll at another 300,000 children, More than the pogroms of 1966, more than the war casualties, more than the terror bombings, it was the experience of watching helplessly their children waste away and die that gave birth to, a deep and unrelenting loathing, It is a feeling that will one day reap a bitter harvest unless, ” (Frederick Forsyth, British writer January 21st 1969) “,
I saw several hundred of Zombie-like creatures -men, women and children, lying, sitting or squatting in the midst of others who were dead. The living ones were completely reduced to skeletons and could not talk. I was seeing for the first time, kwashiorkor, Frankly, I took fright, I believe that any foreign troops from anywhere in the world occupying Ikot Ekpene or any other town in Biafra would have shown much more sympathy, “(Gen. Alex Madiebo, Ikot Ekpene, July 1968)
“One word now describes the policy of the Nigerian military government towards Biafra:- genocide. It is ugly and extreme but it is the only word which fits Nigeria’s decision to stop the International Committee of the red Cross, and other relief agencies, from flying food to Biafra , ” The Nazis had ressurrected just here as Nigerian forces, Washington Post (editorial) July 2, 1969
“The loss of life from starvation continues at more than 10,000 persons per day – over 1,000,000 lives in recent months. Without emergency measures now, the number will climb to 25,000 per day within a month – and some 2,000,000 deaths by the end of the year. The new year will only bring greater disaster to a people caught in the passion of fratricidal war, we can’t allow this to continue or those responsible to go free” Senator Kennedy appeals to Americans – Sunday, November 17, 1968 “,
I want to see no Red Cross, no Caritas, no World Council of Churches, no Pope, no missionary and no UN delegation. I want to prevent even one Ibo from having even one piece to eat before their capitulation. We shoot at everything that moves and when our troops march into the centre of Ibo territory, we shoot at everything even at things that do not move,” (Benjamin Adekunle, Commander, 3rd Marine Commando Division, Nigerian Army to French radio reporter).
The war aim and (final) solution properly speaking of the entire problem, is to discriminate against the Igbos and in their own interest. Such discrimination would include above all the detachment of those oil-rich territories in the Eastern Region, in addition, the Igbos’ freedom of movement would be restricted, to prevent their renewed penetration into other parts, leaving any access to the sea to the Igbos, is quite out of the question, “(Federal Nigerian Minister speaking to E. C. Schwarzenback, Swiss Review of Africa, February 1968).
“Let us go and crush them. We will pillage their property, violation their womenfolk, kill off their menfolk and leave them uselessly weeping. We will complete the pogrom of 1966” (The theme song of Radio Kaduna, government-controlled, 1967-1970).
“Unfortunately this [Gowon’s] enlightenment at the top level does not penetrate very deep: a Lagos police officer was quoted last month as saying that the Igbos must be considerably reduced in number” Dr Conor cruise O’Bien , 21 December 1967 New York Review.
“Myself and The same UNICEF representatives went on to convey something of what lay behind this intransigence: “Among the large majority hailing from that tribe who are most vocal in inciting the complete extermination of the Igbos, I often heard remarks that all Nigeria’s ills will be cured once the Igbos has been extaminated from the human map , ” Dr Conor Cruise O’Bien (21 December, 1967, New York Review).
Courtesy, Chubuzo Ihuoma, Morgan State University, Washington, District of Colombia