Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Biafra Revisited

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, Biafra Revisited (Dakar & Reading: African Renaissance, 2006), ISBN 9780955205002,paperback,188pp.,  £19.50/US$33.95/CDN$34.69/EUR28,19/¥ 2,950


Forty years after the onset of the 1966-1970 Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe returns to the subject on which he published two seminal books in 1990. In Biafra Revisited, Ekwe-Ekwe demonstrates that the Biafra War (1967-1970) is the second phase of the Igbo genocide after the initial massacre of 100,000 Igbo people across the principal towns and cities and villages across north Nigeria and elsewhere in the country between May and September 1966. The slaughter was organised and carefully coordinated by the Nigeria state and its leading institutions – the military, police, religious, academic, media, business. In Biafra, 3 million Igbo or a quarter of this nation’s population were annihilated within 30 months. This is a holocaust of unprecedented proportions in recent African history. The study shows that the British government of the day fully supported this devastating stretch of genocide militarily, politically and diplomatically. On this, Ekwe-Ekwe insists: “It is evident that this genocide, the worst in 20th century Africa, would probably not have occurred without the active support that the perpetrators received directly from the British government … As a result, Britain, crucially, has played a key role in the emergence of the ongoing age of pestilence ravaging Africa” (emphasis in the original). The author contends that Nigeria is a failed state that does not serve the interests of the constituent peoples, a failure which, pointedly, occurred in 1945 under the “very watch of the British occupation regime” when the Igbo immigrant population in Jos (north Nigeria) were subjected to a harrowing pogrom organised by Hausa-Fulani (north) regional leaders, the much coveted British political allies opposed to the restoration of African independence. The British did not prosecute any of those responsible for the Jos massacre. This pogrom and another carried out once again against the Igbo, this time in Kano (north Nigeria) in 1953, became “dress rehearsals” for the 1966-1970 genocide.

Nigeria has now run the course of its bloody trail in this history. The greatest challenge currently facing the Igbo and other oppressed nations in Nigeria, Ekwe-Ekwe concludes this major study, is to negotiate the formal and orderly dissolution of this state and embark on the creation of democratic and extensively decentralised new states that guarantee and safeguard lives, human rights, equality and freedom for all peoples and individuals.

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  1. This is a wonderful book.I surely get a copy soon.God bless you Prof.Its is certain that without the tacit support of Britain militarily the genocide could have been impossible.But God is alife anyhow.

    1. Many thanks, sewtyy. With best wishes

  2. Hi, I am from Kenya and I have been reading about the fate of the Igbos when I bumped on your blog.It is clear the Igbos have had the most painful of fates and I cried when I read the history. People have suffered in Africa but none has suffered like Nigeria's Igbo people. I hope God and level headedness will deliver your hardworking, energetic, entrepreneurial, practical and peaceful people to a land of fairness and peace where you can chart your own future.

    1. Many thanks, DomainsAfrica. With best wishes

  3. All your efforts to expose all the series of genocides going on against Igbo people in Nigeria do not go unnoticed. Soon all the Biafrans would look back and say, " Thank you Ekwe Ekwe for your relentless quest for the bitter truth! "

  4. Very kind words, Ben. Many thanks. Very best!