Thursday, 4 February 2016

Weapons of genocide – British arms to Nigeria to wage genocide against Igbo people: An overview

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

The world turns and the world changes,
But one thing does not change.
In all my years, one thing does not change,
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle between Good and Evil.
(TS Eliot, “Choruses from the Rock”, 1934)


Britain, under the primeministership of Harold Wilson, plays an instrumental role in the perpetration of the Igbo genocide – politically, diplomatically and militarily.

Without this entrenched British role, there probably would not have been the Igbo genocide… In this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, Nigeria and its British principal ally murder 3.1 million Igbo or one-quarter of this nation’s population during the course of 44 months…
(Harold Wilson... : “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took” Nigeria to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide)
1. Early December 1967: Britain supplies  six Saladin armoured personnel carriers (APCs)30 Saracen APCs along with 2,000 machine guns for them, anti-tank guns and 9 million rounds of ammunition to Nigeria genocidist military…*****

2. By the end of December 1967:  Britain approves export of 1,050 bayonets, 700 grenades, 1,950 rifles with grenade launchers, 15,000 lbs of explosives and two helicopters to Nigeria genocidist military…

3. In the first half of 1968: Britain approves export of 15 million rounds of ammunition, 21,000 mortar bombs, 42,500 Howitzer rounds, 12 Oerlikon guns, 3 Bofors guns, 500 submachine guns, 12 Saladins with guns and spare parts, 30 Saracens and spare parts, 800 bayonets, 4,000 rifles and two other helicopters to Nigeria genocidist military…

4. November 1968: Britain agrees that 5 million more rounds of ammunition, 40,000 more mortar bombs and 2,000 rifles, six Saladins and 20,000 rounds of ammunition for them, and stepped up monthly supplies of ammunition, amounting to a total of 15 million rounds additional to those already agreed, should be sent to Nigeria genocidist military…

5. 1968: The recent deal meant that Britain had supplied 36 million rounds of ammunition in the last few months alone

6. By the end of 1968:  Britain had sold £9 million worth of arms, £6 million of which was spent on small arms, to genocidist Nigeria military …

7. March 1969: Britain approves export of 19 million rounds of ammunition, 10,000 grenades and 39,000 mortar bombs to Nigeria genocidist military…

8. August 1969: Britain dispatches two senior RAF officers to Nigeria to advise the genocidists on their air terror campaign…

9. December 1969: Even as the Nigeria genocidist military is about to overrun the Igbo resistance, Michael Stewart, British foreign secretary, is calling for more British military supplies to the campaign, especially armoured cars…

Annhilative register

As the slaughter of the Igbo intensifies, particularly in the catastrophic months of 1968-1969, Harold Wilson is totally unfazed as he informs Clyde Ferguson, the United States state department special coordinator for relief to Biafra, that he, Harold Wilson, “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took” Nigeria to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide (Roger MorrisUncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, 1977: 122).

As the final tally of the murder of the Igbo demonstrates, Harold Wilson probably has the perverted satisfaction of having his “boys”, the Nigerian subalterns, perform far in excess of their “massa’s grim target, a subject coldly stated in Wilson’s own memoirs where he notes that the Nigerian military, equipped zealously by Britain as highlighted above, expends more small arms ammunition in its campaign to achieve its annhilative mission in Biafra than the amount used by the British armed forces  “during the whole” of  the Second World War (Harold Wilson, Labour Government, 1964-1970: A Personal Record, 1971: 630, added emphasis).

And on this very annhilative feature, Colonel Robert Scott, military advisor in the British diplomatic mission in Nigeria, during the period, acknowledges, equally gravely, that as Nigerian genocidist military forces unleash their attacks on Biafran cities, towns and villages, they are the “best defoliant agent known” (Daily Telegraph, London, 11 January 1970). Chillingly dreadful but not surprising.

History: asymmetrical alliance?

In an age so obsessed with crass revisionism such is the dread by quite a few states across the world to face up to the treasure trove of incalculable atrocities they committed in history, including more recent history, that they have dabbled in constructing brazenly false, farcical or sanitised narratives to suit the exigencies of contemporary times especially on their records on human rights and crossnational relations. In the example of Britain and the genocidist state that is Nigeria, which has been the focus of this essay, it should be recalled that 50 years before the current global focus on islamist terrorism, Britain had formed a strategic alliance with the islamist Hausa-Fulani north Nigeria religiopolitical leadership, a vociferously anti-African but obsequiously Arabist national grouping opposed to the restoration of African independence (in Nigeria) from the British conquest and occupation which the Igbo had led for 30 years, beginning in the 1930s. As a result, Britain planned to hand over power to the islamists as condition for “termination” of its Nigeria occupation in return for the latter to preserve its vast economic assets and interests in Nigeria in perpetuity. 

Earlier on, the Hausa-Fulani islamists had carried out two premeditated pogroms against Igbo immigrant populations in Jos (northcentral Nigeria) and Kano (north Nigeria) in 1945 and 1953 respectively, both occurring during the epoch of formal British occupation. No perpetrators of these crimes were ever prosecuted by the British. These pogroms ultimately became the  dress rehearsals  for the Anglo-Nigerian perpetration of the Igbo genocide, beginning on 29 May 1966, in which 3.1 million Igbo were murdered. In 2009, these same islamists would inaugurate the Boko Haram terrorist organisation, a west Africa region affiliate of the Islamic state caliphate and the world’s most ruthless terrorists ( 

Alas, in what would probably appear to some as an asymmetrical alliance in the pressing international politics of  today, Britain is allied to a US-led military coalition fighting against the Islamic state (IS), the parent, overarching Sunni islamist-centred caliphate headquartered in the Middle East, whilst simultaneously allied strategically to the north Nigeria Sunni islamist leadership from where Boko Haram, IS’s west Africa key ally, is drawn. 

Despite Boko Haram’s rampaging murder of thousands of Africans in north/northcentral Nigeria and elsewhere, embarked upon after its 2009 inception, it is instructive to note that it wasn’t until November 2012, three years later, soon after the organisation murdered two Europeans near Sokoto (northwest Nigeria), that Britain designated it a “terrorist group”.

*****Reference to compendium (1-9) of British arms dispatch to genocidist Nigeria: Mark Curtis, “Nigeria’s war over Biafra, 1967-70”,

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of Longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (forthcoming, May 2016)
(Wayne Shorter Septet, “The all seeing eye” [personnel: Shorter, tenor saxophone; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Grachan Moncur III, trombone, James Spaulding, alto saxophone; Herbie Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Joe Chambers, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood CliffNJ,US, 15 October 1965)

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