Twenty-six years later, beginning on 31 March 1967, genocidist Nigeria, very similar to Claudia Moscovici’s reviewed Nazi Germany’s strategy in Leningrad, the Soviet Union (http://126.96.36.199/content/siege-leningrad-genocide-starvation, accessed 17 February 2015), embarks on the comprehensive land, naval and aerial blockade of Biafra in phase-II of the Igbo genocide which it enforces through phase III (beginning 6 July 1967) till 12 January 1970 with devastating consequences in Africa’s most densely populated region outside the Nile Delta.
Nigeria employs starvation as one of its critical weapons to prosecute the genocide, this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa formally launched earlier on 29 May 1966 (phase-I). Obafemi Awolowo (lawyer and senior advocate of the Nigerian bar), Nigeria’s chief genocidist “theorist”, deputy head of the prosecuting regime in Lagos and head of the powerful finance ministry publicly states, right from the outset, that starvation of the Igbo is a “legitimate instrument” of the campaign, a policy voiced openly and variously throughout the period by several other senior regime officials including, especially, Anthony Enaharo (head of information ministry), Allison Ayida (regime special advisor), and field commanders Benjamin Adekunle and Olusegun Obasanjo.
Benjamin Adekunle, one of the most notorious of the genocidist commanders in south Biafra, reminds the world of his regime’s starvation strategy in an August 1968 press conference which includes foreign correspondents: “I want to prevent even one I[g]bo having even one piece to eat before their capitulation. We shoot at everything that moves, and when our forces march into the centre of I[g]bo territory, we shoot at everything, even at things that don’t move” (The Economist, London, 24 August 1968).
It is also in pursuit of this starvation strategy that Olusegun Obasanjo, who takes over this sector’s command from Adekunle later in 1968, orders his air force, in May 1969, to shoot down any Red Cross planes flying in urgently-needed relief supplies to the millions of surviving but encircled, blockaded and bombarded Igbo. Within a week of his infamous order, 5 June 1969, Obasanjo recalls, nostalgically, in his memoirs, unambiguously titled My Command (London: Heinemann, 1981), genocidist air force pilot Gbadomosi King “redeem[s] his promise”, as Obasanjo clinically asserts (Obasanjo, 1981: 79) – the “promise”: Gbadomosi King shoots down a clearly marked, incoming relief-bearing International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) DC-7 aircraft near Eket, south(Adekunle: “I want to prevent even one I[g]bo having even one piece to eat ... We shoot at everything that moves in ... I[g]bo territory ... even at things that don’t move”)
(Obusonjo: “The effect of [this] singular achievement of the Air Force [shooting down of Red Cross relief aircraft] especially on 3 Marine Commando Division was profound. It raised morale of all service personnel...”)
Harold Wilson’s “... a half million dead Biafrans ...”
The British government under Prime Minister Harold Wilson is Nigeria’s strategic ally in this campaign – militarily, politically, diplomatically. Britain had since been riled by the Igbo vanguard role, begun in the 1930s, to terminate its conquest and occupation of Nigeria (one of the very prized lands of the British conquest of Africa). By supporting the genocide, Britain seeks to “punish” the Igbo for the latter’s historic role in the liberation of Nigeria. During the course of the 1968/69 gruesomely catastrophic apogee of the campaign when thousands of Igbo are dying daily from starvation, disease and enhanced land and aerial bombardment of survivors in ever-shrinking territory encapsulated by the siege, Harold Wilson is totally unfazed when he informs C. Clyde Ferguson, the US 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 Morris, Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy [London and New York: Quartet Books, 1977]: 122).
For the record, Wilson’s “a half a million dead Biafrans” represents 4.2 per cent of the Igbo population at this time; by the time that this third phase of the genocide comes to an end, 6-9 months after Wilson’s wish-declaration, 25 per cent of this nation’s population or 3.1 million Igbo people are murdered by the genocidists. Undoubtedly, the Nigerian toady “boys” have handsomely obliged their “massa” Harold Wilson’s wish...
(Wilson: “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took...”)
“[L]etting the little buggers starve out”, Defoliant
Finally, a senior British foreign office official, who echoes Harold Wilson’s disposition to the Igbo slaughter, is no less chilling in their own characterisation of
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of Longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (forthcoming, May 2016)
(John Coltrane Quartet, “Wise One” [Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 27 April 1964])