Thursday, 29 September 2016

1st anniversary of landmark letter from eminent historian Hilary Beckles, chair of Caricom Reparations Committee and vice-chancellor (president) of the University of West Indies, to David Cameron, former British prime minister, on the subject of reparations from Britain for centuries of the latter’s enslavement of African peoples in the Caribbean and elsewhere in the Americas (Jamaica Observer, Kingston, Monday 28 September 2015)

(Hilary Beckles)
Dear Honourable Prime Minister
(David Cameron)
I join with the resolute and resilient people of Jamaica and their Government in extending to you a warm and glorious welcome to our homeland. We recognise you, Prime Minister, given your family’s long and significant relationship to our country, as an internal stakeholder with historically assigned credentials.

To us, therefore, you are more than a prime minister. You are a grandson of the Jamaican soil who has been privileged and enriched by your forebears’ sins of the enslavement of our ancestors.
As we prepare for you a red carpet befitting your formal status we invite you to cast your eyes upon the colours of our national flag that symbolise the history we share. You are, Sir, a prized product of this land and the bonanza benefits reaped by your family and inherited by you continue to bind us together like birds of a feather.

Be assured, Prime Minister, that you will find no more generous people on our planet Earth than those who will greet you with golden hearts and civilised consciousness. I urge that you embrace the sincerity of our salutations. It is born and bred in the cauldron of our enslavement by your family and society.

Consider it a golden gift of friendship and not simply the empty expression of protocols relevant to the events you will attend. It is furthermore, an overture to an expectation of a dialogue of reparatory justice that can redefine for us a new intimacy for this long 21st century on which we are embarked.

Your advisors would have informed you that beyond the boundary of the affairs of State, civil society welcomes you without reservation, though with a qualification that bears the burden of our tortured past within the historically textured present. I speak of outstanding and unresolved matters that are relevant to our sense of mutual respect as equal nations dedicated to the cause of furthering humanity's finest imagined destiny.

I speak, Sir, of the legacies of slavery that continue to derail, undermine and haunt our best efforts at sustainable economic development and the psychological and cultural rehabilitation of our people from the ravishes of the crimes against humanity committed by your British State and its citizens in the form of chattel slavery and native genocide.

In this regard, I urge you to be aware that the issue of reparatory justice for these crimes is now before our respective nations, and the wider world. It is not an issue that can be further ignored, remain under the rug, or placed on back burners, as your minister who recently visited us so aptly described your agenda for Jamaica and the Caribbean.

It will generate the greatest global political movement of our time unless respected and resolved by you, the leader of the State that extracted more wealth from our enslavement than any other.

The Jamaican economy, more than any other, at a critical moment in your nation's economic development, fuelled its sustainable growth. Britain, as a result, became great and Jamaica has remained the poorer. Jamaica now calls upon Britain to reciprocate, not in the context of crime and compulsion, but in friendly, mutually respected dialogue.

It is an offer of opportunity written not in the blood of our enslaved ancestors, but in the imagination of their offspring and progeny who have survived the holocaust and are looking to the future for salvation.

As a man, a humane man, with responsibility for the humanity of your nation, we call upon you to rise to this moment as you realise and internalise that without the wealth made by your enslaving ancestors, right here in our Jamaica, we would not be enchained together, today, called upon to treat with this shared past.

Successive governments in this land, a place still groaning under the weight of this injustice, have done well during the 53 years of sovereignty, but the burden of the inherited mess from slavery and colonialism has overwhelmed many of our best efforts. You owe it to us as you return here to communicate a commitment to reparatory justice that will enable your nation to play its part in cleaning up this monumental mess of Empire.

We ask not for handouts or any such acts of indecent submission. We merely ask that you acknowledge responsibility for your share of this situation and move to contribute in a joint programme of rehabilitation and renewal. The continuing suffering of our people, Sir, is as much your nation's duty to alleviate as it is ours to resolve in steadfast acts of self-responsibility.

In the four corners of Kingston there are already whispers that your strategy will be to seek a way to weaken Jamaica's commitment to Caribbean reparations in a singular act of gift-granting designed to divide and rule and to subvert the regional discourse and movement.

You, Sir, are a Briton, not a Greek, and we have no reason therefore to fear what you bear. But we do ask that you recall the Caribbean region was once your nation’s unified field for taxation, theatre for warfare, and space for the implementation of trade law and policy. Seeing the region as one is therefore in your diplomatic DNA, and this we urge that you remember.

Finally, Sir, I write from the perspective of an academic bred in Britain and reared in the University of the West Indies, an institution your nation planted in Kingston in 1948 with a small but significant grant. It would honour us to show you what we the people have reaped from this single seed.

We have created a flourishing federal farm that now cultivates the minds of millions, a symbol of our collective determination to take seriously our self-responsibility and to place our dignity as an emerging nation before any other consideration. From this singular seed we have grown one of the finest universities in the world crafted by our hands and inspired by our dreams.

This story, Sir, can guide your reflection as to who we are and what we expect of you. We urge you then, in this light, to indicate your nation's willingness to work towards a reparatory justice programme for the Caribbean, with a view to allowing us to come together in order to come to closure, put this terrible past behind us, and to leave it to us to continue the making of our future.

Kindest regards

Hilary Beckles
Chairman, Caricom Reparations Commission
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
(Professor Hilary Beckles delivers his milestone lecture on African reparations from Britain/pan-Europe on the latter’s centuries of the enslavement of African peoples in the Caribbean and elsewhere in the Americas; venue: Methodist Church Hall, Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines, 20 August 2013)
 Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Igbo Americans and the US presidential election

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

IN HIS USUAL strategic articulations on the interest and future wellbeing of Igbo people, George Enyoazu has on his Facebook wall, beginning 8 September 2016, raised the profound issue of choice for Igbo Americans as they decide to vote at the US presidential election on Tuesday 8 November 2016. This initiative, as would have been expected, resulted in a debate involving several correspondents and the exchanges have indeed been hearty and informative. 

Enyoazu emphatically asks Igbo Americans to prioritise or privilege the motherland, Biafra, when they go out to cast their vote at this poll. One cannot overemphasise Enyoazu’s timely appeal. I am not aware of any US administration since the outbreak of the Igbo genocide in May 1966 during the Lynden Johnson presidency that has unambiguously supported genocidist Nigeria as that of Barack Obama’s (and Hillary Clinton as secretary of state). The historic tragedy of this support for the continuation of the Igbo genocide is underscored, further, by the fact that Obama is the first African-descent president of the US republic in 233 years of existence. Hillary Clinton states clearly that her presidency, if she were elected, would continue the essentials of 8 years of the Obama residency. 

Igbo Americans surely have a role to play in these hectic times and they cannot ignore the 3.1 million and more Igbo murdered since Sunday 29 May 1966 as they cast their votes in November. Or, would they? I am posting the following link as a contribution to this all important subject that Enyoazu has started: 
http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/herbert-ekwe-ekwe-this-piece-is.html
(Sonny Rollins Quintet, “Decision” [personnel: Rollins, tenor saxophone, Donald Byrd, trumpet; Wynton Kelly, piano; Gene Ramey, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, US, 16 December 1956])
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe 

87th birthday of Bede Okigbo

(Born 29 September 1929, Ojoto, Biafra)
Agronomist, one of Africa’s preeminent agricultural scientistscousin of economist Pius Okigbo and poet Christopher Okigbo, distinguished head of the Biafra land directorate who works indefatigably to boost food production throughout the country in response to the expansively catastrophic land, sea and aerial siege of the Biafran population (31 March 1967-12 January 1970), unprecedented in African history, during the Igbo genocide by Nigeria and its suzerain state Britain in which 3.1 million Igbo are murdered in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa
(Max Roach & Anthony Braxton, “Birth” [personnel: Roach, drums; Braxton, reeds; recorded: Ricordi Studios, Milan, Italy, 7 September 1978])

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

83rd birthday of Samora Machel

(Born 29 September 1933, Madragoa, Mozambique)
Nurse, brilliant and highly accomplished commander of Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, Mozambique Liberation Front, which frees Mozambique from nearly 500 years of the Portuguese conquest, occupation and immiseration, June 1975, and becomes first African president of the victorious republic
(Sonny Clark Trio – with Max Roach and George Duvivier, Rare session [41.46 mins] includes  “Minor meeting”, “Nica”, “Sonny’s crib”, “Blues blue” and “My conception” [personnel: Clark, piano; Duvivier, bass; Roach, drums; recorded: AllMusic, New York, US, 23 March 1960])
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

85th birthday of John Gilmore

(Born 28 September 1931, Summit, Mississippi, US)
Intensely studious tenor saxophonist and bass clarinettist who plays in the Sun Ra Arkestra during the course of 42 years (1953-1995) where he becomes the lead instrumentalist
(Freddie Hubbard Sextet – featuring John Gilmore, “Summetime” [personnel: Hubbard, trumpet; Curtis Fuller, trombone; Gilmore, tenor saxophone; Tommy Flanagan, piano; Art Davis, bass; Louis Hayes, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood cliffs, NJ, US, 2 July 1962]) 
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

Question: On this 4th anniversary of its publication, why did the great Chinua Achebe write There was a Country?

Just a one-sentence reply: To understand the politics of the Igbo genocide and the politics of the “post”-Igbo genocide is to have an invaluable insight into the salient features and constitutive indices of politics across Africa in the past 50 years.

Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Nigeria: Saturday 1 October 2016 – Celebrating? What? … Unenviable accolade for perpetrating the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa

1966-1970IgboGenocide3.1millionIgboPeopleMurdered 
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1966-1970IgboGenocide3.1millionIgboPeopleMurdered
(Mal Waldron Quartet, “Hymn from the inferno” [personnel: Waldron, piano; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Cecil McBee, bass; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: Vanguard Studios, New York, US, 15 August 1981])
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

92nd birthday of Bud Powell

(Born 27 September 1924, Harlem, New York, US)
Virtuosic pianist, composer and one of the inaugurators of the bebop revolution in jazz in New York in the early 1940s
1. (Bud Powell Quintet, “Bouncing with Bud” [personnel: Powell, piano; Fats Navarro, trumpet; Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone; Tommy Potter, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; recorded: live, Blue Note Jazz Club, New York, US, 9 August 1949])

2. (Bud Powell Trio, “Anthropology” [personnel: Powell, piano; Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson, bass; Jorn Elniff, drums; recorded: live, Café Montemarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 26 April 1962])
3. (Bud Powell Trio, “’Round midnight” [personnel and recording details as in “2” above ])
 Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe


4th anniversary of the publication of Chinua Achebe’s There was a Country

(Published 27 September 2012, Penguin, LondonBritain)
Father of African Literature’s incomparable memoirs on the Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, when Nigeria and its suzerain state Britain, under the primeministership of Harold Wilson, murdered 3.1 million Igbo people or 25 per cent of this nation’s population

Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 26 September 2016

87th birthday of Bede Okigbo

(Born 29 September 1929, Ojoto, Biafra)
Agronomist, one of Africa’s preeminent agricultural scientists, cousin of economist Pius Okigbo and poet Christopher Okigbo, distinguished head of the Biafra land directorate who works indefatigably to boost food production throughout the country in response to the expansively catastrophic land, sea and aerial siege of the Biafran population (31 March 1967-12 January 1970), unprecedented in African history, during the Igbo genocide by Nigeria and its suzerain state Britain in which 3.1 million Igbo are murdered in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa
(Max Roach & Anthony Braxton, “Birth” [personnel: Roach, drums; Braxton, reeds; recorded: Ricordi Studios, Milan, Italy, 7 September 1978])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

95th birthday of Cyprian Ekwensi

(Born 26 September 1921, Minna, Nigeria)
Pharmacist and one of Africa’s most prolific writers with particular interest in the exploration of urban life and its immense challenges – may have inaugurated the Onicha (Biafra Oshimili Delta) market literary genre with his 1947-published Ikolo the Wrestler and other Igbo Tales and When Love Whispers (see Emmanuel ObiechinaAn African Popular Literature, 1973: 3), subsequently publishing over 20 novels (including People of the City [1954], The Drummer Boy [1960], Jagua Nana [1961], Burning Grass [1961], Beautiful Feathers [1963], Iska [1966], Jagua Nana’s Daughter [1993]), innumerable short stories (including several adapted for radio and television), and children’s books
(Bobby Hutcherson Sextet, “Dialogue” [personnel: Hutcherson, vibraphone; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Sam Rivers, bass clarinet; Andrew Hill, piano; Richard Davis, bass; Joe Chambers, drums; recorded:  Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, Cliffs, NJ, US, 3 April 1965])
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 25 September 2016

93rd birthday of Sam Rivers

(Born 25 September 1923, El Reno, Oklahoma, US)
Seminal tenor saxophonist/multiinstrumentalist and composer who has recorded with varying ensembles (big bands, octets, quintets, quartets, trios, duos, even solo!) and whose exquisite ballad “Beatrice”, named after his wife, is a classic
Sam Rivers Quartet, “Beatrice” [personnel: Rivers, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 11 December 1964])
 Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

105th birthday of Eric Williams

(Born 25 September 1911, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago)
One of the most outstanding African Caribbean intellectuals of all time, author of Capitalism and Slavery (1944), classic on African enslavement in the Americas by the pan-European World – from his 1938 Oxford University doctoral thesis, and first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, 31 August 1962, after centuries of the British/European World conquest, enslaving and occupation
(George Russell Sextet, “Honesty” [personnel: Russell, piano; Don Ellis, trumpet; Dave Baker, trombone; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; Steve SwallowJoe Hunt, bass; drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 8 May 1961])
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 24 September 2016

122nd birthday of E Franklin Frazier

(Born 24 September 1894, Baltimore, US)
Influential sociologist and academic who publishes expansively on subject of race and human rights in the United States, research institute at Howard University named after him 
http://www.howard.edu/schoolsocialwork/centers/frazierbio.htm, accessed 24 September 2016

Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

Biafrans overwhelming shut down their country on this day of “stay-at-home”, Friday 23 September 2016, directed by the Indigenous People of Biafra freedom movement for the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu (director of Radio Biafra and IPOB leader), currently detained illegally by genocidist Nigeria, and a reaffirmation of Biafrans’ march to restoration-of-independence; essentially, the people’s robust response to this IPOB appeal and organisation is a dress-rehearsal on a Biafra referendum for freedom

(Land of the Rising Sun: … freedom, restoration-of-independence)
(Nnamdi Kanu: ... must be released unconditionally)

(Sonny Rollins Trio, “The freedom suite” [personnel: Rollins, tenor saxophone; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 7 March 1958])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe


Friday, 23 September 2016

Chike Ofili on Igbo migrations in recent centuries, west and south

(Chike Ofili:... Why do they continue to bear dialectical variants of Igbo names such as Chime in the Igbo West of the [the great river] and Chima in East of same?) 
[reposted as in the original on authors Facebook wall, Monday 19 September 2016]

ANIOMA and NIGER DELTA IGBO MIGRATIONS to the WEST of the NIGER and the DELTA are EXTENSIONS, not SEPARATIONS from MOTHERLAND... Divisions Are Creations of Poisonous Politics … So, is Anioma Biafra or a Benin Republic?

By Chike Ofili

Great, Phil Akpenyi, well reasoned reply to my piece that DELTA IS ANIOMA IS BIAFRA.

If Anioma is not Igbo but are Igbo speaking in all its dialectical variants, WHAT ETHNIC GROUP THEN IS ANIOMA? if a conference of ethnic nationalities of Nigeria were to be convoked as has been advocate continuously for the restructuring of Nigeria, which group would Anioma come under? Would they come under THE EDO NATION, since many claim they migrated from Benin ? So the larger Benin of the old Mid West, Bendel and now Delta and Edo states would now be under your BENIN REPUBLIC ?

BEFORE THE BENIN ESCAPEE MIGRANTS WERE THE IGBO SPEAKING PEOPLE
What happens to the Igbo speaking people as all Igbo are, that fought or amicably gave accommodation, land, language and home to your migrating Benin escapees from tyranny as is almost the same story of all diasporic Benin that now forms your Benin Republic of today's Edo and Delta states? Why was Benin not the language of communication as the migrating ones from Benin joined in? Why were they not bearing Bini names if they met empty lands as they migrated from Benin? Why do they continue to bear dialectical variants of Igbo names such as Chime in the Igbo West of the Niger, and Chima in East of same? Why has the common Igbo culture still dominant till this day in spite of the dominating military and cultural tyranny of old Benin kingdom?

The answer is that the escapees met a people whom they only added themselves to either amicably, or by force. As in all cases of such contacts, the bigger winner is the triumph of number; and this is long before they ever knew the democratic mathematics of democracy.

A PEOPLE’S POPULATION ASSERTS THEIR PRIDE OF PLACE THAT THEIR NATION AND TONGUE RE-ASSERT
It was primarily, the triumph of the self-assertive power of population, further putting down its foot even when sometimes conquered with its TONGUE, in a peoples language. The conquering migrants can only at best carve out their own part of the invaded land where not an amicable settlement with the aborigines. Thus, they may keep their language which most often they soon lose as the town grows bigger. Where there is an enduring compromise, a bilingual community is born. Even at that, there would still be a major and a minor language. In all of these cases, the Igbo language triumphed over all the other culture that came into contact with it; forcefully or amicably. Be it Benin, Yoruba, Ishan, Igala etc. They have come to constitute ANIOMA’S RAINBOW ROOTS. It is however culturally criminal to then turn around and begin the history of a people in spite of all of these evidences from when the migrants joined them; and not before they arrived.

In the case of Igbo West of the Niger, the migrants from Benin, Yorubaland/Ishan, Igala and so on were outnumbered and so had to speak the language of the majority group they met there; even when they came with a conquering might. Not even some manifest cultural influences will suddenly amount to a historical and cultural hijack of a people who were not spoken for, and who have still not learnt to coherently speak for themselves.

UN-ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ANIOMA, THE IGBO WEST OF THE NIGER
Have you asked yourself how the Igbo East and West of the Niger speak the same language, share fundamental cultures and ritual traditions? What circumstances produced these binding similarities? Are the circumstances any different from that which came to bind the Yoruba of the West and the Yoruba of the Middle Belt? Are they not all linguistically and culturally Yoruba? Is migration not just expansion and not permanent separation? 

If so, then you and I are right that your Benin republic amounts to migration as expansion and not separation. It amounts to a re-gathering of the same old people from far and near. If so, then the Igbo West of the Niger were largely migrants from their common ground where they were most populous in the East to where they crossed the Niger river onto the West of it, carrying their Igbo language and culture with them which as in all cases, kept changing insignificantly in dialects of the same language.

It is this their prime advantage of being the first to arrive, of being aboriginal and aucthotonous to a new and uninhabited place over time, that gave them the numerical powers over their latter day settlers like the Benin migrants and escapees from terror; who integrated themselves into the dominant culture, influencing it in part with their imported Benin culture in the West of the Niger, and Igala cultural partnership in the East of the Niger. But never overwhelming its core culture in its fundamental culture markers like the language which remains a dialect of Igbo, names, rituals etc.
EZE CHIMA RE-UNITED THE IGBO WEST AND EAST OF THE NIGER
Even Eze Chime/China, the biggest influencer among the Benin migrant who founded or more appropriately, mixed and integrated with the Igbo speaking people, was himself an Igbo in the Benin diaspora. He must have been an NRI priest plying his ritual cleansing trade in Benin as only them bore the title, Eze, a royal priesthood as Benin records too testify to Igbo priest(s) carrying out ritual functions in their palace. In the case of Chime/Chima he has a clear Igbo name that is not in any way Benin in origin; even if most of his followers with whom he fought the Benin kingdom were largely of Benin origin as was his regent wife. Chima never took his followers after the lost battle to Yoruba land that is closer to Benin, he faced where he hailed from, East/West of the Niger.

The Onitsha account showed us that his direct children who founded some of the last towns of Onitsha, Ogwuta and Aboh were inspired to do so because they wanted to be as faraway from the long arm of the Benin power and tyranny as they could be to be assured of safety. And also because their father, Chime/Chima had inspired them about a place across the river. It is no wonder that the direct children from his loins all were attracted to the watersides of the Niger river of Onitsha founded by Oreze who met an Igala settlement, headed by Ulutu; the Igala being the riverine people of the northern Middle Belt of Nigeria as the Izon/Ijo are to southern Nigeria. He joined Chimas first Ukpali having stayed back in Obior to inherit and continue the lineage and throne of their father, Chima. The third and fourth son who felt deceived by their brother Oreze in an open competition that was to determine who among the new contingent that migrated from Obior upon the death of Chima was to be the new leader of the new settlement, followed their own new path.

He found his own waterway in Ogwuta and its lake, and his brother, Ogwuwzi, found Aboh and its river. Chima their father in his time could not go beyond Obior, West of the Igbo Niger where he decidedly settled down from long journey and old age, making Obior, the fountain head of Onicha Ugbo, Onicha Ukwu, Onicha Onicha Olona, Onicha Mmiri/Ado N’Idu, Isele Ukwu, Isele Azagba, Isele Mkpitime, Ezi and Obamkpa that constitute the Igbo federation of the Umu/children of Chima. Their Easter faction being Onitsha, Ogwuta and Aboh of Chima’s children.
(Charles Mingus Sextet, “Conversation” [Mingus, bass; Clarence Shaw, trumpet; Jimmy Kneeper, trombone; Shafi Hadi, alto and tenor saxophones; Bill Evans, piano; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: Bethlehem Records, Cincinnati, US, 16 August 1957])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

90th birthday of John Coltrane

(Born 23 September 1926, Hamlet, NC, United States)
Iconoclastic tenor (and soprano) saxophonist and composer who, arguably, has had the most profound impact on the development of jazz, African American classical music, in the past 50 years
(John Coltrane Quartet, A love supreme [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 9 December 1964])
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 22 September 2016

84th birthday of Benedict Obumselu

(Born 22 September 1932, Oba, Biafra)
Distinguished literary critic
(Charles Mingus Quintet, “Open letter to Duke” [personnel: Mingus, bass, piano; Willie Dennis, trombone; Shafi Hadi, alto saxophone; Booker Ervin, tenor saxophone; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York, US, 12 May 1959]) 
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe

FWD: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law sends out emergency alert to the world on another genocidist Nigeria planned massacre across Biafra – to be carried out on Friday 23 September 2016

[reposted as in the original, issued on Thursday 22 September 2016]

SAFETY AND SECURITY ALERT FOR CITIZENS OF SOUTHEAST AND SOUTH-SOUTH NIGERIA: Exposing Planned Massacre Of Innocent Citizens By Army Using Anti Sit-At-Home As Cover

(Onitsha Nigeria, 22nd of September 2016)-It has come to the notice of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law that the Nigerian Security Forces particularly the Nigerian Army, are at it again. Our extensive investigations clearly indicate that ahead of tomorrow’s [FRIDAY 23 SEPTMBER 2016] Sit-At-Home protest organized by leading Pro Biafra groups particularly the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB); there are heavy deployment of soldiers in all nooks and crannies of the Southeast and the South-South parts of Nigeria; with the Southeast being the worst affected.

By close-source and open-source information available to us, the most affected States are Anambra and Abia; followed by Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu. In the South-south are Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. Most affected cities now under siege are Onitsha and Aba. Others are Owerri, Enugu, Umuahia, Abakiliki, Asaba, Okigwe, Nnewi and Nkpor. As at this morning, there are heavy presence of soldiers in major areas of Onitsha and Aba.

As a matter of fact, we saw passersby retiring home from work and trade being frog-jumped and whipped by soldiers at Upper Iweka and Onitsha Niger Bridge areas of Onitsha in the evening of yesterday. Before now, there had been frightening number of military check-points mounted along major Federal and State Roads and other strategic junctions and intersections in the Southeast part of Nigeria. Most of these soldiers are of northern Muslim extractions with entrenched culture of ethnic bias and hatred.

Further reports have it that more reinforcements will be moved from the 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu between 10am today and 5am tomorrow morning to Onitsha, Aba, Umuahia, Port Harcourt and Abakiliki. 

Some road users have also informed Intersociety of long military convoys moving towards Onitsha, Aba, etc, from the Enugu 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army.

Totality of these is that Southeast is under siege despite total absence of non-State actor security threats. It alarms and worries us at Intersociety as why an indoor-protest will warrant such State obsessive and crude security reactions. Which is why we held and still hold correctly that the flooding of the Southeast and the South-south; particularly the Southeast with battalions of soldiers is for the purpose of repeating the May 30, 2016 Mayhem at Nkpor. It is recalled that dozens of innocent citizens numbering as much as 110 were massacred in hours and scores of others terminally injured by Nigerian Army, after which most of their bodies were picked and later buried in 15 mass graves inside Onitsha Army Barracks.

The most shocking and horrible part of it is that scores of those shot and killed were passersby, onlookers, artisans working in their work places; traders trading in their provision stores and citizens returning from early church services. For instance, three innocent citizens returning from their early morning mass service at St Edmunds Catholic Church along Umuoji Road, Nkpor were among those shot and killed; after which their bodies were picked and taken away by soldiers till date.

 Though most members of the public including leading Christian bodies have since adjusted their programs for tomorrow in compliance with the Indoor or Sit-At-Home protest appeal, but the Nigerian Army has further aided same unprofessionally and crudely, by creating security panics and atmosphere most likely to result in mass murder or massacre of innocent members of the public; claiming that those shot and killed are those caught armed and enforcing sit-at-home or forcing people going about their lawful businesses back to their homes. These the Security Forces particularly soldiers will label “violent/armed IPOB or MASSOB Members”.

That is to say that the Nigerian Security Forces particularly the Nigerian Army have endangered any form of public movement tomorrow in the Southeast and the South-south parts of Nigeria, particularly in the cities of Onitsha, Asaba, Enugu, Nkpor, Umuahia, Owerri, Abakiliki, Nnewi, Aba, Port Harcourt and so on.

It is therefore too risky and death-prone for road users including traders, civil servants, school children, artisans, okada, keke and commercial bus drivers, etc to leave their homes tomorrow particularly in the Southeast part of Nigeria and South-south cities of Asaba, Port Harcourt, Uyo, etc. This is because they can get killed individually or in group by soldiers and their bodies taking away and bury secretly in mass graves. This is more so when most of the soldiers being drafted are serial ethnic cleansers and hate killers.

To avoid innocent members of the public being massacred by soldiers, navy and police personnel on their way to markets, offices, workstations, vehicular terminals and schools, all civil members of the public are called upon to stay off roads tomorrow and avoid risking their safety and lives. This passionate appeal should respectfully be fully complied with and acted upon and disseminated in all cities of the Southeast and the South-south parts of Nigeria.

Signed:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, BSc Criminology & Sec. Studies; MSc (c), Peace & Conflict Studies
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-INTERSOCIETY
Mobile Line: +2348174090052

Obianuju Igboeli,  LLB, BL; LLM (c)
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348034186332

Chinwe Umeche, LLB, BL
Mobile Line: +2347013238673
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe