No single nation or people in Africa has suffered such an extensive and gruesome genocide and incalculable impoverishment in a century as the Igbo. As Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe demonstrates in this authoritative study, Britain is the principal agent in the perpetration of the Igbo genocide. Britain had sought to “punish” Igbo people for their vanguard role in the campaign to terminate the British conquest and occupation of this southwestcentral region of Africa from the 1930s-October 1960.
NOWHERE else in Africa nor indeed the South World, during the 1950s-1970s, does any of the seemingly departing European occupying-powers in a conquered country effectuate the crime of genocide on a constituent people as a means of safeguarding its strategic interests. Britain’s sordid record in Nigeria is exceptional. In fact at the apogee of phase-III of the genocide in 1968-1969, Prime Minister Harold Wilson reminded the world, on record, of the end game of this dreadful mission he chiefly directed from the comfort of his residence and office at 10 Downing Street, London, 3000 miles from Biafra. Wilson informed 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. As the final tally of the murder of the Igbo shows, Harold Wilson probably had the perverse satisfaction that his Nigerian on the ground allies did perform far in excess of his grim target.
The longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 concludes that Britain and its client genocide-prosecuting state Nigeria will surely account for this crime as both states are fully aware, being signatories to the relevant international treaties, that there are no statutes of limitation in international law in the pursuit, apprehension, prosecution and sentencing of individuals and institutions involved in committing genocide. Genocide is a crime against humanity. And this is indeed a heinous crime against the Igbo humanity.
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is a specialist on the state and genocide and wars in Africa. He is the author of several books including African Literature in Defence of History: An essay on Chinua Achebe (2001), Biafra Revisited (2006), Readings from Reading: Essays on African History, Genocide, Literature (2011) and author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why Donald Trump is great for Africa (2018)
Publication date: 22 January 2019
Key subjects book covers: Igbo genocide, Biafra, British complicity, Harold Wilson, conquest of Africa, post-conquest Africa, self-determination, restoration-of-independence, freedom, future of Africa
Mr Leroy Cristof
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