Mid-year Evaluation and Update on MASSOB and Case for Biafra: 2005
From: Biafraland@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Biafraland@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chuks M. I.
Sent: Sunday, May 29, 2005 3:57 PM
Subject: [Biafraland] UPDATE ON MASSOB, BIAFRA/NIGERIA. A CASE OF THE BAD MARRIAGE THAT CAN NO LONGER HOLD. AN APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.
In 1966, fifty thousand Igbo Biafran men, women, and children were rounded up in several cities, towns and villages in Northern and Western Nigeria and slaughtered like chicken. Young girls were first gang raped by scores of men and then corralled to leper colonies to be raped by lepers before being killed.
Nursing mothers had their breasts cut off. Pregnant women first had their abdomen cut open, the fetuses yanked out and kicked like football before the babies were slaughtered. Men had gasoline poured on them then set ablaze to burn like bonfires. Several hundred thousand men and women hacked, tortured, maimed, mouth slit open from ear to ear, limbs chopped off, eyes gouged out, and other types of unspeakable acts of brutality ran back to their homeland in Eastern Nigeria for safety. In all over two million Igbo Biafran refugees ran back to their homeland in Eastern Nigeria as refugees. Nigerians did this to the Igbo and other people of Eastern Nigeria in 1966. Most of the people who organized, and supervised the perpetration of this crime have gone on to become heads of state of Nigeria and have wined and dined with leaders of the free world.
Satisfied that the world did not react to their heinous crime against an innocent people, Nigerian leaders declared a war of genocide on Igbo Biafrans.
The Nigerian government completely blockaded Biafra by land, sea and air. Then she went on to commit the worst genocide since World War II, second only to the Jewish holocaust in its brutality, horror, inhumanity, and brazen barbarism. Top Nigerian government officials following in the footsteps of Hitler stated categorically as official Nigerian government policy that “starvation is a legitimate instrument of warfare.” Just as Hitler did to the Jews, the Nigerian government went on to starve to death two million innocent Igbo Biafran babies, children, pregnant women, old men and women. The Nigerian government poisoned food including baby’s milk with arsenic, cyanide and other poisons and smuggled these into Biafran territory. No one knows how many thousands of babies, children, and adults were thus murdered, poisoned to death by the Nigerian government. A report by a team of experts (chemist, microbiologist, pharmacist, micro-chemical analyst, and expert in forensic medicine) led by a United States Senator, Charles Goodell who visited Biafra and examined samples of food confirmed that food items especially salt, powdered and evaporated milk smuggled into Biafra by Nigeria were poisoned with arsenic, and cyanide (US congressional Record, 1969, p.4374.) To maximize the number of Igbo Biafrans killed during this genocidal war, the Nigerian government instructed her pilots to target hospitals, open markets, refugee camps, children’s feeding centers, churches, schools, and to bomb and strafe them without mercy. Again no one knows the exact number of Igbo Biafrans civilians who were killed in these genocidal bombings.
Then the Biafra Nigeria war ended in January 1970 and the Nigerian government shut down all avenues for food to get into the former Biafran territory. The result was that more people died of starvation in the few months after the end of the war than in the few months before the end of the war.
Between 1970 and 1980 the Igbo rebounded in most sectors of life despite Nigerian government policies that were designed to permanently relegate the Igbo economically, socially and politically to an inconsequential and ineffectual status in the Nigerian sociopolitical environment. Then Nigerians started attacking the Igbo in several cities in Northern and Western Nigeria and by 2003 several thousand Igbo had been killed in such attacks and their property and goods worth billions of dollars looted and burned by Nigerians. Not one person has ever been arrested, charged or punished for killing the Igbo in Northern and Western Nigeria. The Igbo who have been living under the illusions of being integrated into the Nigerian society became convinced that no matter what they do Nigeria has only one scheme for them: intimidation, persecution, forced Islamization, torture and eventual annihilation.
It was on this premise that the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra
(MASSOB) was founded by the Igbo and other people of Eastern Nigeria. MASSOB is a non-violent civil rights movement whose goal is the actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra through non-violent means.
The movement adopts and follows the philosophy and practice of Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.
MASSOB has stated categorically that its members do not carry any weapons or engage in any violence.
Rather it mobilizes the people of Biafra through persuasion and education. Now the entire population of Eastern Nigeria is now been fully mobilized for Biafran independence in accordance with the 4th stage of the struggle. The Nigerian government realizing that it has completely lost the support of the Igbo and other people of Eastern Nigeria resorted to violence and extra judicial murder of members of MASSOB and other Igbo.
The happenings in the years immediately after the formation of MASSOB are memorable to recall. Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and other MASSOB members have been arrested several times (Post Express 20 Apr. 2000; Vanguard 29 Aug. 2000; The News 21 Sept. 2000 ). On 24 May 2000, 54 people were arrested "for hoisting a Biafran flag in Aba, an action considered as an attempt to topple the Federal Government administration" (Vanguard 29 Aug. 2000; The News 21 Sept. 2000). Eleven others were arrested in Abia, also on charges of "unlawful assembly" and "felony." If convicted, the accused persons face a one-year sentence for unlawful assembly and life imprisonment for treasonable felony (ibid., 29 Aug. 2000).
Apparently, Uwazurike had narrowly escaped death in Lagos when "unidentified gunmen attacked his car along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway" (PM News 18 May 2000). He arrested in Lome, Togo during the 36th Organization for African Unity (OAU) Summit meeting; he had allegedly gone to Lome to present his case for the actualisation of Biafra to the World (Vanguard Daily
17 July 2000; ibid; 12 July 2000). He further claimed that 2000 members of MASSOB were in being detained without cause or trial in Nigeria (ibid.).According to the Vanguard Daily of 29 August 2000, the Magistrate of Umuahia dismissed the case of treasonable felony against some members of MASSOB for lack of jurisdiction and 54 others were reportedly granted bail (ibid.). However, in October 2000, MASSOB alleged that 20 of its members continued to be detained at Anambra State Police Command (ibid. Oct. 2000).AFP reports Uwazurike's home was ransacked by security agents at the beginning of December 2000 (2 Dec.
2000). Security also ransacked a hotel and "shot up several cars, and fired into crowds in their search for him" (ibid.).
Several sources reported on the alleged killing by police of MASSOB members in Okigwe, Imo state in February 2001 (The News 21 Jan. 2002; This Day 12 Feb.
2001; Vanguard Daily 18 Feb. 2001) and the "recent" action by police against the group (Post Express 4 Mar. 2001; Vanguard Daily 5 Mar. 2001; ibid. 26 Feb.
2001) The police denied the killings, but confirmed that MASSOB leader Ralph Uwazurike had been arrested and prosecuted (PM News 15 Feb. 2001; BBC 8 Feb. 2001).
On 18 May 2001, some 22 MASSOB members were arrested by police in Enugu as they were travelling to Okigwe for allegedly planning to mark 22 May as the "new Biafra independence anniversary" (Vanguard 22 May 2001).
On 30 May 2001, police in Port Harcourt, Rivers state arraigned 45 MASSOB members charged with treason (Guardian 31 May 2001). The accused had allegedly "declar[ed] a state of Biafra by hoisting the defunct secessionist flag at Oyigbo" (ibid.).
Vanguard reported that an advisor to MASSOB, Dr. Marvin Iheomu, was declared missing by the movement after he was allegedly kidnapped from his Okigwe home on 22 May 2001 (29 May 2001). According to Uwazurike, police again attacked members of MASSOB on 4 December 2001, leaving some 10 dead (The News 21 Jan. 2002).
MASSOB members also hold the police responsible for burning "Biafran House," the MASSOB headquarters in Okigwe, on 19 December 2001 (ibid.).
According to Uwazurike, some 1000 members of MASSOB are imprisoned across the country (This Day 16 Mar. 2002; Vanguard 5 Apr. 2002).
More recently, in February 2003 more than fifty members of MASSOB were slaughtered when they ran into an ambush laid by the Nigerian Army and paramilitary Mobile Police Force. More than 50,000 members of MASSOB were on their way to a public rally in Port Harcourt when they were ambushed, attacked and murdered. All were shot in the back while running away from the ambush. The Nigerian government covered up the crime by collecting the corpses and disposing them in secret locations thereby destroying the evidence.
[ADDENDUM] Nigeria Mobile Police also arrested 13 MASSOB members on 29 April 2003 in Lagos. They spent nearly 6 months in Abuja Police prison area 10 Garriki. They were arraigned at Igbosere magistrate court, Obalende Lagos. [END ADDENDUM]
In October of that same year an enlightenment/mobilization outing which we undertook to Ebonyi State was dispersed by Police and SSS men who stormed the venue and arrested 26 participants. No one knows till date the where about of these MASSOBIANS.
Most of the time the Nigerian army and police arrest Members of MASSOB simply for holding a lawful assembly in the privacy of their homes, possessing MASSOB ID cards or possessing Biafran flag, crest, car sticker or key chain. Nigerian government’s paramilitary police “disappeared” these innocent individuals without any trace ever again. This practice reminiscent of Pinochet’s rule in Chile is now in use by the Federal Government of Nigeria against the MASSOB members in particular and Igbos in general.
Recently the harassment and murder of members of MASSOB has reached intolerable levels. Hundreds are detained in various police cells by security agents where they receive cruel treatments which other detainees do not receive. On April 16, the Kaduna state police command arrested 17 MASSOB members and has charged them for treason. They have been arraigned before a chief magistrate court and are still languishing in prison. Similarly, more than 150 members where arrested by plain-clothed policemen and men of the State Security Services in a catholic church in Kaduna. However security sources said only four persons were picked. What happened to the rest? Have they “disappeared” as expected? When will this stop?
The most gut wrenching story is that of 53 members of MASSOB who were arrested by the government of Nigeria and placed in maximum security prison since September 11 2004. They were arrested because they were playing a football (soccer) match dubbed “Biafra Freedom Football Tournament” in a public park in Lagos, Nigeria. Others were just spectators watching the football match. Some were selling sachets of cold drinking water to those watching the football match.
One of these detainees is a man over seventy years old, another is a pregnant woman, and yet another is a fifteen year old boy. The government of Nigeria has charged these people with CONSPIRACY to overthrow the government of Nigeria, and TREASON both offenses being punishable by DEATH. All the detainees have one thing in common: THEY ARE ALL MASSOB members and Igbos.
Daily Champion Newspaper of April 12, 2005, reported that one of the detainees, Christopher Okafor, appeared before the judge with blood stains on his arm and a lacerated body. Obviously these detainees are being tortured by the Nigerian government while in detention. Only 49 of the 53 detainees were brought to court. It is now being suspected that the missing detainees may have been “disappeared” by the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Counsel to the detainees wondered aloud how participating in a football tournament is akin to levying war on the government of Nigeria and against President Olusegun Obasanjo.
More recently despite an injunction restraining the police and SSS from arresting, harassing, intimidating or killing of our leader Chief Ralph Uwazurike, he had brushes with security operatives this last weekend and he narrowly escaped police bullet aimed at him. Police on Friday stormed his base apparently to abort the international rally declared by MASSOB. His home was completely ransacked and properties stolen by these agents of Obansanjo. You can then imagine what happens to ordinary members who have no court injunctions in their favour. There are many more arrests in Rivers, Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, and Abia State and other parts of Nigeria. Nobody knows how many MASSOB members the Nigerian government has killed or clamped in jail for absolutely no offense.
We wish to draw the attention of the world to the fact that while General Obasanjo is persecuting and killing members of the non-violent civil rights movement MASSOB most of who are Igbo, he himself admonished the British Colonial Government for amalgamating the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria. He
stated: “The British colonial authorities created the Northern and Southern Protectorates without taking cognizance of the distinct cultural and linguistic differences of the various ethnic groupings and worse still, without any form of consultation with the people. They compromised opportunities for internally driven development, underdeveloped the society and negated structures of endogenously propelled state building.” (Punch, April 27, 2005). In addition two former British Colonial officers, Peter Smithers, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State and the Secretary of State in the Colonial Office (1952-1959) while commenting on the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria stated thus: “But in retrospect, it is clear that this was a grave mistake which has cost many lives and will probably continue to do so. It should have been better to establish several smaller states in a free trade area.” (The Guardian, London). Another British Colonial officer, Mr. Smith has said essentially the same thing. (www.libertas.demon.co.uk). It boggles the mind why President Obasanjo will be killing Igbo people for saying essentially the same thing that he and former British Colonial Officers are saying.
To further lay credence to MASSOB’s call for our independent state of Biafra, the United States National Intelligence Council in a document entitled "Mapping Sub-Saharan Africa's Future" has predicted "outright collapse of Nigeria" as a nation-state within the next 15 years. In a swift response, President Olusegun Obasanjo described the prediction as "glib(ly) talk" arising from "dubious or diabolical benchmarks."
On page 17 of the report under the heading "Downside Risks," the US Intelligence claimed that "while currently Nigeria's leaders are locked in a bad marriage that all dislike but dare not leave, there are possibilities that could disrupt the precarious equilibrium in Abuja. To underscore the importance of this document, the US has again warned the Nigerian Government after listening to its reaction on the report.
The Igbo are shocked that while President Obasanjo is arresting, jailing, persecuting, torturing, and killing young non-violent Igbo members of MASSOB, he has left untouched an organization, Oodua Youth Movement, in his native Yorubaland which is campaigning for the establishment of a sovereign independent Yoruba Nation to be called Oduduwa Republic. He has also left unchallenged two Yoruba ethnic paramilitary militia, Oodua Peoples Congress
(OPC) which has recently united its factions and is classified as a terrorist organization by the government of the United States, and another Yoruba Paramilitary ethnic militia, United Self Determination Platform of Oodua, (USEPO). These violent Yoruba ethnic militia have murdered hundreds of innocent civilians in Lagos and Western Nigeria, killed scores of policemen and confiscated their weapons, and sacked numerous police stations. Yet General Obasanjo has not unleashed the Nigerian security agencies on them or charged them with levying war on the Nigerian government. Rather leaders of these Yoruba ethnic militia have been given plum appointments by General Obasanjo in important Nigerian Federal Government agencies. The result is that these violent Yoruba ethnic militia now operate openly from Federal Government Police Stations.
We state categorically that the Igbo have been pushed to the wall with respect to the oppression, persecution, and extra judicial murder of their citizens. In the eyes of every Igbo man, woman and child Nigeria is now like Hitler’s Germany, Pinochet’s Chile, Idi Amin’s Uganda, and Botha’s Apartheid South Africa rolled into one. The Nigerian Police and its sister SSS has unleashed its brutal handiwork on the Igbo people. This is not expected to stop as this corrupt Police force/SSS has masterminded the killing of many of its own prominent citizens including its former Attorney General/Minister of Justice and its so-called investigations has never solved any of the killings. The only way for Biafrans to get away from this continuous acts of brutality are to actualized the independent state of Biafra as MASSOB has always said.
Nigerians in Diaspora have cautioned Obasanjo over the harassment and killings of members of MASSOB despite their non violent nature. The Civil liberties Organization (CLO), a human rights group has equally stated that the Nigerian Government’s continued arrest, torture, detention and killing of MASSOB members in defiance of court orders and international laws is a gross violation of human rights. The whole world should join in condemnation of this as this is not frivolous or wishful talk. Human beings are being killed. Life which is sacrosanct is being wasted at will by agents of Obasanjo. Biafra Foundation on behalf of Igbo worldwide has severally made appeals to Heads of State and Government, religious leaders, leaders of the free world, journalists, human rights organizations, and activists, all men and women of conscience to please prevail on the President of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo to cease and desist from the ongoing persecution of these 53 innocent Igbo men, women and children; persecution and extra judicial murder of members of the non-violent civil rights movement, MASSOB; as well as oppression, and tyrannical persecution of persons of the Igbo Nation.
It is most important to let Mr. President of Nigeria remember that God has had more than enough mercy for him and he must be called soon to answer to why he never accepted to have a change in heart and see Biafrans as human beings despite all the opportunities he had to do this. It was he in 1970 who took report about the end of the war of genocide on Igbo Biafrans to Lagos. He will later on become head of state accidentally in 1976. During the last days of Gen. Abacha, he was to be killed as his former 2nd in command Gen. Yar’adua who died in prison but for Abacha’s sudden death. Then the days just after his released by Gen. Abdulsalami, I remember his first interview in which he vowed never again to take part in the dirty politics in Nigeria as he then correctly referred to it. Now, not only has he taken part in politics but unlike the world acclaimed icon Nelson Mandela, Mr. so-called president is on his second term presently and aspiring for a third term through his sycophants. I REALLY WONDER WHAT TYPE OF MAN IS THIS.
There is a limit to human endurance and the Igbo are tired of being persecuted. They want their freedom in the independent Republic of Biafra. No price is too great for freedom and liberty.
Biafra is no more a thing of the mind it is what is wanted by more than 95% of Biafrans. A referendum of this by the UN will affirm this.
God bless Biafra.