COMMITTEE ON GENOCIDE.EKWE NCHE.
Biafrans intensified. The first opportunity for demonstrating this was the National Census Crisis of 1962-63. The controversial figures produced by Northern Nigeria were contested by many in both Western Nigeria and Biafra. But Northern Nigerians conveniently construed this as Biafran antagonism towards them. As Mr. Chukwuma Anueyiago, a business man who had lived in Kano from 1949 to 1966 said in his testimony before the Atrocities Tribunal set up by the Biafran Government to investigate the massacre of 1966: "Between 1962 and 1963 there was a sort of campaign against Easterners in the whole North: that the Ibos must quit the North. When we asked some of the members of the Sardauna-Brigade, who were the chief campaigners of this "Ibo-must-go" order, they said that with the exception of the Eastern Premier, Dr. Okpara, others were not in their way in the South. But for the fact that Dr. Okpara was stubborn the Hausa people would have gained full control of the whole of Nigeria". Indeed the Sardauna Brigade was a Para-military organisation built trained and maintained as his private army by the then Premier of Northern Nigeria Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto. The Prototype of the Sardauna Brigade was Hitler's "Brown Shirts". It was to be the main instrument for destroying Biafrans in Northern Nigeria. Meanwhile, in order to minimise the bitterness generated by the Census Crises, Biafrans dropped the controversy. But the leaders of Northern Nigeria would not let the matter lie. In March 1964, during debates in the Northern House of Assembly, the prevailing bitterness against Biafrans was publicly proclaimed and their physical elimination officially hinted. Here are a few excerpts from the speeches made during those debates: "MALLAM BASHARI UMARU: "I would like (you), as the Minister of Land and Survey, to revoke forthwith all Certificates of Occupancy from the hands of the Ibos resident in the region (Applause) ... " "MR. MEGIDA LAWANT: "In fact it is quite a long time that we in our part of this Region have known the Ibos and I do not think that at the moment there is any Ibo man owning a roof in Igbirra Division ... I am appealing to the Minister to make life more difficult for them ... " Page 10 Contd.../ "ALHAJI YUSUFU BAYERO: "Mr. Chairman, I would like to appeal to the Minister of Establishments and Training if he will appeal to the Minister of Local Government about some employees who are Ibos and are working under some Native Authorities here ... I cannot see why they should be in our Region. We are all sure that they are the poorest people in the country". "ALHAJI USMAN LIMAN (Sarkin Musawa): "What brought the Ibos into this Region? They were here since the Colonial Days. Had it not been for the Colonial Rule there would hardly have been any Ibo in this Region. Now that there is no Colonial Rule the Ibos should go back to their Region. There should be no hesitation about this matter. Mr. Chairman, North is for Northerners, East for Easterners, West for Westerners and The Federation is for all. (Applause)." To all these demands for drastic action against Biafrans responsible Northern Nigerian Ministers accordingly replied: "ALHAJI SIR AHMADU BELLO, K.B.E., Sardauna of Sokoto (The Premier): "It is my most earnest desire that every post in the Region, however small it is, to be filled by a Northerner. (Applause)." "ALHAJI MUSTAFA ISMAILA ZANNA DUJUNA (Minister of Establishments and Training): "Mr. Chairman, Sir, since 1955 this Government had laid down a policy. First NORTHERNERS, second EXPATRIATES and third, NON-NORTHERNERS. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have noted very carefully all the speeches made by all the Members in the Honourable House and I am ready to put up to my Government their views and I hope my Government will give them consideration ... I think these two things are the major things I have to answer now. One is on scholarship and the other is on how to do away with the Ibos." "ALHAJI IBRAHIM MUSA GASHASH, O.B.E. (Minister of Land and Survey): "Mr. Chairman, Sir, I do not like to take up much of the time of this House in making explanations, but I would like to assure Members that having heard their demands about Ibos holding land in Northern Nigeria my Ministry will do all it can to see that the demands of Members are met. How to do this, when to do it, all this should not be disclosed. In the course, you will all see what will happen. (Applause)." Page 11 Contd.../ Thereupon Alhaji Mustafa Dujuma, Alhaji Musa Gashash and other Northern Nigerian Leaders proceeded to plot "how to do away with" Biafrans, and the world was soon to see what would happen. Under the influence of these leaders Northern Nigerian N.A.'s abruptly terminated the appointments of Biafrans in their services, prematurely determined their contracts, suddenly withdrew their Certificates of Occupancy of residential plots and business premises, actually expelled some Biafrans from Northern Nigeria, and ruthlessly subjected others to verbal and even physical attacks and threats of total annihilation and expropriation of property. Shortly, too, the N.P.C., the party in power in Northern Nigeria, published a highly scurrilous booklet entitled "SALAMA: Facts must be Faced". This document launched a vicious and devastating attack on Biafrans. Indeed it was contrived to inflame the feelings of the Northern Nigerian masses to such an extent that, on the flimsiest pretext and as soon as the signal was given, the masses would pounce upon Biafrans and massacre them. It did happen. Simultaneously, in Western Nigeria, a booklet entitled UPCAISM was published by the Government. In it were displayed photographs of stores and shops run by Biafran traders in Lagos; and Western Nigerians were invited to accept the inflammatory lie that these Biafran "strangers" had expropriated Western Nigerian land and the fruits thereof. The Government of Western Nigeria, like their counterpart in Northern Nigeria, organised and conducted a campaign of hate against Biafrans. The character of Biafrans was remorselessly assassinated. As in Northern Nigeria, Biafrans were callously dislodged from their merited positions in Western Nigeria and in Federal agencies and institutions. Even business firms were urged to remove Biafrans from, or to refuse to appoint them to, positions in their various establishments. In the light of all this it is obvious that the factors usually suggested to explain away the Nigerian genocide of 1966 namely, the Revolution of January 15, and the Unification Decree of May 24, 1966 - are, to use the words of Lord Stonham "vicious pretexts" merely put forward to justify "evil motives". The Fateful Year - 1966 As far as the plotters of the genocide of 1966 were concerned, the major difference between their activities in the months immediately before and after January 15 was in degree not in kind. Page 12 Contd.../ The prevailing contemplation and planning of genocide was simply accelerated during the latter period. To this end, in Kano for instance, an exclusive clique, the NASARA CLUB, was formed not long after January 15. Paul Ihekoronye Okawa, a teacher at the Ibo Union Grammar School, Kano, told the Atrocities Tribunal how the Club came into being: "We were all living in such terrible fear until the 15th January coup relieved us of our mental strain. The common people in Kano were jubilant. But the ex-ministers, ex-politicians, Syrians, Arabs and other expatriates particularly the English, were furious. They immediately started their campaign of hate against the Ibos. They attended meetings, contributed money ... Some time in March an exclusive club, NASARA CLUB, was formed near Fagge. All the Kano ex-politicians were members; Aminu Kano, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Musa Gashash, Inua Wada, prominent Syrian and Arab personalities and a few expatriate civil servants. Many prominent Ibos who applied for membership were refused admission. In all their subsequent meetings in this Club, Aminu Kano presided. "His secretary was the English-born Provincial Secretary, Mr. Nelson". The degree of organisation attained by the conspirators was attested by the fact that the subsequent massacres took place at the same time in many towns of Northern Nigeria, over hundreds of miles of bad road, in places as distant and diverse as Zaria, Shika, Funtua, Gusau, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Gombe, Minna, Pambogus, Akwanga and Giwa to mention just a few. It was the same pattern everywhere: road blocks; attacks on Biafrans and their property; involvement of political leaders, law-enforcement agents, etc. Evidently the Northern Nigerian elements behind the massacres of 1966 were Emirs, District Heads, former politicians, top civil servants and men of that class; university students instigated by foreign (particularly British) nationals; and law-enforcement officers. Their activities and those of their followers indicate nothing if not the intent to commit genocide. Northern Nigerian Emirs are the religious, political and executive heads of their domains. No event of public importance, however small, can take place within the emirates without their Page 13 Contd.../ knowledge and consent. There is abundant evidence not only that the murderers, looters and destroyers obtained the consent of the Emirs, District Heads and others but that in some cases these functionaries of government even led the criminals. The evidence of eye-witnesses of the events in Katsina, Kaduna , Gambo and Gussu is most revealing. Katsina is the headquarters of Katsina Emirate. And the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Usman Nagogo, is the father of Lt. Col. Usman Hassan Katsina, then Military Governor of Northern Nigeria. Enoch Ejikeme, a Biafran businessman who had lived in Katsina for fifteen years 1951-66) narrated to the Atrocities Tribunal what happened in the town during the pogrom of May-June 1966: "Katsina is perhaps the area worst affected by the disturbances, even though there was a deliberate attempt to play down the seriousness of the situation there both during and after the disturbances ... It was about 2 a.m. - 4 a.m. in the early morning of 29/5/66 when a large number of Hausas started collecting in the Emir's palace. Round about 6 a.m. they all burst out from the palace carrying sticks, matchets, daggers, axes, etc. and all other dangerous weapons, spread themselves all over the town, looting and burning houses and shops. Some of the N.A. Police took active part, while others made no attempt to bring the situation under control. This attack was directed against people of Southern Nigerian origin with the exclusion of Yorubas. One Mr. Joseph of Udi (Biafra) was stabbed to death that very morning. While the attack continued the Emir of Katsina, Usman Nagogo; the former Northern Minister (of Education) Isa Kaita; Musa Tafida Yar 'Adua, former Federal Minister of Lagos Affairs; and Magajin Gari, the Emir's son, were parading the town up and down cheering them up ... They moved in gangs and numbered about 300-400 people ... " Of the events which took place in Kaduna, the capital of Northern Nigeria, Julius Abisi, a Prison Warder who lived there from 1958 to 1966 said: "A group of Hausa top civil servants held a meeting at Ahmadu Bello Stadium. This meeting started at or about 1 p.m. on Saturday (May 29) and lasted till about 4 p.m. Page 14 Contd.../ It was from that meeting that they spread to the town attacking every Easterner they met; looting arson and killing law-abiding Easterners featured prominently. After the general attack they started going from house to house hunting Easterners to kill. "As I understand and speak Hausa language very fluently, I had the opportunity to mix freely and overhear Northerners. They boasted that after their operation NOTHING LIKE EAST WILL REMAIN ON THE MAP OF NIGERIA ... " Mr. V. 0. Ekwealor, a Biafran motor mechanic and motor transport owner, had this to say about the role played by the Emir and his lieutenants at Gombe (Bauchi Province), where he had lived for nine years (1957-1966): "On the 1st June the Emir of Gombe was collected by plane for a meeting in Kaduna. On his return he held a meeting of the councillors on the 3rd of June, which was attended by Waziri Jallo, the ex-Speaker of the Federal Parliament, Mohammadu Kumo, Isiaku Gombnor and the Village Heads. After this meeting, at about 5.30 - 6 p.m. of the same day, as a person living in the centre of the town opposite the famous Jubilee Bar, Gombe, I heard a noise from the Victory Bar ... I then saw people with bows and arrows, matchets and guns, shooting at the same time ... Suddenly there was shooting on my windows and doors from the outside and I heard one Mallam Isa commanding the mob and telling them to go into the house; I also heard him asking to be given a sword ... N.A. lorries were transporting many people from the interior into the town, mainly hunters ... " At Gusau, in Sokoto Emirate. the mass destruction of Biafran lives and property was organised and conducted by District Head, Alhaji Suleiman Sarkinkudu, together with former politicians and heads of departments of the N.A. Jacob Okeke, a Biafran dealer in motor parts and accessories, related what happened at Gusau: "On the 29th May 1966, the day the disturbances started, I came out at about 5 a.m. and went to one of my stores to phone Mr. S. I. Chukwuka at Kano ... When I got to the store, I saw some cars outside the house of Sarkin Kudu, the District Head, (Sarkin Kudu's house was about 30 yards from my store) ... I suspected something was going amiss. Page 15 Contd.../ So, after I had finished phoning Kano, I waited to see the owners of these cars. They finally came out of the house at about 7.30 a.m. Amongst them were: Alhaji Suleiman, Pawa, Alhaji Igwuda, Mohammed Sokoto (an ex-Commissioner for Niger Province). Alhaji Tola, Baba dan Kantoma, Alhaji Tarimu Zaria, Modawakin Duka (N.A. Police Chief), and so many others I can always recognise any time I see them. They went down to town in a car procession. At about 8.30 a.m., I saw the same people with a large crowd of Hausas armed with sticks, clubs and daggers, carrying placards on which were written: BA MU SO MULUKIN SOJA, BA MU SO NYAMIRI, AWALE AREWA! (Away with the Military Regime, Away with the Ibos, Independence for the North!) At a "peace" parley which the Senior Divisional Officer, Mr. Minna, convened the following day, Mr. Okeke tendered the names of the ringleaders of the destruction. Mr. Okeke continued: "When I mentioned the name of Sarkin Kudu, the District Head of Gusau, he queries me for calling his name and he inquired if I know his position at all. I replied with these words: "You led the demonstration. I saw you and you saw me too." Being shocked, he could not utter any word ... " The activities of the Northern Nigerian students and their foreign (particularly British) instigators and collaborators at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, argue beyond doubt that there were deeply-laid plans for the execution of genocide. Scores of British nationals were undeniably involved. Of these six were the most prominent: Mr. S. S. Richardson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Director of the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University; Mr. J. M. Lawrence, Hall Master, Institute of Administration; Professor F. W. Sansome, Head of the Department of Botany; Dr. Eva Sansome, wife of Professor Sansome and Reader in the same Department;. Major A. D. F. Boyle, Estate Manager in charge of University transport, security guards and labour force; and Mr. R. B. Walker, Superintendent of the Zoology Laboratory. Shortly after January 15, 1966, Mr. Richardson and Mr. Lawrence began to hold clandestine and exclusive meetings at night in Northern Nigerian students' rooms. Foremost among the students participating were Page 16 Contd.../ were Paul Anyebe, Murtala Aminu, Mohammed Arziki, Yameni Othman, A. B. Homkwap and Mallam Maishanu (who came up North from Lagos University). The meetings continued until the eruption of the pogrom of 29 May 1966. In a circular bulletin Mr. Richardson, not long before the massacre, actually informed staff and students that it was expected that after the Salah festival there would be an uprising against the Military Regime". Professor and Mrs. Sansome were openly conducting a campaign of hate against Biafrans. Major Boyle arranged for University van No. Z 5144 to be used by Mallam Dosso, the Estate Foreman, in transporting thugs a number of times from distant places to Samaru and elsewhere where they murdered Biafrans and looted their property. On 29 May 1966 Mr. Walker transported a number of these thugs in his own car from Samaru to the University Orchard to cut monstrous clubs for mowing down Biafrans and destroying any of their property which could not be carried away.! Dr. G. E. Ezekwe, a Biafran Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Ahmadu Bello University, afterwards told the Atrocities Tribunal of the interest of his British colleagues in the elimination of Biafrans from Northern Nigeria: "It was after the May (1966) visit of the British High Commissioner (Sir Francis Cumming-Bruce) - a man whom expatriate staff were able to meet but not any Nigerian staff that I know of - that I realised how general must be the feeling among the English staff that the East should go out of the Federation. In arguing over the unusual manner in which the Commissioner had been received with a couple of my British colleagues who were known for their moderation and reasonableness, I was stunned to hear them declare that Easterners resident in the North should go back to the East and apply their technical ability there, that the future of the North lay in agriculture. And these were teaching staff in Mechanical Engineering!" As for the Northern Nigerian students of the University, it was they who gave the signal for the general holocaust by starting the killing and looting in Zaria. Following their nocturnal meetings with British staff, the Northern Nigerian students handed over to the literate leaders of the murderous thugs in Zaria town a list of the room numbers of Biafran students in Halls of Residence and the residential addresses and car numbers of Biafran staff on Page 17 Contd.../ the Campus. Northern Nigerian students also held frequent meetings at night under the aegis of the Northern Students' Association, an organisation run by prominent members of the banned N.P.C. Youth Association. During the Easter Vacation Northern Nigerian students dispersed to towns, villages and schools up and down the Region to campaign for the liquidation of Biafrans. On the morning of 25 May, 1966, the day after the promulgation of the Unification Decree, the Northern Nigerian students sent a delegation to "protest" to the Military Governor at Kaduna and to discuss matters with top Northern Nigerian civil servants. On 26 and 27 May, following a "positive action" meeting, these students dispatched emissaries to co-ordinate and finalise arrangements with the Emirs and District Heads. At 7 a.m. on 29 May 1966, large numbers of Northern Nigerian students trooped out of the Campus and made for Zaria and Kaduna to "demonstrate". The massacre of Biafrans had begun. It has continued under various pretexts till the present day. The Unification Decree was intended to break regional allegiance and unite the country. The Biafrans were massacred for this. Furthermore, the part played by law-enforcement officers in Northern Nigeria abundantly proves that the organised massacres of Biafrans in 1966 was veritable genocide. We have already indicated on a number of occasions the conduct of the Police. "The climax was reached", said Enoch Ejikeme, the Biafran businessman at Katsina, "when Southerners seeing what was happening ran and took refuge in the Nigeria Police Charge Office. These people were locked inside and the office, which was packed full with refugees was set on fire and was burnt to ashes together with the refugees therein ... None was left alive except a few of us, whom God hid away out of their sight, who now live to tell the story". The Army was even more deeply involved. The following graphic report was given to the Atrocities Tribunal by Paul I. Okwawa, the teacher we mentioned earlier, should silence the argument as to whether or not Nigerians had the intention to exterminate Biafrans: "At 6.30 p.m. on October 1st we arrived at the (Kano) Airport and to my greatest surprise I saw a sight that drove fear into my heart. Literally all the Northern ex-Politicians had gathered at the Airport in their immaculate white gowns. I saw Aminu Kano. I saw Page 18 Contd.../ Maitama Sule, Inua Wada. Many Europeans also came to the Airport. Exactly at 6.50 p.m. soldiers in green shirts and trousers invaded the Airport. "I had a presentiment that something bad was in the air, and as we sat near our luggage we wondered whether these ex-politicians and their European, Asian and Arab friends had come to witness the final liquidation of our people. Soon shots were heard everywhere. That day was declared a public holiday, and as usual many Ibos came to the Airport ... "One soldier ordered me outside and asked me where I came from. When I told him I was a Mid-Westerner he told me I was lying because he knew where I came from. What I heard was: "About turn! quick march!" I heard a shot behind me and I fell down and passed out. "How long I was there before I came round I could not tell. But when I became conscious, a heap of dead men was on me, some still breathing but others stone dead. It took me some time to extricate myself from the dead bodies heaped upon me. I crept over other dead bodies as I tried to hide because soldiers were still shooting people in their hiding places at the Airport ... When 1 could no longer hold out I got up and walked to the table where one of the stewards was sitting. I shouted: "Please take me to the soldiers; I can no longer stand the strain." "Somebody emerged from under the big table on hearing me. It was Mr. Lekettey, a Ghanaian who apparently was hiding from the savage soldiers. We decided to give ourselves up to the soldiers. He was my uncle and I his nephew. This strategy worked wonderfully, and when the soldiers heard us out, they shouted in unison, 'Why have you been hiding? We don't want to kill Ghanaians. They are our friends ... We are after Okpara's brothers. We are going to finish them off'. They took us upstairs where we saw more dead bodies, some of whom I recognised. Mr. Lekettey and myself gave them £10 for drink. They drank until 6.30 a.m. the following morning, 2nd October. These soldiers had some harsh things to say about, Okpara and Ibos. Okpara was their arch enemy who must be destroyed ... other Ibos must be destroyed. At 7 a.m. that same Sunday morning, they asked Mr. Lekettey and myself to get ready because they were going to show us how Page 19 Contd.../ ***************************************************
COMMITTEE ON GENOCIDE.EKWE NCHE.