COMMITTEE ON GENOCIDE.

EKWE NCHE.

 Pages 10-19


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.