From 1914, when the British amalgamated Biafrans, Hausa/Fulanis and Yorubas as one Nigeria, Biafrans began to leave their homeland in large numbers to settle in several places among the Hausa/Fulanis in the North and the Yoruba in the West. In those areas they opened up new avenues for commerce and industries and at the same time building new homes and erecting places of worship and institutions of learning. By so doing, they came to acquire a real stake in the progress and well-being of all parts of the country.
They regarded themselves as citizens of Nigeria to an extent that no other groups in the country has ever done. Wherever Biafrans sojourned, their industriousness, resourcefulness and drive set them apart from their neighbours. In the North, particularly, the distinction was enhanced by religion; for while the majority of the Hausa/Fulanis population were Muslims, the Biafrans were and still remain mostly Christians. In addition, the progress and dynamism of Biafrans contrasted with the tardiness and conservatism of their neighbours who were generally unable to achieve the same standards of efficiency and prosperity.
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The envy and animosity the Biafrans excited were manifested periodically, such as in the massacre of Biafrans by Northern Nigerians at Jos in 1945 and at Kano in 1953. While Biafrans abroad were thrusting ahead and setting the pace for the economic development of Nigeria, those in Biafra land were diligently exploiting the human and material resources of their homeland. Their ready acceptance of modern ideas and techniques brought them to the forefront of economic and political activities.
Democratic by tradition, they championed democratic ideals and at the same time advocated the concept of a united country. They resolutely opposed the reactionary ideas of the Hausa/Fulani ruling elites who controlled the North and dominated the Federal Government. They also resisted the vicious and unscrupulous methods by which the Northerners sought to perpetuate their hold on the political strings of Nigeria. It was largely this confrontation between the forces of progress, represented by Biafrans, and those of reaction, represented by the Hausa/Fulani which culminated in the Nigerian census crisis of 1963 - 64, the Federal election crisis of 1964 and the Western Nigeria election crisis of 1965 which brought the military to power in January 1966.
During the massacre of 29th May 1966, which was the reaction of the Hausa/Fulani to Unification Decree No. 34 of the Supreme Military Council, Biafrans were the sole victims and there was no discrimination with regard to their individual ethnic origin. The massacre of Biafran army officers and men by their Northern "comrades-in-arms" on 29th of July 1966, and of Biafran civilians later, followed the same pattern; they were killed only because they were Biafrans. Those who survived the pogrom fled back to their homeland disillusioned and embittered. Their investments in other parts of the Federation had been destroyed and those whom they held dear had been killed or maimed. The families in Biafra who received them back shared their grief, and hardly any family in Biafra escaped the loss of a member or the return of a destitute relative needing relief.
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The Northern Assailants showed no signs of remorse. On the contrary they were jubilant over the expulsion of the Biafrans in their midst. The Biafrans themselves would never think of going back to expose themselves to the risk of a repeat of their previous harrowing experiences. Thus the pogrom of 1966 resulted in an irreversible movement of population. In spite of all they had suffered during earlier massacres and during the more recent pogrom, the people of Biafra sought no revenge but strove strenuously to find a peaceful solution which would keep Nigeria together. The Northerners, on the contrary, rejected every overture, ignored the implementation of agreements which had been mutually arrived at, and relied on their military occupation of Lagos and Western Nigeria to humiliate Biafrans even further.
Till date, the born to rule mentality is steal playing in the head of the Hausa/Fulani, In fact it has gone beyond that, Hausa/Fulani are now claiming that the resources in Biafra land belongs to them, and they are doing everything possible to totally exterminate Biafrans, take over their land and enjoy their resources without any opposition. The Hausa/Fulani are using the deadliest terrorist groups to massacre Biafrans in the northern Nigeria and in Biafra land. They are attacking Biafran villages and towns, killing, destroying properties, raping women and destroying farm lands with impunity. These are uncircumcised people, not worthy to clean the foot of a Biafran, I hasten to add. We were forcefully lumped together without consent, and now we seek to go back to the way we were before Lugard came.
The world is looking the other way, the international media houses are adamant in reporting the pogrom going on in Biafra land. It is important to add here, that Biafrans have the right to exist as a people, and they must exist. Asking for self-determination is not a crime, self-determination is a universal law, and if it is not meant for a section of people in the world, Biafrans should also have it. UN, EU, US and all concerned, should do the needful to ensure that Biafra is peacefully separated from Nigeria. Free Nnamdi Kanu, Free Biafra.
Written By Chijindu Ukah
Edited by KeneChukwu HalleluYah Okekenta
Published By Nwosu C.S
For Biafra Writers