GENOCIDE: BIAFRA'S OPEN LETTER TO U. N.
Nigeria’s Genocide in Biafra started forty six years ago and has been ongoing till the present time. Since the past seventy years counting from the Jewish Holocaust, humanity has witnessed these terrible patches of shame and man’s senseless moments of fear and hatred of fellow man. It is unfortunate that down through the course of man’s history on Earth that in spite of many laudable efforts by the well-meaning world community to discourage and put an end to every form of avoidable pains and suffering inflicted on fellow man by his own kind that these wickedness still happen. It is bad enough that these things still happen and worse when the world community fails to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice.
When the world fails to act to remedy such unjust acts of man against his fellow it tends to pass on the wrong message to other would be criminals around the world. And the world of today cannot afford to be seen on that light. Today’s world must endeavor to show that all peoples everywhere have equal access to justice and fair treatment. Most of all justice loses it value when it is selectively, or seen to be so, administered either as a result of the bias of race, color, place or a people’s economic station in life.
For the past forty years, the peoples of Biafra have been asking the world community to address the terrible genocide that was committed on them by Nigeria and its peoples where over one hundred thousand people were murdered in the first wave of the massacres in 1966. Subsequently another three million were killed in the next three years following. After this long period of delayed justice it cannot be over stressed here that the United Nations, the United States and other members of the world community should not be seen as selectively attending to issues as important as this one; the Genocide in Biafra.
The U. N., U. S. and others must not show that the victims, Biafrans cannot receive justice because they are of underprivileged race or that they do not have money to throw around and lobby people and nations like Nigeria is currently doing which has successfully to date sealed off this crime of genocide from being addressed appropriately. Every justice system is only worth its name when it can carter equally to both rich and poor, the privileged and the less privileged.
All responsible people everywhere must wake up today to the danger of remaining insensitive to the suffering and pain of another people because these things have a way of spilling over when not checked. The peoples of Biafra demand for justice for the great wickedness being visited on them on a regular basis in Nigeria and they want a permanent solution to the problem.
And because of the deeply entrenched hatred that Nigeria and its peoples have on Biafrans and the irreconcilable cultural differences that exist between Biafrans and Nigerians, Biafrans demand to be separated from Nigeria as the only solution to the endemic senseless killings and looting of their people and livelihood. The United Nations of Ban Ki Moon, Obama’s United States and all other members of the world community must do the right thing as a matter of urgency and, execute justice without fear or favor in this matter between Biafra and Nigeria.
NB: Published here below is the copy of an open letter sent to some officials of the United Nations by the peoples of Biafra on the 23rd of January 2011. Please let all lovers of justice everywhere feel free to distribute copies to as many people as possible. Be a responsible member of the world community. It is our world. It is one world.
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January 23, 2011
An Open Letter
To: The Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Francis Deng
Cc: His Excellency, Honorable Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General
Regarding: Duplicity or Diplomacy: UN response to true Genocide in Nigeria
Our attention has been drawn to statements credited to Mr. Deng, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, at a recent press briefing at the UN Headquarters in New York as reported herein: (http://allafrica.com/stories/201101210801.html) on January 21, 2011; to wit:
“At a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York by the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Francis Deng, and Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect, Edward Luck, the world body also said it would be "important not to drag or flash the word genocide" when talking about Jos crisis…
In his own remarks at the briefing, Deng said in the case of Nigeria, and with particular reference to Jos, it would be good not to use the word genocide so that it does not sound as if "we are accusing them of genocide"…
Deng said even though his designation has the word genocide, he would not want to use the word because that could make people feel uncomfortable and not responsive. He said he would rather define it as an "extreme identity-related conflict, not resulting from mere differences but from the way we manage our differences"…
But I want to emphasize that we are not talking about genocide in Nigeria. We are talking about ways of preventing the sort of violence that target any particular group, whether they are on ethnic or religious basis. And that is the basis that I will engage with Nigeria if I did go to Nigeria."”
While we understand the need for the UN to apply the principles of Diplomacy in issues such as this, what we do not understand and what the world is not ready to accept any longer is the deliberate attempt by the UN to make a heinous crime, such as Genocide, “go away” by playing callous semantic games and thereby allowing the perpetrators of Genocide get away with their crime even as the victims continue to suffer untold pain, hardship and deprivation, without recourse to any of the available remedies already prescribed by the UN itself.
The use of an euphemism such as “…"extreme identity-related conflict, not resulting from mere differences but from the way we manage our differences"…” to avoid labeling what is in reality genocide “Genocide”, thus also to avoid taking necessary action, is deceitful, duplicitous, callous and extremely inhumane.
The fact of the matter is that there is Genocide in Nigeria, and Nigeria has a long history of committing Genocide. In 1966 there were Genocidal Ethnic Cleansing murderous exercises by the peoples of Northern Nigeria and Western Nigeria against innocent civilian Igbo residing among them. The Government of Nigeria supported, encouraged and facilitated these pogroms; in fact, the putschist-Military Leaders at the helm of the Nigerian Military government then, drawn exclusively from Northern Nigeria, set the tone by deliberating arresting and shooting to death in cold blood, all the Igbo Military officers of Nigeria they could find, for no particular offense other than that they were Igbo. These initial pogroms resulted in the slaughter of between fifty and one hundred thousand Igbo babies, children, pregnant women, young and old men and women residing in Northern and Western Nigeria and the displacement of about two million of them out of Northern and Western Nigeria, back to their own homeland in Eastern Nigeria. But, this was only the beginning. Early the following year, in 1967, the “Aburi Accord” was reached and signed by all the parties and stakeholders in Nigeria and the Nigerian government, in order to resolve the Nigerian Crisis and restore peace, safety and security of each Region. But, the Nigerian Military government reneged on the Aburi agreements, violated the “No use of force to settle the crisis” clause, compelling the Igbo and their brothers in Eastern Nigeria (who had by then been confined to their own homeland) to exercise their Self-Determination. Thus, the Sovereign Independent State of Biafra was declared in mid-1967, after which Nigeria unleashed one of the most horrific Genocidal wars on them. Nigeria, aided by the governments of Britain and then Soviet Union, imposed a total blockade by land, sea and air on Biafra, refusing even baby’s milk and medicines from being delivered into Biafra. Historians, international monitors, journalists, and independent observers estimated that over one-and-a-half, and more likely, three-and-a-half million babies, children, pregnant women, old women and old men were thus starved to death by Nigeria. Reproduced below is a German report of that Genocide committed by Nigeria on Biafran citizens in 1966-‘70.The fact that the UN stood by and merely watched while this happened, and there has been no effort to review and sanction those Nigerians who are guilty of this Genocide, is a huge shame on the UN; but seen in the light of the current UN reaction to ongoing Genocide in the same Nigeria by the same perpetrators against the same victims, the world would have to wonder about the acquiescence and complacency of the UN.
Since 1970—following the end of the Biafra-Nigeria War—Nigeria, especially Northern Nigeria, has continued its Genocidal attacks on the Igbo. These are like ongoing aftershocks and tremors following the original Genocide of 1966-1970; what the UN is doing today by its response is to pretend that the ongoing Genocidal attacks against the Igbo in Northern Nigeria are different—not “genocide”—and are independent of the pre-existing Genocidal attacks against the Igbo which have gone on unchecked for several decades. In so doing, the UN is expediently overlooking what are most likely signs and a prelude to another massive Genocide against the Igbo in Nigeria.
We recommend that the UN call a spade a spade: declare what is going on in Nigeria today what it really is: Genocide by Nigeria against the Igbo. Let the Nigerians in fact “…feel uncomfortable…” if that is how they choose to respond to their crime. Contrary to the UN assumption, confronting Nigeria with the crime of Genocide will lead to appropriate responsiveness and will open the door for meaningful dialogue that will lead to real and permanent solutions, dialogue focusing on the employment of the instrument of a Referendum to ascertain the wishes of the different ethnic groups; and on the exercise of Self Determination by the Igbo and any other victimized and aggrieved groups in Nigeria. Only then will the UN have done its duty to the world and to all the concerned parties.
For historical reference, and as a reminder, appended is an account of the Genocide of 1966, 1967-1970 Genocide by Nigeria against the Igbo, written by an independent source.
Emmanuel Enekwechi, Ph.D.
President, Biafra Foundation