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We have watched with dismay the shameful comments of many highly respectable men from the Western Nigeria against Professor Chinua Achebe on the Biafra Memoir he has published- There was a Country: A personal history of Biafra. It appears that they left the issues raised by the eminent Professor and proceeded to defend Chief Awolowo. It is foolishness to avoid the issues and attack the personality of Professor Achebe. Their only anger is the fact that Professor Achebe indicted Chief Awolowo for the genocide committed by Nigeria against the Biafrans. It appears that the apologists from the west who are defending Chief Awolowo believe that he was an infallible and perfect man who could not have made any mistake in life. Certainly, Chief Awolowo crafted and implemented the starvation policy against the civilians, children, women and the elderly of the Biafran population to wipe off our race. It was the greatest mistake in his life. It was contrary to the Geneva Convention on the Laws of War and Humanitarian Laws. The use of starvation as an instrument of war against civilian population is a war crime under Article 8, Paragraph 2 (xxv) of the International Criminal Court Act . The law defines it as follows: “Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Convention.” Chief Awolowo was a lawyer but violated the rule of international law. The Nzeogwu coup was planned and executed with his knowledge to instal him as the Prime Minister of Nigeria while he was in prison and yet when the war broke out, he and his people took side with the North to destroy the Biafrans. His unlawful economic policies to win the war cost the lives of 3 million Biafrans. The Nigerian leaders did not target the Biafran soldiers in the warfront but the civilians in the Biafran villages.
However, we the remnants of the indigenous people of Biafra who were not consumed by the war have no case with the dead but with the living. It is our opinion that Nigeria committed genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity to exterminate the Biafrans for which we shall seek redress in the War Crime Tribunal in due course. All lawyers know that time does not run against crime and the Statute of Limitation does not apply to war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. All the men in Hitler’s Army who participated in the holocaust against the Jews are still being hunted down today even in their 80s and 90s. The remnants of the indigenous people of Biafra will certainly hunt down all the people that committed genocide and war crimes against us. We want them to remain alive and face the law because we are coming after them!
Chief Awolowo has no case with us since he has gone to face his maker. We do not know what happened in his final hour on earth, whether he repented or not. We are concerned with the living who have refused to repent of the atrocities they did to us. If the people of the west do not see anything wrong with the policies crafted by Chief Awolowo against the Biafrans contrary to the rule of law, then they have betrayed the truth and made themselves enemies of God. The Abandoned Properties Act was promulgated in 1979, nine years after the war, nine years after declaration of One Nigeria, nine years after declaration of “no victor no vanquished”. This was sheer hipocrisy of the Nigerians! What about the £20 policy? What about the Indigenization Decree? What about all the post-war policies made by the Nigerian leaders to suppress us from generation to generation? Almost all the laws and policies of the Nigerian Government since after the war are premised on malice against the Ibos and not on good governance.
The worst evil in Nigeria is that most people who know the truth do not speak out for the truth, do not accept the truth and do not allow the truth to prevail. But certainly, truth must prevail in the end, for the scriptures say that you can do nothing against the truth but only for the truth. In a recent exchange of arguments on the internet, a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria from the Yoruba tribe posted the following warning to the Ibos in their desire to gain independence:
“If they attempt the same thing again, we shall wipe them off the surface of the earth. Ebi loko yin (starvation is your albatross). Kunle Adegoke LLM, BL Solicitor & Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria 08023337003”
Why did Barrister Kunle Adegoke threaten to wipe us off the surface of the earth for desiring freedom from Nigeria, and boasting in the use of starvation as Chief Awolowo did? My learned friend was even bold enough to include his Mobile Telephone Number for any person who cared to call him. I would like to meet him in Court and ask him whether it is a crime for a people to desire freedom and independence? Why do the Yoruba brethren hate us with perfect hatred? Are there no genuine men of God in Yorubaland who can advise their people to repent of the evil they have done to the indigenous people of Biafra? Chief Awolowo made a grievous mistake that cost the lives of millions of Biafran souls. No man is above mistakes but the Yoruba brethren appear to believe that Chief Awolowo was infallible. Even King David the anointed King of Israel, the man after God’s heart, committed terrible crimes when he impregnated the wife of Uriah, murdered Uriah and took the widow. But he repented and received forgiveness. Why do the Yoruba brethren find it difficult to repent of their betrayal of the Biafrans? Why are they criticising Professor Achebe for speaking the truth? Unless there is genuine repentance and forgiveness, the war between Biafra and Nigeria will never end even after the Biafran Independence.
The people of the past generation fought their own war with their own method of arms and ammunition, but now, we the new generation shall fight our own war with our own method. We are grateful to the Biafran leaders who decided to give up the fight and save the children so that we could live to fight again. The weapons of our warfare are not physical but mighty through the knowledge of the Truth and the powers of the God of Truth and Justice for the pulling down of all evils erected by our enemies against us. TRUTH is our weapon. TRUTH will surely prevail. We were cast down but not destroyed. What Biafra lost was its sovereignty and not its people. The dry bones shall rise up again. We hail Professor Chinua Achebe for setting the records straight.
Barr. Emeka Adolf Chigozie Emekesri Trustee of Bilie Human Rights Initiative