The Igbo leadership and its cabinet in the United Kingdom and Ireland are not happy with what Ndigbo are passing through in Nigeria since its amalgamation in 1914. Our colonial masters merged three big nations, and since then, Ndigbo have been the victim, with Britain supporting the North and the West against Ndigbo.
The first military coup of Jan. 15, 1966 had participation of all parts of Nigeria. The reason for the coup was to free Chief Obafemi Awolowo from prison and make him president, yet it was tagged Igbo coup. The second coup in June 1966 saw the killing of General Aguiyi Ironsi together with young Igbo officers. Gen. Ironsi was on a peace tour; like a dog he was murdered in cold blood. His killing was followed by the 1966 pogrom where over three million Igbos, mainly vulnerable, were killed.
The meeting held at Aburi was to find lasting peace. It was unanimously agreed that the country adopt a confederation structure in the interim. Gowon was advised against it.
This led to Biafran War, with UK, US, Russia, France and Germany spearheading the killing of Ndigbo. The war ended with the proclamation of ‘no victor, no vanquished’ by the Gowon administration. The proclamation was a hoax. It was agreed that the Igbo land would be rebuilt, but it was not implemented. Rather, all bank savings of Ndigbo were converted to twenty pounds which was equivalent of’₦20, and the balance transferred to Nigerian purse; indigenisation and abandoned property policies were implemented to impoverish Ndigbo the more.
After the war, Ndigbo were almost beggars. The Igbos were made a minority in the Eastern Nigeria with two States ( Anambra and Imo). The former minority in the Eastern Nigeria was given the states of Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom. The South-south people were made to hate the Igbos. The oil producing areas of Igbo land were ceded to non-Igbo states. This was to the annoyance and irritation of the Igbos.
During the regime of Gen Obasanjo, import licences were introduced, and Ndigbo got nothing. The licences were given to northerners and the Yorubas. Some of them sold their licences to Ndigbo. Because of anger, when goods imported by Ndigbo landed, they were seized by Federal Government.
The FG also introduced quota system to kill merits. If Igbo students scored higher in JAMB, they won’t be admitted until students from other nationalities designated as disadvantaged were admitted. That was how Ndigbo embraced private schools.
During the current state creation, Ndigbo got only five; South-south, six; south-west, six, and north over twenty. Ndigbo continued with their resilience and trade. Their sources of importation at Onne Seaport were closed in 1999. They began importing from Lagos, and the route was made impassable coupled with exorbitant import charges.
About 240 importers left Anambra for Lagos. In Lagos, Ndigbo legitimately bought empty lands and swampy areas and built their houses and other investments. They got approvals from government. Ndigbo began to leave Lagos when powers that be never allowed Igbo investments to thrive.
Nigeria’s foremost indigenous industries began in Igbo land, but were destroyed by the same system. That created unemployment among our youths. Hatred was created between Ndigbo and Niger-Delta, and Igbo race became endangered species.
Ndigbo moved to Kano, and it is the same problem. Ndigbo left for Abuja, and they began experiencing the same thing. Our people are suffering. They brought Boko Haram by opening borders for criminals. Our governors sign documents before winning elections so they can become stooges to oppress their brothers.
In politics, Nigerians agreed that it should be the turn of the Igbo through rotational presidency. But PDP and APC never allowed it. Peter Obi emerged against all odds in the 2023 general elections. INEC ensured that votes did not count. Bola Tinubu was declared winner, and the Yoruba, because Tinubu is theirs, now pounce on Ndigbo in Lagos.
They destroyed property of Ndigbo at Ladipo, Balogun, Alaba, Trade Fair, etc. They never destroyed the Igbo property in past administrations. Under Tinubu and Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, oppressive measures are being used against Igbos in Lagos with no justification.
Piqued by deplorable and helpless conditions Ndigbo are going through in their country, Nnamdi Kanu came up as biblical Moses and canvassed that if Ndigbo would not get their share, allow them to go. That was how he was hunted down, and despite court rulings freeing him, FG refused. They want him dead. Ndigbo engaged in protest, and some of them ended up dumped at the lagoon.
Peter Obi, during the litigation to reclaim his mandates, never instigated violence. Buhari came and gave employment to his people. Tinubu is doing the same. Both believe in favouritism. Ndigbo are not giving employment. Ndigbo are not complaining. What have Ndigbo done?
Two things must happen: to take Ndigbo as partners in decision-making of government in Nigeria or let us go. Ndigbo want one Nigeria. We are law-abiding. Allow us to do our trading because that is the only thing we can do since we are not allowed to preside over the affairs of this country. But Ndigbo won’t be allowed to be.
If you want Ndigbo to leave Lagos, let FG peacefully quantify Igbo property in Lagos and settle the owners. It should not be a case of abandoned property again. Stop using the federal might to fight Ndigbo. There should be immediate compensation for Igbo property already destroyed. Let every Igbo man submit all their investments in Lagos, and get compensated so they can return to Alaigbo peacefully. It is our plea. We are not begging. Our investments across the federation can never be in vain. This is the last cry, or Igbo people will defend themselves again.
If an Igbo man becomes president, Nigeria will become United States. But such will never be allowed. We have seen the war; we lost almost five million souls. If Hausa and Yoruba love Nigeria, where are their investments across the federation? We don’t want marginalisation. Our youths are intelligent. Tinubu should rethink, and stop this carnage against the Igbo. In Lagos, only Igbo properties are discriminately marked for demolition.
Signed: Eze Okwuchukwu C. Nwosu, Eze Isiobi Ndigbo I UK and Ireland.