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USAfrica Flashback: Haiti’s Igbo ancestry and recognition of Biafra. By President Francois Duvalier (in 1969)

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USAfricaonline.com Flashback: Haiti’s Igbo ancestry and recognition of Biafra in 1969.

The March 22, 1969 statement by  DR. FRANCOIS ‘Papa Doc’ DUVALIER (April 14, 1907 – April 21, 1971), PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI (from 1957 to 1971), ON THE RECOGNITION OF THE REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA AS A SOVEREIGN STATE.

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Special to Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks, USAfricaonline.com, USAfricaNewsWire, CLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, IgbosforHaiti.com,  and the IgboEvents e-group

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Your Excellency,

I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter under date of December 10, 1968, which has been handed over to me personally by the members of the prestigious Biafran Delegation, Dr. Okechukwu Ikejiani and Mr. Chukwuma Azikiwe, in the course of a special audience held in the National Palace on February 20th 1969.

It is with a feeling of great pain that I concerned myself with this important document and analysed the various stages of the tragic condition prevailing in Nigeria ever since 1966. Both the Haitian people and myself have greatly appreciated the basic reasons which prompted you in delegating an extraordinary mission to thePresident for Life of the first independent Negro Republic in the world, that Republic which for over a century and a half incarnated alone Negro dignity and pride while at the same time proving the capability of our race to self government.

I have watched with heart sorrows the distressing events which – only in the course of May to October 1966 – culminated in the massacres of some 30,000 persons originating from the East of Nigeria and which plunged over 3 million into despair, physical and moral woes.. The serious consequences brought about by the arbitrary division of Nigeria into twelve states have not escaped my notice either. My attention has been especially held by the commendable efforts achieved by the African Unity Organisation and numerous Heads of State and politicians of the Black Continent with an eye to reaching a solution to the crisis in Nigeria. But the clash of weapons goes on clanging, the number of victims increasing, and the destruction of the country being ruthlessly pursued.

On July 29th, 1968, I answered in the following way the appeal of Dr. Douglas, President of the Council on Afro-Jamaican Affairs, Kingston, Jamaica:

“I did receive your cable under date of July 18 by which the Council of Afro-Jamaican Affairs request my support and relief for thousands of Biafrans, victims of the unfortunate civil war between Biafra and the Federal Government of Nigeria. I will be happy to join my efforts to those of numerous international agencies concerning themselves already with this serious problem, and have asked of the qualified services of my government to study it with a view to decisions to be taken under the dual criterion of the human aspect of the question and of the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other peoples which is one of the foundations of my foreign policy.”

On August 19th 1968, granting to African questions the prominent place to which they are entitled in my foreign policy, I addressed, through the Permanent Mission of Haiti to the U.N.O., the following telegram to the U.N.Secretary General, U Thant:

“Reference your cable August 19th 1968 instant, I think it is my duty to remind you that the Haitian Government cannot fail to express in all occasion its solidarity with the Biafrans whose ancestors played a capital role in the glorious epic of 1804. Numerous African countries have already recognised the Government of Biafra and some Western countries, moved by the heroism of her sons will support the right of the Biafran people to self-determination. Such are, regarding this question, the guidelines of my thoughts which I request of you to take into account during the debates.”

A left-over of colonialism which worked relentlessly at destroying the structures of Negro-African civilisations and demarcating boundaries with her own interests as the sole criterion, Federal Nigeria has never since her independence shown the distinctive mark of a united nation. It has been impossible for her to silence tribal rivalries – to achieve the mixture of ethnic and cultures likely to secure national unity.

A comparative analysis with the territorial extension and the population of many countries having a seat in U.N.O. underscores the importance of Biafra, which extends over 29,400 square miles and groups more than 14 million inhabitants. Culture, geography and inter-group unions have woven all along history close links between the four great ethnic entities forming the Biafran population, viz. Igbos, Ijaws, Efiks and Ogojas. Thanks to the resources of her sub-soil and the desperately hard work of her sons, Biafra has been for long since a powerful economic entity an object of the most diverse covetous desires.

The vocation of the first independent Negro Republic in the world to secure everywhere the defence of the prestige and dignity of our race, its conditions of an extra-continental state added to the fact that it does not seek any personal advantage, put Haiti in a privileged position to cause the voice of right, wisdom and equity to he heard. My long experience of office – for twelve years I have been presiding over the destinies of the Republic – taught me that it is labouring under a delusion when dealing with situations taking on such a tragic cast to rely on international organisations and still less on some foreign powers that take unfair advantage of our divisions and harbour no sincere wish of a return to peace in Nigeria.

My political philosophy and the struggle which I am firmly carrying on in Haiti, in the basin of the Antilles and on the large international stage against Marxism-Leninism cause me to consider with apprehension the ever-increasing influence of communism in Nigeria. The planes, weapons and experts of Soviet Russia are playing a paramount role in the conflict. In fact, that great European power is eager to transform Nigeria into a satellite country and make sure of an operational base in the very heart of Africa, a new stage of its dream of world domination- a dream that dates back to Peter the Great and Catherine II.

The profound and generalised resentment of Nigeria against Biafra together with the will of domination of some nations jeopardise the future of Biafrans and threaten to destroy the glorious Igbo tribes, descendants of those men who contributed to the founding of the Haitian homeland.

From the point of view of international law as such, and account being taken of such norms as are generally agreed upon, I am of the opinion that Biafra fulfils the essential conditions to constitute a nation, namely: a material element, the territory and more especially, a human element: the population. The said human element is united by race, religion, language, history, a set of laws. It is, furthermore, consolidated by the moral unity and the common will of Biafrans to group themselves under one banner. This general resolve adding to the community of origin and interest: The nation Biafra does exist, and, therefore, it is for her a scared duty to organise herself as a free and sovereign state.

The Recognition which the Government of the Republic of Haiti solemnly gives to the Republic of Biafra is based upon the cardinal principal of its foreign policy, namely the indefeasible right of peoples and governments to decide freely of their destiny. This recognition of the Republic of Biafra as a free and sovereign state is in keeping in line with my doctrine of government to participate in the defence of oppressed states and peoples. Besides humanitarian reasons: this doctrine aims at a return of a just and lasting peace between Nigeria and Biafra. A peace which could be enriched by an economic federation likely to assure the well-being of the populations.

I think it is my duty to express the fervent wish that this disinterested act bearing the imprint of wisdom accomplished by the first independent Negro Republic in the world, summit of the black world, be a symbol, an example, a source of inspiration for the governments and peoples of Africa. It constitutes the contribution of our unique experience as a Negro nation to the resumption of a brotherly dialogue between Nigeria and the Republic of Biafra.

I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurances of my highest and distinguished consideration.

Signed: Dr. Francois Duvalier, President, Republic of Haiti


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USAfrica Publisher Chido Nwangwu likens Haiti 2010 earthquake to “visitation of armageddon”

News release via USAfricaNewsWire, Jan 16, 2010:

“Where’s the Pan-Africanist support needed through Haiti’s dark days?”,  asks USAfrica’s Chido Nwangwu

http://usafricaonline.com/haiti-earthquake-panafrican-chido2010/

Special to USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com

As the efforts by the greater world community continue to tackle the crises following the hundreds of thousands of deaths and destruction from the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, a call has been made for more persons of African descent and governments to intervene boldly.

In making this case, the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks and the first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com, ChidoNwangwu, “appeals to all persons, especially African civic groups, governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses to contribute their financial support to offer some existential light through these dark days of Haiti.”

Dr. Nwangwu who served as an adviser on Africa issues/business community to the Mayor of Houston, Texas, notes “especially persons  of African heritage and descent must rise to this historic and tragic challenge. We are required to provide relief to our kinfolks in Haiti, and play valuable roles…. USAfrica is supporting and will continue to mobilize and raise more awareness across our communities and readership around the world by highlighting these tragic events and the quests for relief and reconstruction at the world’s

oldest democratic republic of persons of African descent, Haiti.”

Nwangwu, recipient of public policy and journalism awards, points out that: “The Igbo and Haitians share some common ancestral origins, as particularly and clearly articulated by Haiti’s first President Dr. Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier in his 1969 declarative and lucid statement supporting the sovereign state of Biafra (mainly Igbos, out of Nigeria) published on USAfricaonline.com.”

USAfrica (and USAfricaonline.com, characterized by The New

York Times as the  largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks)  established May 1992,

Offering a philosophical reflection on the scope of the problems, he says: “Merely viewing the images/video of distress and decimation of life and environment, Haiti’s shattering earthquake of January 12, 2010 and its aftershock seem like a filmic creation of a fictional, gharish visitation and enactment of armageddon! But it is so sadly, painfully real. The litany of death and despoliation. The dust and carnage and blood! More dust and destruction and more deaths, and more blood….We have to rise to this human tragedy, humanitarian task and pan-African challenge.”

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Chido Nwangwu, former member of the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria (1989-1990), is the Founder & Publisher of first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; The Black Business Journal, CLASSmagazine, PhotoWorks.TV, AchebeBooks.com, USAfrica.TV and several blogs. He served on Houston former Mayor Lee Brown’s international business advisory board (Africa),  appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, NBCNews, CBSNews, ABCNews FOXNews affiliates and honored by the Washington-D.C.-based National Immigration Forum for utilizing multimedia to fight authoritarianism and foster freedom of expression; served on the board of the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S., the NAACP (Houston);  publicity committee of the Holocaust Museum, Houston; recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009.

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e-mail: Chido@USAfricaonline.com

wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436). office: 713-270-5500

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USAfricaonline.com news feature: The Mutallabs of Nigeria: terror-bound son Farouk and business mogul father Umar. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica. http://usafricaonline.com/mutallabs-chido-usafrica/

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Enyidigwe Uche

    May 17, 2010 at 4:11 am

    I think Ohanaeze should liaise with World Igbo congress and organize special help for Haitians.Time has come for the needy Haitians to be moved back home. Adoption of Haitians orphans should be a thing of priority by Igbo’s at home and abroad. I know that at least 7-8 million Igbo’s live in Cameroon, close to that no in Ghana, Gabon, Ivory Coast, USA etc. We should embark on wide spread adoption and evacuation of the most needful ones back home. Igbo governors should do more than send Dollars. They are not foreigners they are our people. It is also known that Most Black Americans and the Caribbean’s are Igbo’s. Time has come for reorganization of the world Igbo congress and Igbos in diasporas.

  2. Coleman Asomba Emeju

    January 23, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    God bless history, those that made history and those that have preserved history for future consumption but most importantly, those that understands the saying that "one thing history has made us to learn is that we cannot learn anything from history" What we do today to assist Haiti is what makes us. The entire Igbo descendants living in South Africa, under the common understanding and guidance of the one of today's Pro-Biafra Movement (Biafra National Congress of Southern Africa) is raising fund for relief efforts in Haiti. 100% of all funds raised will be donated through the Haiti Mission in South Africa. It may not be much, but we are not leaving our faith to history alone.

  3. GINIKACHI

    January 20, 2010 at 6:37 am

    We all should try to donate money to the victims of haitian earthquake,find how u can help in your country of resident.The Haitians are great people and i believe the lord is with the them and will always be with them.

  4. TIMOTHY C. NGANWUCHU

    January 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    OUR STATIONS IN LIFE AND OUR PLACES OF ABODE HAS MADE IT REMARKABLY DIFFICULT FOR THE IGBOS AND PEOPLE OF IGBO DESCENT TO COME UNDER ONE UMBRELLA. REGARDLES, IT IS WORTH THE WHILE FOR WE TO DONATE THROUGH CHARITABLE ORGANISATIONS OF OUR CHOICE. IT IS NO MORE "HEAR SAY", HAITIANS ARE 'IGBOS' PERIOD. HISTORY IS WONDERFUL.

  5. Sir Ugo G.C. Umunnak

    January 17, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Remarkable piece of history. Thank you very much for saving the record and let us to read for our needful.

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AFRICA

World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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