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CNNInternational interview with Nigeria'sPresident Obasanjo and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu onDemocracyand Security Issues
Genocide against theIgbo continues in Onicha....
By Professor HerbertEkwe-Ekwe
Exclusive and Special to USAfricaonline.com,USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston; IgboEventsblog and CLASSmagazine
London, July 13, 2006: It is now a fortnight since the Nigerianmilitary and police embarked on their "shoot atsight"/search-and-destroyoperation in Onicha and neighbouring towns and villages in theAnambra region of Igboland. The rest of Igboland (particularly thecentral regions that cover the Aba, Umuahia, Owere triangle) is, forall intents and purposes, encircled by these forces with devastatingconsequences. Nigeria's President retired army General OlusegunObasanjo, without any approval or oversight by the legislature, hasessentially placed Igboland under martial law and it appears thatthis declaration is for an indefinite duration.
Igbo men and women, especially the youth, are being shot dead withunrelenting ferocity by troops who have orders to murder the Igbo asindiscriminately as their commanders deem fit. Scores of Igbo womenand girls have been raped and gang-raped by the troops, several inthe presence of their families and friends. Millions of dollars worthof personal and corporate property have been destroyed by themilitary during the period. Convoys of military truck carting awaylooted goods from the Onicha market and elsewhere in the Igbo countryhave been reported heading to west and north Nigeria, from where mostof the troopscurrently on this rampage are based.
A vandal army is ruthlessly on the loose.
Genocide, of catastrophic proportions, has been unleashed inIgboland in these past two weeks. It is a continuation of the Igbogenocide that started in the sabon gari residential districts ofHausa-Fulani/north Nigeria in May 1966 which cost 100,000 Igbo livesduring the course of five horrific months, followed by the extendedsecond phase of gruesome ordeal that lasted from July 1967-January1970 when 3 million Igbo people were murdered.
This current phase has been ordered by Obasanjo, the mostviciously insensate of the genocidist officers of theAwolowoist-Yoruba wing of the Nigerian military establishment.Obasanjo has insisted, all along (since January 1970), that thepan-Nigerian genocide against the Igbo, supported by Britain and themoribund Soviet Union, failed to accomplish its desired objective:the destruction of the Igbo as a viable nation. As a result, Obasanjohas given his commanders the orders this time round to accomplish hisenvisaged goal, which he boasts will be his "legacy", as hesupposedly plans to leave office next May (2007).
No time limit for its accomplishment was set by the Obasanjo"kitchen cabinet" when the plan to "attack and destroythe Igbo youth and degrade the Igbo economy" or "bomb the Igbo," toquote another phrase that was used liberally during the deliberation,was formulated in March 2006. The meeting came in the wake of theboycott of the Nigerian census, held earlier on in that month, by anoverwhelming majority of the 50 million-strong Igbo population.Obasanjo blamed the disciplined and dedicated campaign of theMovement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra(MASSOB) for the success of the Igbo boycott and concluded that themovement must be "destroyed".
Obasanjo is convinced that MASSOB has effectively dislodged thestring of anti-Igbo obusonjoist regimes and the pathetically servileAbuja-based Igbo careerists that he imposed on Igboland (since 1999)from the ambience of dominant Igbo popular political opinion. Inaddition, most Igbo endorse MASSOB's politics of the reestablishmentof Biafran independence by peaceful means. It was within this contextof the regime's appreciation of MASSOB's popularity in Igboconsciousness that Kayode Are, the commander of the notorious statesecurity service, stated (in an Abuja press briefing soon after theMarch 2006 "kitchen cabinet" to "bomb the Igbo") that there "are 2million members of MASSOB in the registers that I have seen." Ofcourse, no such registers exist. Are's was the most insidious commentever, emanating from an operative who serves one of the world's mostinefficiently-run states. Nigeria does not know how much oil it pumpsout of its oil fields daily, despite being dependent on thiscommodity for most of its income, does not know the population of thepeoples that make up the country, does not know the number of doctorsin the country, does not know the levels of its infant mortality,does not know the levels of its maternal mortality, does not know thelevels of male/female life expectancy, does not know the number ofpeople in its population affected by the HIV/AIDS virus Ifthis state has no ready, verifiable answers to these easily,quantifiable constructs, it is highly unlikely that it can exercisethe competence to inform on the real membership profile of a movementsuch as MASSOB, whose site of activity is pitched centrally at therealm of conscientisation.
Instead, Are was telling the world in that March press meetingthat the envisaged campaign to "bomb the Igbo" (which startedultimately in June 2006, three months later), would be protracted, asevery Igbo in Igboland, particularly the youth, belonged to (theinnumerable) MASSOB In the degenerative minds of Obasanjo, Areand the rest of the genocidist cabal in Abuja, MASSOB and Igbo youthare interchangeable constructs that have a death stamp on theirheads. It is also important to note that the Igbo victim of thisgenocide, this time round, is no longer the "nyamiri," the "damnedIgbo" in the north region, but has now been clinically deracialisedand criminalised: he or she is a "miscreant" or "hoodlum," as manyreports from the Nigerian media on the unfolding savagery proclaimwith uncritical zeal and breathtaking insensitivity.
What is happening in Igboland currently is genocide. The followingsteps should now be taken to terminate it:
1. All Nigerian military and police forces must be withdrawn fromIgboland immediately.
2. The UN Security Council should meet in emergency session andorder the deployment of UN forces to Igboland to provide security to50 million Igbo people.
3. The UN Security Council should send the UN special rapporteuron human rights to Igboland to investigate the current genocide.
4. The UN Security Council should declare a comprehensive ban onall arms sales and transfers to Nigeria. Nigeria does not have anylegitimate external threats. All weapons currently sent to thecountry are used directly by the country's military (army, air force,navy) and police or indirectly sublet to state-procured death squadsto terrorise peoples particularly in Igboland/Niger Delta.
5. The UN Security Council should order international travelrestrictions on President Obasanjo and his wives, children, and hisextended family, and on Nigeria's military, state security service,police chiefs and other senior members of his regime. It isoutrageous for Obasanjo to be received henceforth by world leadersand international statespersons after resuming Nigeria's war ofgenocide on the Igbo people, who had already lost 3.1 millionchildren, women and men during the 1966-1970 phase of thisholocaust.
6. All assets abroad (particularly in South Africa, WesternEurope, the Americas and elsewhere) belonging to President Obasanjoand his wives, children and extended family, and those of all themembers of his "kitchen cabinet", the Nigerian military, statesecurity service, police chiefs and other senior members of hisregime (and their families) should be sequestrated immediately.
The usually fissiparous Nigerian state, with its infamousreligio-regional warring factions have, once again as the history ofNigeria since 1945 has shown, just one seminal subject, the rallyingpoint, to agree over: the decimation of the Igbo. It is thereforeinstructive that there has been no dissention, no discord whatsoeverfrom any of these constituent sectors over the "shoot at sight"policy by the military on defenceless citizens in Igboland. Not evenfrom the offices of the human rights "community" that saturate Lagos But doesn't history already point to a record of such silence?Didn't Yoruba obas travel across north Nigeria in 1966, followingIgbo genocide phase I, "thanking" the Hausa-Fulani emirs,part-perpetrators of the genocide, for "protecting" the Yorubapopulation domiciled in the region as the Igbo were beingslaughtered? In part gratitude, the Yoruba readily joined phase II ofthe genocide in Igboland as from July 1967 and perpetrated some ofthe worst crimes against humanity on record in recent Africanhistory.
If the silence from Nigeria over the ongoing genocide in Igbolandis "understandable", this cannot be said of the reaction fromIgboland itself nor from the Igbo diaspora including the World IgboCongress, and Igbo intellectuals, who have some of the world's bestminds. Here, the silence has been sickeningly deafening, callouslyinexplicable. Igbo leaders have been silent for 15 days as hundredsof their innocent and defenceless young men and women are shot andraped and robbed and caged by the Nigerian military forces.Supposedly, this silence is keyed into the unedifying logic of "notbe seen" by the cantankerous Nigerian establishment to be"sympathetic to MASSOB and Biafra," as this would "upset" currentIgbo leadership "aspiration" to "produce" a Nigerian president ofIgbo national origin ...
The point, though, is that on the crucial subject of offeringsecurity and safeguarding the lives and property of Igbo people fromthe ravages of the Nigerian genocide state, a future president who isIgbo is hardly in the position to fulfil such a task. As the evidenceshows since 1945, Nigeria murders the Igbo. And it murders them mostbrutally. The levers to activate these murderous escapades are verymuch decentralised in the Nigerian state &endash; away from thecentral corridors of presidential or executive power. We shouldn'tforget that an Igbo was head of state in 1966 when the Hausa-Fulanilaunched the first phase of the ongoing genocide. Nothing stops thesedecentred sites of power to murder the Igbo at will even if anOkonkwo or Okafo or Okonta is president in Abuja from May 2007. Infact, given the inexorable logic of this enterprise, an Okonkwo orOkafo or Okonta in the Abuja villa could "readily order" theransacking of an Igbo town or village if the only other alternativechoice available to the president from the requesting genocidistgeneral staff is a coup d'état against the regime! It istherefore an unviable strategic goal for any Igbo to waste theenormous resources entailed, pursuing the goal of wishing to lead analready failed state whose only existentialist function, presently,is its ability to murder and desecrate.
Collective Igbo aspiration remains that of self-determination: therestoration of Biafran independence. This is an unstoppable,inalienable right to Igbo freedom. Presently, the opportunities forthe Igbo quest for the restoration of its independence have neverbeen more evident. The Igbo must now expand, most comprehensively,the range of its non-violent campaign against the Nigerian genocidestate, already begun by MASSOB with astonishing success since 1999.Each and every Igbo person, whether they live at home or abroad, mustnow cease to be a participant in their individual or collectiveenslavement/disempowerment of the nation by the Nigerian state. AllIgbo members of the Obasanjo regime especially Soludo (central bank),Okonjo-Iweala (external affairs), Asika (advisor), Uba (death-squadoperative), Ezekwesili (education), and Akunyili (drugs enforcement),all of whose hometowns are within a 50-mile arc of the epicentre ofthe ongoing genocide, must now resign their positions which are nowuntenable. They must distance themselves from this outrage or riskbeing potential defendants in future indictments at the InternationalCriminal Court at The Hague for "crimes against humanity". Other Igbomembers of the regime such as Maduekwe (advisor), Ugochukwu(advisor), Iwuanyanwu (confidant) and Nzeribe (confidant) must alsoquit at once to ensure that they are not in complicity with thesemurders of innocents. All the Igbo regional governors implicated inthis carnage &endash; Obi, Kalu, Egwu, Nnamani, Udenwa &endash; mustconsider resignation from office, immediately.
The Igbo should withdraw support from the existing regimesenforced on them by Obasanjo, in the wake of his 2003 riggedelections across Igboland, in the following administrative regions:Edo, Delta, Rivers, Abia, Ebonyi, Imo, Enugwu, Benue and Kogi. Theyshould stop paying taxes and rates to regimes that do not serve theirinterests but have instead rendered their cities such as Onicha,Ugwuocha/Port Harcourt (the well-known 'garden city' prior to theoccupation), Aba, Umuahia, Abakaliki and Owere into pyramids ofgarbage. As MASSOB has demonstrated, the Igbo have the human andmaterial resources to embark on the reestablishment of the Biafranstate forthwith. Nothing can stop this historic project. Now is thetime.
Professor Ekwe-Ekwe's new book, Biafra Revisited (AfricanRenaissance), is out on August 15, 2006. Heis a contributing editor of USAfricaonline.comand has written several books and essays on Africa and Nigeria. He isalso the author of Beyond the "failed state":Reconstituting Africa, published in 2004. He wrote in May 2001,an exclusive commentary for USAfricaonline.com titled 'Obasanjoobsession with Biafra versus facts of history', and aUSAfricaonline.com and IgboEventsexclusive insight "Genocideand why Nigeria does not deserve UN Security Councilseat."
OBASANJO'S FAILED 3RD TERM POWER-PLAY IS GOOD NEWS TO NIGERIANS,ABROAD AND HOME....USAfricaonline.com and its correspondents in Nigeriaand across the major cities of the U.S are reporting an increasingtally of anti-3rd term phone calls and e-mails from our readers. By amargin of almost 7-2, USAfricaonline.com data show that anoverwhelming majority of the politically active citizenry are happythat Nigeria's Senate halted retiredGen. Olusegun Obasanjo's stealthy, unpopular, behind-the-scenes-winkand nod power plays to secure an "unrequested" 3rd term as presidentof Nigeria (a total of 12 consecutive years).
Many Nigerians still feeldisappointed that a man (Obasanjo) who had gained so much fromNigeria would cling so tightly to power, even against the popularwill of the people, moreso with age, energy and fresh ideas for a newera not on his side.
Also, USAfricaonline.com review of Nigeria's recent history show thatPresident Obasanjo seems to be moving rapidly into the zone ofill-repute of his former military colleagues who, like him, refusedto leave office when it was time to go. Gen. yakubu Gowon in 1975;Gen. Ibrahim Babangida in 1993; Gen. Sani Abacha in1995, 1996, 1997,1998. More baffling many Nigerians we interviewed recall is thelessons of the excesses of the late Gen. Abach who jailed Obasanjowhile the former schemed to remain in power. For the specialreport by USAfrica multimedia networks' Publisher Chido Nwangwu,click on 3rdterm.
DEMOCRACYWATCH: What Bush Should TellObasanjo.... By ChidoNwangwu (Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com)
His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective ofthe true essence of his Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing anddisposition. Igbos and Jews share (with a few other other cultures)this pan-global disposition to issues of art, life, commerce,juridical pursuits, and quest to be republicanist in terms of thevitality of the individual/self. In Achebe's works, the centrality ofChi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology... itis a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude whiletaking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community.I've studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, therigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed inmost of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, becauseI share the same ancestry with him. Permit me to attempt a briefsentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here,folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle onthe Iroko, may your Lineage endure! There has never been one likeyou!
Ugo n'abo, chukwu gozie gi oo!. ChidoNwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), isFounder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (first African-ownedU.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet),USAfrica The Newspaper,CLASS magazine and TheBlack Business Journal. He has served as an adviser to theMayor of Houston on international business (Africa) and appears as ananalyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC news affiliates.
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