Nigeria, Biafra War: Igbos Demand N2.4 Trillion ReparationFeatured, Latest News, News Friday, March 7th, 2014
IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu
The pan Igbo- socio cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, has demanded the payment of N2.4 trillion as reparation and restitution from the federal government over what it called “the killings, violations, atrocities and injustices against them in Nigeria since 1966.”
Briefing newsmen on Thursday in Enugu, on behalf of Ohaneze, Minister of Aviation in the first Republic and Chairman, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Reparation Committee, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, described as “incalculable”, the price on the death of millions of Ndigbo killed in the Nigerian/ Biafran civil war and on other occasions.
He said the amount is meant to cushion the sufferings the zone had passed through in the country, pointing out that each of the five states of the South-East would receive a token of N400 billion from the money as compensation as well as Delta State for the benefit of Anioma area of the state.
The Igbo umbrella body regretted that about 15 years after Ohanaeze Ndigbo sent a petition to the Oputa Panel for the reparation and appropriate restitution for the crimes committed against the Igbos, government had refused to address the issues.
“Having waited for 15 years, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on May 25, 2013 set up a reparation and restitution committee to dust up the petition and revisit the issue.
“The organization has had cause to reflect on the long chain of injustices, atrocities and deprivation which have been inflicted on Igbos over the years in respect of which there seems to be no end.
“These are taking place in a country which great Igbo sons and daughters spearheaded its founding.
According to Oheaneze, the spirits of millions of Igbo men, women and children who have been unjustly murdered over the years are crying for justice.
“It is incalculable to put a price on the death of millions of Ndigbo who were killed in the civil war and are still being killed by Boko Haram in the North east Nigeria.
“In January 1966, some officers in the Nigerians Army organized a coup d’etat and overthrew the government of nationalists and founding fathers of the federation.
“A carefully planned pogrom and genocide was unleashed on the Igbos mainly in the north.
“On May 29, 1966, they commenced what they called “ARABA” test riots and this lasted for seven agonizing days where hundred Igbos were killed.
“On July 29, 1966, in what was termed ‘counter revolution and ethnic cleansing’, which began with the heartless killing of Major Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi and over 300 military officers and men of Igbo origin escalated into the massacre of unsuspecting Igbo civilians, men, women and children in many northern towns on a scale unprecedented in any part of the world even more gruesome than the killings of Jews.
“This forced hundreds of thousands of Igbos to flee back to the East abandoning all their properties in the North. As many of them were received at Enugu Airport and railway station, most arrived with broken limbs, some with eyes plucked, some with cut off arms and one body without a head.
“At Benue River at Makurdi, soldiers stopped trains evacuating Igbos to the East and picked out Igbo men, women and children, shot them and threw their bodies into the river. Some of the children were thrown alive into the river.
They said “Official figures estimated that 50,000 Igbos were killed in this operation which lasted for many days”.
Mbazuluike added that on September 30, 1968, the Nigerian soldiers murdered two delegates of the International Red Cross, two missionary workers and several other relief workers and more than 200 civilians at Okigwe.
“Ndigbo further stated that on the same day, some Biafran leaders of thought were invited for a meeting at Textile Mill, Aba where a bomb dropped shortly before the commencement of the meeting killing several civilians.
The body noted that when the war ended in 1970 with the declaration of no victor, no vanquished, the atrocities continued on Ndigbo where all their property in Rivers State including houses, shops, factories were seized in the name of abandoned properties.’
“No compensations were paid to the landlords or those who lost other property.
“The federal government made a law and adopted a banking policy that all moneys owed by Igbos in the banks should be reduced to nil balance and Igbo adults who presented themselves should be given a ridiculous amount of 20 pounds he recalled.
Ndigbo also lamented the brutal murder on December 26, 1994 of Gedion Akaluka
in the presence of government officials in Bompai Prison of Kano by some Islamic fundamentalists, stressing that it was more devastating that they cut his head, hoisted it on a spike and paraded in the streets with law enforcement agents looking away.
Chief Amaechi said that on June 8. 2005, six young Igbo traders were gunned down at Apo in Abuja, stressing that till today, government has refused to bring to trail, police officers who committed the act, lamenting that in the present killings in the north by the Boko Haram, several Igbos have been killed in churches, markets, motor parks and their homes among other places.
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