MARGINALIZATION OF THE IGBOS SINCE THE END OF THE CIVIL WAR
Any well meaning Nigeria will be conversant and at home with the fact that since after the civil war the igbos have been marginalized and there is even no hope of the stop of the marginality. They are treated like they do not matter. In the words of the award winning novelist Chinua Achebe, the country we (Igbos) fought for (Struggle for independence) treated us like strangers.
The conflict was as a result of political, economic, cultural, ethnic and religious tensions especially the ethno-religious violence and anti-Igbo pogroms in Northern Nigeria, a military coup, counter coup and the persecution of igbo living in Northern Nigeria.
The happenings led to secession after a declaration by the military governor of the Eastern Nigeria. “Now therefore, I, Lieutenant Colonel Chujwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu military governor of the Eastern Nigeria by the virtue of the authority and pursuant to principles recited above, do hereby solemnly proclaim that the territory and region known as and called Eastern Nigeria together with her continental shelf and territorial waters shall henceforth be an independent sovereign state of the name and title of “The Republic of Biafra” and the rising sun was chosen as the symbol of the new country.
The Nigerian troops made a coastal blockade and as a result used the weapon of starvation to wipe out two million Biafran Civilians who perished from famine. Though the images of the malnourished biafran children saturated the western media and then enabled a significant rise in the funding and prominence of international non-governmental organizations to come to the refuge of the biafrans notable among the countries being France and Israel
The Nigerian government declared war while the East defended herself. The war was the worst nightmare of the biafrans.
She witnessed the loss of so many lives and properties. So many young girls were sexually molested and forced into captivity by soldiers to become their wives or made objects of sexual gratifications.
Large number of refugees never returned home. Most times when you listen to people that survived the war recount their ordeals and experience, they will tell you that so and so person never survived the war. They died in battle and had the open field for their burial ground.
Children lost their lives to kwashiorkor and malnutrition. Looking at the pictures taken during the war, one wouldn’t want another war to break out because the effect is still felt till date.
There was a declaration of no victor no vanquished after the war but we know it was all fallacies, the properties of the igbos were termed abandoned properties, they went to the bank for their monies and were handed just 20 pounds, it didn’t matter if you had millions or billions in your account and you begin to ask how they were supposed to have survived, their Jobs and positions filled with little or no skilled personnel and yet we were one Nigeria.
They were made homeless, penniless and jobless. They were greeted with Indigenization policies, government properties and assets sold to themselves because Igbos couldn’t compete financially courtesy of the 20pounds policies
Despite all these, the igbos are still marginalized, Nepotism everywhere, they are hardly recognized in appointments and yet we call ourselves one Nigeria.
There was really a country according to the Novelist Chinua Achebe.
BY AKUBUO CHIGAEMEZU