Biafra: A Cry For Justice
By Kalu Nwokoro Idika
It was on the night of 30th May 2007 that I accosted my father, Kalu Idika where he was sited quietly reflecting over an issue only him knew what it was. I greeted and sat down with him. Worried by his unusual solemn disposition, I asked him, Nna Kalu, why are you so quiet like this? He answered and said, “ogbo nnanya, I’m reminiscing over the exploits of the past”. While this conversation was going on, he suddenly muttered a surprising statement, “Biafra lives”. Immediately, I was transfixed and became more keen to listen to his story. Thereafter, he took me down memory lane and unbundled his experience of the sordid war that almost stripped the Igbo man naked.
“My son, I was in the village with my father who was a rich trader and farmer when the bloody war started. Then I was 13 years of age. My father who was a successful business man returned from Calabar and told us about the tremendous success the Biafran gorilla fighters were making in the war. I was in high spirit. Many of my relations in Asaga, Okoni, Amaekpu, Amangwu and Ebem Ohafia volunteered to enlist in the army. We were hungry, ready to fight and defend Biafra which was the only hope”
“Son, it was a fight against forces of extinction. The constant shelling by the Nigerian air force, the cry of the wounded innocent mothers and children engraved in my heart a wound that will never heal. I never regretted fighting the war. We fought for Justice though the enemies were too many. I still don’t believe we lost the war”. These were the sober words of late Idika Kalu after the end of the bloody civil war.
After the Biafra genocide, the Nigerian government initiated what it termed the 3 Rs: Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reconciliation. But has there really been any of these? Has there been any reconstruction? Has there been a rehabilitation? What of reconciliation? Far from it! A lot of Easterners are still moving about with wounds that were covered to fester. Rehabilitation is to rebuild that which was. And this points to both human and material. The Nigerian government never bothered to rebuild. Hence, since they did not bother to rebuild, how can they reconstruct for there to be reconciliation? The war cost the East so much, both in human and material resources. Therefore, I will not be saying the truth if I should say that much has been done to ameliorate the pains and loss of the Eastern region of Nigeria after the bloody war between Nigeria and Biafra. They claim equal rights to all Nigerian, yet we know for a certain that Easterners are treated as second class citizens. Thus, it has made the Easterners to become the proverbial bat which is neither of the earth nor of the sky.
Millions of Biafrans across the globe are still recounting their loses and pain, 50 years after the war. The evil has lingered enough, and we have to bale the water now that it’s an ankle deep before the evil that will come with it will consume what’s left of Nigeria. Nepotism and inequality is the premise upon which Nigeria operates. As such, there will be no amount of argument that will be convincing enough to substantiate the unconstitutional and wicked actions of power brokers in Nigeria, as to why the Eastern region should be systematically sidelined from every economic project that will better the wellbeing of it’s inhabitants after the mayhem inflicted on the region.
Since the end of the civil war, the East has suffered in the hands of political Mafias who felt the Igbo people of Nigeria crossed the red line. So, in other to deter the region from nursing the idea of abandoning the one Nigeria project in the nearest future, plans must always be in the pipeline to stop any veritable decision that will revitalize a region that hunger for both economic and political development
I wonder why the hen that lays the eggs which other regions are plundering continues to beg for crumbs in other to eat and survive. Why should it be so? A workman is deserving of his wages. 80% of the national revenue that sustains Nigeria is generated from the sweat and pain of the East, but there’s nothing to show for it within the region. It becomes a case of monkey dey work, baboon dey chop.
Until justice is served, Biafra question will continue to persist. “One Nigeria” will forever remain a fiasco if the Igbo man doesn’t get justice.