Search this Site and the Web

Sunday, September 16, 2012

War without end

By Alvan Ewuzie

*Bombs still kill and maim Nigerians 42 years after the civil war
*Some found in Chinua Achebe's house
*45 thousand unexploded remnants still litter various theatres

Obasi Kelechi Vivian was nine years old in 1999. She accompanied her mother to the farm that year and as the woman got engrossed in weeding, a long object lying within the vicinity attracted the girl. She burrowed into the ground and literally excavated part of the object's remnants from the soil and fount it intriguing. Perhaps, curiosity or adventure took the better part of her. She began dissecting the object and touched 'somewhere'. The unimaginable happened.
The object exploded and she collapsed. A distraught mother let loose her voice in calling for help. When the girl recovered in the hospital, her right leg had been shattered. All efforts to save the leg came to naught. Today that leg is gone, amputated from the knee. A stump stands at her laps as crutches now help her walk. She has lost her right leg to unexploded bombs used in a war, which ended 19 years before she was born.

She said her interest in the war has so waned that she now does not want to know anything about the event. She does not know why the war was fought and as things stand, does not want to know. This happened at Ezinihitte Mbaise. In 1973 Ogueri and his elder sister, Adamma, walked on a bush path, leading to the farm in Ezeoke Nsu, Ehime Mbano Local Local Government Area of Imo state. His sister shepherded him out of the way of soldier ants. But she stepped on an object, Ogueri explained tearfully, and it exploded shattering her lower limb.
He escaped and shouted for help as he dragged his sister away. When they got to the hospital profuse bleeding had weakened her. Sadly, she passed to the great beyond from the impact of the explosion of an object later identified as landmine. Unintended war The forgoing represent a tiny segment of 516 victims of unexploded bombs and sundry remnants of weapons used during the three-year Nigerian civil war. It ended officially in January 1970. Scores of them died on their farms, some in heavily contaminated schools, used by the warring factions, That the explosives still lie dangerously on many farm lands, schools and homes in the entire South-east, South-south, Benue and Nassarawa States buoys opinions that the unfortunate civil war has continued unabated. Parts of Nigeria thus remain in war by other means.
But such unintended wars are global since abandoned land mines decimated over 20,000 in several war zones across the world, literally compelling 149 nations (excluding United States of America and a few others) to sign the Ottawa Convention on March 1, 1999, in Canada where Nigeria was listed as one of the landmine affected nations.

The treaty banned land mines as instruments of war. They remain potent long after the war. What Yar'Adua did When Nigeria signed the instrument of accession to the convention on July 2, 2001 and formally deposited same at the United Nations on September 27 of the same year, it meant that land mines ought not to be seen anywhere in the country. By virtue of that convention, also known as Mine Ban Treaty (MBT), the country got a deadline of March 1, 2012, to remove land mines from its territory. It was the late President Yar'Adua, who took the first step to remove the mines that had decimated people from the war ravaged zones.

This came 39 long years after the war when uncountable explosives had killed and maimed several victims. But the sad reality is that the country is light years away from being free from explosive remnants of war. Yar'Adua hired Dr. Bala Yakubu, a seasoned expert in the rare field of delicate extraction of land mines and removal of explosive remnants of war. Yakubu, whose firm, Deminers Concept, stands as the lone expert in West Africa and is highly rated by the United Nations swung into action. His team has removed land mines but they found other unexploded remnants of war. "I was amazed by what we found.
Many schools where students still go to school are heavy dump locations. As I speak to you, no less that six schools in different war zone states, exemplified by Aquinas Secondary School, Osu in Imo State, are still riddled with explosive remnants. There are several others like that. We had to cordon off some classrooms and told the school authorities never to allow students near those places until we remove the explosives' he told Daily Sun. Schools remain contaminated When this reporter visited the school, five abandoned class rooms were clearly marked 'danger zone keep off'. But the warning had been late in coming.

His Royal Majesty Eze Udo Charles Obinna, traditional ruler of the community, said explosives killed someone in the school in 1980. He expressed worry that the place, which was used by the Biafrans as amoury and manufacturing centre for war equipment, had remained largely unattended to although he expressed gratitude to deminers concept for the bit it had done so far. 653 unexploded ordinances had already been removed from the school. More litter the premises. A war ravaged armoured car still stood in the premises 43 years after when the reporter visited. In Benue State, people were shocked when unexploded war explosives were recovered from a school at the North bank section of Makurdi.
Several bombs were recovered in Kastina Ala, Aliade and Gboko, all in Benue. Contaminated locations in the affected states have been listed as Abia, 65; Anambra, 68; Akwa Ibom 53, Bayelsa 18, Benue, 18; Cross River, 67; Delta, 71; Ebonyi, 58; Enugu, 108; Imo, 87; Nassarawa, 2; and Rivers, 67. Farmers die on their farms The implications is that many farmers may well be literally planting on top of bombs that can go off with the right pressure as explained by Alloysius Akputu, chief deminer at the consultancy firm. At the Owerri zonal office of the Deminers concept Limited, Aloysius told Daily Sun that people ignorantly kept some unexploded weapons in their homes before the removal process began.

Field administrator of the project Dr. Emeka Uhuegbu, told this reporter that a contaminated location in Igritta, Rivers State, had been dubbed 'evil forest' and declared an anathema by indigenes, who did not know that explosions that greet them on every attempt to enter the place were unexploded remnants of war. "We have done a lot of sensitisation, which is why people call us each time they see such strange objects. But we need to do more so that people will know that some of them are literally sitting on kegs of gunpowder," he said.
He admitted that the initial skepticism by natives, who thought the demining and removal projects were a subtle way of taking their farm land, has long changed such that they are anxious to have the dangerous elements removed from their homes and farmlands. Bombs in Chinua Achebe's country home Several have been removed. Three 81 mm mortar bombs were removed from the country home of Professor Chinua Achebe at Ogidi in Idemili LGA in Anambra State. The Russian made bombs, according to experts, could turn the house to rubbles. Bombs were also removed a few metres from the country home of Chief Ikedi Ohakim, immediate past governor of Imo State. Some have been removed close to the Government House in owerri.

But the sad story is that Deminers Concept has been forced, as it were, to leave the various locations. They have not been paid.There are no funds to continue the job, which will take no less than two years to complete. "I am very concerned about the danger to which human lives are being exposed in the affected areas and I had to borrow money to continue the job, waiting for our payment. For now, we can no longer continue except we are paid,'' said Dr. Bala Yakubu, whose firm still attends to emergency cases.
''We have been incapacitated by lack of funds and I feel bad that unexploded remnants of war still litter many parts of the affected areas,'' he added. Nigeria failing the U.N. The situation runs contrary to Nigeria's promise to the United Nations as a signatory to the Ottawa Convention. Between November 29 and December 3, 2010, Ambassador Maria O. Laose, Director, International Organisations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented Nigeria at the 10th meeting of state parties to the Otawa Convention. In the meeting, she told the United Nations via a speech obtained by Daily Sun that the country was removing land mines and other unexploded remnants of war and that Deminers Concept were working so hard that the country was bound to meet the March 2012 deadline. She said Nigeria was truly committed to the letter and spirit of the Ottawa Convention. Lack of funds has thrown spanners into the works.
But a sore point in the entire saga has remained unattended to. Victims of landmines, said to be above 500, have been left to rot but the United Nations recommend that they be rehabilitated. Non of them has received any assistance from the government. This newspaper learnt that the Government accepted to rehabilitate them with a paltry N250.000 (Two hundred and fifty thousand Naira) each. The sum was included in one of the previous budgets but no victim of the lot we met admitted that he had received anything as compensation.

Authorities at Deminers Concept also say they have seen no such funds. But Dr. Yakubu told this reporter that he was aware of such recommendation but nothing had been given to him to pass on to the victims. ''Some of the victims now insinuate that we have held back to their funds, yet we have seen no such money,'' said Emeka Uhuegbu, Field Administrator of Deminers Concept at the zonal headquarters in Owerri. Court to the rescue A politician and human rights lawyer, Honourable Noel Agwuocha, has gone to court on behalf of the victims. ''I would not talk about what should be done to the victims since the matter is in court.
I leave the court to decide what should be done,'' he told this newspaper in Owerri. Agwuocha, who was former Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly, has also instituted a suit at the Ecowas Court against the Federal Government, insisting that the apparent abandonment of explosive remnants of war, several decades after the war, was inhuman. ''Our farm lands have been rendered useless by these bombs. These bombs last for 200 years and above as long as they remain unexploded. So, as they are all around us, it means we are living in danger. As I speak to you now, unexploded bombs recovered from the various sites are kept at the premises of Deminers Concept within New Owerri, near Concord Hotel and the Imo State Government, led by Rochas Okorocha, has not deemed it fit to give them a piece of land to bury them,'' fumed the lawyer. Elite indifference People at the Deminers Concept lament the elite in the affected zones, especially in the South-east, have not stood up to government to insist that these dangerous explosives be properly removed.
''The Igbo people of today are no longer the strong, hard-fighting people I knew,'' said Dr Bala Yakubu. ''They should have taken up this matter and ensured that these things are removed. How can I be the one to be expending my own resources, doing these things and they are not pushing for these explosives abandoned in their bushes, killing and maiming people, should be removed.'' Asked to recount his frustrations, Yakubu said outside the funds owed his firm by the government that has now grounded the work, one of his regrets is that he is not getting the kind of support he expects from the political elite in the affected areas.
''Why has a motion not been moved on such a serious matter on the floor of the National Assembly up till now?'' Asked Noel Agwuocha in continued condemnation of attitude of the political elite in the affected areas. Agwuocha says there is likelihood that President Goodluck Jonathan is unaware of this matter. Daily Sun learnt that top ranking politicians erected high walls when attempts were made to get them to champion the cause for the removal of the explosives. ''Some people at the ministry of defence do not want him to know this or they deliberately intercept mails to the president on this matter and ensure they do not get to him.

I do not see how he would know about this laudable thing started by late Yar'Adua and not ensure that it is completed. It will be politically dangerous if he ignores this matter, which even has international angle. I hope he does not because some people can make a political capital out of the matter. Those who block the mails to him on this matter are not doing him any good,'' said the former Speaker of Imo House of Assembly.
Victims in helpless mood However, the pendulum swings back and forth, victims remain at the receiving end. Their hope of new lives, consequent upon rehabilitation, has tarried in the realm of unfulfilled dreams.
Some still take pensive looks at their clutches and, perhaps, ruminate in nostalgia of their previous state before the ugly incident that deformed them. ''I have no house to live in,'' said Ngozi Okere from Uturu Ngor Okpala in Imo State, "and I know I would not be helpless to this point but for the way I have been disabled. Ten years after the war, I went to clear the bush in the village to enable me farm. As I was doing the clearing I hit on an object and it exploded and shattered my leg. My people treated locally but when the thing did not get better they took me to the hospital and my leg was amputated. If I was whole, I may have got a house for the family and me. I expect help from the government for suffering from the effects of a war that was fought when I was a kid. I am 48 now and the war ended 43 years ago.
Why should I be maimed as a result of a battle I knew nothing about? Now I am unable to take care of my family and myself. I feel very sad and I need rehabilitation,'' he lamented. Another victim, named Jude, told this newspaper that he had the injury that shattered his right arm in 1975. His father hired labourers to cultivate the farm. Jude accompanied his father there. ''One of the labourers asked me to give him water. I went to hand him water and his knife hit something that exploded. I barley stretched my hand to give him water when the explosion took place. It threw me off while the labourer died instantly. Later, it was identified as bomb explosion.

At the end of the day, I lost my arm. See what the explosion has made of me. I have four children and we have no roof over our heads. I am a produce buyer but now I have no money to buy any more and life is becoming increasingly difficult for an injury caused by a war that should long be forgotten. People like us remain permanent reminders of the war and it is only fair for us to be helped out of our predicament,'' . 
The victims have remained helpless. Workers at Deminers Concept have become vicarious victims. Their regional office in owerri lies forlorn. Over 95 per cent of their permanent and casual staff have been laid off. Only skeletal staff still report to the office.
But there are well over 45,000 unexploded remnants of war, waiting to be removed across 12 states in the country. 17, 522 remnants have so far been removed but many more still remain potent in the soil and may claim more lives or maim more people.
The government may dither on the matter but no one knows whose limb may be cut off next or who will be forcibly sent to the great beyond. From our findings, the country could be paid back for whatever expediture incurred in the process of removing the mines and unexploded renants of war. United Nations undertakes to underwrite such expenditure, which makes it strange that Nigeria seems to slack on the matter, thus making the 1967 incident to remain war without end.

No comments:


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


Biafra Videos: Explosive secret about Biafra...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Featured Post


Topics: Mindset of the enemy. Yoruba were in world's best universities when Usman dan fodio was still learning to ride a horse Th...