■ Editor: Ugochinyere Onyechere
■ Twitter: @Umuchiukwu_writ
■ April 21, 2017By the end of April 1966, the press and radio of the North had joined in the hostile campaign against the south.This mass information media were then fully employed In preparing the people's minds for the coming counter-coup, starting from the beginning of May 1966 Radio Kaduna played every day for three weeks, recorded speeches of late Sir Abubakar and Sir Ahmadu Bello. Those political campaign speeches were carefully selected to arouse tribal feelings, passion and hatred against the people of the south, while the radio networks blared the speeches; the official government daily newspaper, The new Nigerian carried daily for some time serialised articles on the Islamic war of conquest or jihad both in English and local vernaculars. It was exactly on May 29-1966 that a serious riot against the southerners kicked off inside Kaduna city, According to reports, the southerners were being beaten up and their car's smashed by northern mobs. What surprised me was the fact that policemen were said to be actively participating in some areas. The riot was more bloody than a civil war and also spreading to other northern states like Kano, Zaria, and Jos, the riot, therefore, went explosively into the North unchecked for more than 24 hours; living good numbers of southern men, women, and children dead; as they were persistently being killed all over the cities and towns in northern Nigeria. The duty officer at brigade headquarters confirmed the reports he said he contacted both the Brigade commander Bassey and governor Katsina, according to the duty officer katsina had told him that it was only he as the governor who had the authority to order an intervention by the army, that amounted to assumption of the responsibility of the Brigade commander and the Army headquarters by the governor. Governor Katsina refused the advice given to him to call on the Army immediately before the situation gets out of hand, but he refused on the ground that the police were capable of handling the situation. On the 31st day of May 1966 governor Katsina telephone Major General Madiebo had requested that he should go by Air to Kano and Katsina and bring back to him on-the-spot, situation reports to enable him to advise Ironsi, after two hours of relatively rough flight the plane landed at Kano airport where he met with the New police commissioner for Northern Nigeria Alhaji Hamman Maiduguri and Mallam Capinta of Katsina office, Capinta insisted that he call on Colonel Muhammad Shuwa the Commanding Officer of 5th Battalion to the airport to brief them, in order to save time. Shuwa soon arrived the airport and gave details of how he got information on 29th May 1966 about the intentions and preparation of Northerners to attack Southerners in Kano later in the day. For this reason, he drove round the towns and discovered that already a large crowd of Northerners was assembled outside the city gate in the Sabon Gari(Strangers quarter's) he also noticed small group's of anxious southerners huddled together in street corners some of them were already shutting up their houses.<!-- adsense —> Shuwa then drove to the police station to acquaint the police with the explosive situation. The police confirmed they were acutely aware of what was happening but had instructions not to do anything until they were given instructions by Katsina and by no one else. Shuwa went to his barracks and immediately dispatched a company of soldiers with instructions that they are deployed in the area of Kano stadium midway between the city and Sabon Gari. The company which also had instructions to prevent a confrontation between the Northerners and Southerners took up position just promptly to do this, for the Northern mobs were already advancing towards Sabon Gari when the company arrived at the stadium. When Shuwa noticed that the Northern mobs appeared to lack determination and were, in fact, drifting slowly backward towards the city gates, the presence of the troops created a lull during which Shuwa telephone Katsina to tell him of the commendable achievements. Shuwa claimed that when it was learned in Katsina that he had deployed troops instead of being praised for using his initiative to an advantage, he was ordered to withdrawn the troops back to barracks without being given reasons for such a line of action. According to Shuwa as soon as the troops left, the northern mobs again advanced this time unchallenged into the town, thus began the very blood riots and massacre; these he said went on unchecked neither by police nor by Army for over 24 hours. During the riots, he said he had telephoned Katsina several times to appraise him of the true situation and to try to convince him to order military intervention but failed. As he went round the town unable to do anything Shuwa said he saw private homes, churches, shops, schools and market stalls belonging to southern Nigerians in flames. He saw crying children the young and the old both men and women being chased about and beaten to death while their homes were looted. History has it that innocent Biafrans residing in the northern part of Nigeria were killed unscrupulously. The world has remained silent, and at such, these events have been swept under the carpet. Fools are still telling us to forget about our freedom. this will only be possible if those killed could be given the appropriate justice they deserves; that truth lies only on bringing them back to life.
Published by Udeagha Obasi For Umuchiukwu Writers.