We shall be discussing, or, shall we say we shall be bringing to your notice one of the biggest massacres during the Biafran genocide that is not being mostly discussed.

There was a massacre of civilians in Calabar in 1968, but there was no clear record about who was responsible. While the Nigerian Army was denying being responsible for the Calabar Massacre, the Biafrans were pointing at them, being sure that it was Nigerian soldiers, because of their rampant cases of FALSE FLAG OPERATIONS (disguising themselves as Biafrans, invading Biafra communities, and killing large numbers of people, to establish and deepen the acrimony between the upland and coastal parts of Biafra, in the pursuit of the British divide and rule strategy).

Not only the Biafrans knew that it was the Nigerian soldiers that were responsible, but even a journalist from "The Times of London" also knew, and stated categorically that Nigerian soldiers were responsible.

We shall be taking you to their arguments below. But before then, let us remind the people from Calabar, Ikot Ekpene, Ogoja, and the surrounding provinces that they all need to observe May 30th Sit-At-Home, in memory of those Massacred in 1968 at Calabar. What matters now is that there was actually a massacre. Let us go into the Argument.

The Nigerian forces overran Calabar in early 1968 without much resistance or investment. A seat of that ancient kingdom of the same name Calabar is in the South eastern part of Biafra, on the banks of the majestic Calabar River. It had for decades been a melting pot of the Easterners; Efik, Ibibio, Igbo, and others that had produced a beautiful cultural mosaic of traditions and dialects.

In actions, reminiscent of the Nazi policy of eradicating the Jews throughout Europe, just twenty years earlier, the Nigerian forces decided to purge the city of its Biafran (which they always camouflage as Igbo) inhabitants. By the time the Nigerian forces were done, over 2000 Biafrans had been shot, mostly Igbo civilians.

The London Times reported on August 2, 1968 that in Oji River the Nigerian forces opened fire and murdered 14 nurses and patients in the ward. In Uyo more innocent lives were lost to the brutality and blood lust of the Nigerian Soldiers.

But as we all know, Nigerian will always have a different say to this. Hear from a Nigerian military that took part in those Massacre.

"Achebe’s claim on the same Page 137, that the Nigerian forces opened fire and murdered 14 nurses and the patients in the wards in Uyo could not be true because the federal troops needed all these personnel and there was no way they would have killed them. He said rather than accuse the federal troops of atrocities, the atrocities committed by Biafran troops on the people of Uyo and Annang were legendary".

To drive home his point, he showed the reporter some pictures portraying the damages caused by Biafran soldiers among the Annang and the people of Uyo. He wondered why someone would hold the 3MDCO responsible for crimes committed by Biafran soldiers. Most of the atrocities allegedly committed by the 3MDCO, Isama insisted, were actually perpetrated by Biafran soldiers. He said his observations as an active participant in the war could be corroborated with a book written by Phillip Effiong, a former Biafran general who, apart from being a top commander, was also from Calabar province of Biafra. According to Effiong in his book, Nigeria and Biafra: My Story (Pages 220 and 221)
“… When I visited the Brigade shortly before the invasion, particularly in Uyo and Calabar areas, I received a lot of complaints from the local people about unsavoury treatment by our (Biafran) troops. I drew Colonel Eze’s attention to the complaints and urged him to improve relations with the civilians. “At Uyo, military-civilian relations were so strained that I had to personally intervene to release a local newspaper editor from detention. Such acts on my part were not just a question of feeling alone for my people, but also a question of justice and sense of belonging in an emergent Biafran State. Were these arrests, false accusations, and detentions a sign of things to come in an independent Biafra? These issues bothered me as they would anyone else in my position then…

“… With the fall of Calabar, Itu, Uyo and Ikot Ekpene the rest of the mainland was militarily threatened. He also said as people greatly emphasized that there was starvation in Biafra, he said it was the Nigerian Army that fed the starving Biafran Children, that most times, they as soldiers, ate just once, to make sure that the Biafran Children ate.

The Federal troops were equally culpable of this crime. In the Rivers area, ethnic minorities sympathetic to Biafra were killed in the hundreds by federal troops. In Calabar, some 2000 Efiks were also killed by Federal troops. "The Nigerian Air Force left their own mark in the minorities’ areas. They were accused of indiscriminate bombing of civilian occupied areas. William Norris of the
LONDON SUNDAY TIMES, in an article titled, “Nightmare in Biafra,” reported how the high-flying Russian Ilyushin jets dropped bombs in civilian centres in Biafra. He stated that, 'Slowly, but effectively, a reign of terror had been created'."

Another evidence to prove that Nigeria was responsible for the Calabar Massacre is the Ugep Massacre in Calabar, five years after the war ended. Here from an indigene;

One day, after my adventure in the farm, I returned home to ask my mother why the location of the farm was named Soja barracks. That was when she narrated the story of Ugep Massacre by soldiers of the Nigerian Army. I remember her saying, “Oh we were in Washington DC then, your Daddy received a telephone call that Umor was under attack. Two days later, we watched the report on television news with the caption, “Ugep a ghost town?” We watched how the town was deserted, smoke from burnt properties hovering the skies, while goats and domestic animals roamed the streets.” She was busy and unprepared to answer the question; she rushed through. I was confused and didn’t probe further until recently.

It was the midnight of a Christmas Eve, when children were sleepless and eager for day break in order to celebrate Christmas with their new clothes, toys and abundance of rice and chicken. Youngsters and older people had had their fill of either Palm wine, ogogoro or whatever it was they drank at the time, and may have been in a stupor.
Ugep was razed down by a battalion of the Nigerian Army. It was gathered that a notorious battalion used to quell the 1967 civil war was sent to Ugep after the then Head of State did not know what to do with the Battalion. General Yakubu Gowon thought that the best place to dump them was in Ugep instead of disbanding them. Yet, the people of Ugep were good hosts to the soldiers. At first, the government had not provided the soldiers with a barracks. So, all of them lived communally with the people. Quite a number of the soldiers were housed for free; those who were meant to pay rents owed their landowners. They drank on credit, mingled and made friends with the Ugep people easily. Even when the government finally built their barracks, some still lived within the community.

Taking a good look between this argumentators over the Calabar Massacre, you can see clearly that the Nigerian Army was responsible for that Massacre. Even in present time, we can attest to the fact that the Nigerian Army is good at denying all the crimes they commit. Even when caught on video they still lie that they were attacked first. if not caught on video, they will lie that they never killed anyone. From the Ugep and the foreign sources, you can see that Achebe is absolutely right in affirming that it was the Nigeria forces that committed the Calabar massacre.

But whichever way, even as the blame game drags on, it will be wise enough that the people from Cross River and Akwa Ibom states join the rest of Biafrans, all over the world, to mourn and honour their people.

From the Ugep Massacre, the narrator explained how they welcomed the army and even gave them free houses but in return what the army could do was to Massacre and raze down their properties at the eve of Christmas, in 1975, and no one is talking about it. But they travel to Rwanda to shed crocodile tears. The highly hypocritical nature of Nigeria, Nigerians, and Nigerianists, is once again in clear demonstration. Even when they forget all these massacres, we that felt the pain will never forget. So, we urge all old Eastern and parts of Mid-Western region, also known as Biafra between 1967-1970 to Sit-At-Home, on the 30th of May, 2019, and honour our fallen heroes.

#HeroesDay #BiafraGenocide #NeverForget #Biafra #May30

Credit to Achebe, The Nation, Wikipedia and Calabar Blog

Written by:
Mazi Chukwudi Okeke
For: Lagos State Media

Edited by:
Okwunna Okongwu
For: Lagos State Media

Published by:
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Lagos State Media

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