“A firing squad of the vandal division
Moving in for the record holocaust kill
Inside the Ogwashi-Uku, Onukwu family home
Adjacent to the city’s Post Office
Blood thirsty vandal Army Commander
Constituted a firing squad, methodically
Tied up Iweadiazi, Ndufodu, putting to the stakes, Anisimbili, Ogbogu
Babatunde, the Unibadan freshman the vandals escorted from his reading room
His Physics text in his shaking hands, before the wailing mother of the Onukwu seven…
(See, Last Dance on the Niger, Babatunde, Our Father has Returned). GOMSLAM, 2015
All over the world, the people of Armenia, in California, in New York, all over the US, Europe and Canada, wrapped in Armenian flags and national costumes are taking over the streets and spectacularly marking the anniversary of the Turkish 1915 genocide against Armenia.
The decade long German holocaust against the Jews mobilised the free world against Hitler and eventually led to the establishment of the Free State of Israel for God’s chosen people.
Rwanda in 1994, with the world’s tacit approval, encouraged a savage wipe out of the Tutsis by the majority Hutsis. In that street, and inside the Churches’ bloodbath, we notice some progressive tread down the satanic clips. In the horrendous blood episode of Asaba, Ogbeosowa, women and some lucky children were separated from the men and watched the machine gun slaughter of their fathers and brothers!
In Kigali, in the streets, Churches, in the market places, in the open fields, fleeing fellow citizens of both genders were bludgeoned by sticks, iron bars, machetes. Kigali genocide didn’t discriminate between man and woman.
In Darfur, most scholars of the African conflict observe that this particular genocide stoked mainly by racial prejudice and age-long Arab disregard of his African neighbours invited outright destruction of not only the men, the women, children but also the domestic animals of the black Darfur population. Comparatively, Asaba on the hour of death separated the genders; Rwanda killed all the human “cockroaches” only for Darfur to extend the slaughter to animals; encompassing the bombing out of whole villages and the burning of farming lands and grazing plains. In this particular cleansing, we noted the tainted hands of the Sudanese Government and the employment of its hideous air force to commit “Democide.”
As we draw the programme for the 50th year anniversary of the Asaba Genocide, as the world waits to hear our story, we will be happy to share for the first time our brothers and neighbours’ unforgettable experience of the Genocide in the Western Ibo areas. Last weekend after our expose on “Asaba: The Dance of the Dead,” I was encouraged to host a visiting delegation of Isheagu prominent chiefs and youth leaders, who presented me a booklet of the war and in that booklet recorded the names of their fallen victims. It was at Isheagu that a horrible regicide was committed when the Obi of Isheagu was buried alive and the community sacked! According to the authors of Isheagu and the Nigerian Civil War 1966 – 1970, “The Nigerian Civil war broke out in July, 1967 as a result of the declaration of the Republic of Biafra from the former Eastern Region of the country. The Political problems, which heightened from the military coups of January and June 1966, led to the secession of the Eastern Region, made up mainly of the Ibo race. This is why the military action embarked by Nigeria against the secession was seen in many quarters as a war between Nigeria and the Ibo (Biafra). It was, therefore, understandable that most people in the Ibo-speaking area of the Midwestern region (Aniocha, Oshimili, Ika and Ndokwa) either collaborated directly with Biafra or had sympathy with their cause. This was why it was fairly easy for the Biafran Army to take over part of Midwest Region in August 1967. It is worthy to note that some high ranking Biafran soldiers were from the Ibo-speaking area of Midwest, such as Colonels Nwawo and Achuzia, etc.
All through the war, the Nigerian soldiers were very suspicious of the roles of the peoples of the Ibo-speaking area of Midwest. This suspicion and the allegation of sabotage, led to the massacres in Asaba and Isheagu in April/May 1968. The main accusation leveled against Isheagu people was that they were aiding the Biafrans, who usually infiltrated through the riverine area to attack the Nigerian soldiers in the area. So, the worst thing that ever happened in the history of Isheagu took place on May 2nd, 1968.
At the heat of the war in early 1968, it was evident that there was scarcity of essential items, such as food and drugs in Biafra as a result of the blockage by Nigeria of all normal trade routes into Biafra. Illegal trade routes through the bushes were, therefore, used to sell items to Biafra. The main items of trade included salt, medicine, kerosene, sugar, etc. The route through Isheagu to Abala side became one of such trade routes. The business was risky but lucrative. At first, it was done mainly by foreigners from Agbor side but later Isheagu people joined. It is not impossible that Nigerian Army authorities got to know about this smuggling business through Isheagu, as Nigerian soldiers were stationed at Isheagu from time to time. These Nigerian soldiers who were mainly from the northern part of the country and, who, in most cases did not understand the local language nor spoke English, were hostile and suspected every male Isheagu adult. Some of them used to say that Isheagu men were farmers and fishermen during the day, but turned Biafran soldiers during the night. This scenario was not limited to Isheagu, as it was the same in most major towns, bordering the west of River Niger, such as Asaba, Ibusa, Ewulu, Isheagu, etc.”
“The climax of the unfortunate incident of May 2nd, 1968 started at about 9:30pm on May 1st, when sporadic shooting started all over the town by Nigerian soldiers stationed in the town. Later about midnight, the outskirts of the town came under artillery fire until the early hours of May 2nd. By about 5am, the executions, which led to the massacre of about the 187 Isheagu men started. It must be recalled that why some men escaped the massacre was because some days before the event, tension had built up in the town, as a result of an attack by some Biafran soldiers who infiltrated through the bush into the town and attacked the Nigerian soldiers.”
For whatever the scholars have noted of those African conflict and for all their analyses, the genocide at Ogwashi-Ukwu, which in one swoop, exterminated the seven Onukwu brothers before their wailing mother, and proclaimed that inhumanity as the zenith of animal wickedness. Even in the count down of the seven million dead of the Jewish holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the Rwanda, Asaba and Darfur massacres, in no particular registered family among the fallen in those places do we see victims losing seven brothers of the same mother!
“The vandal officer prepared the order to fire
One after another, before their wailing mother
The Onukwu seven fell into holocaust immortality.”