As the on-going National Conference in Abuja battles with the issue of derivation, the South East geopolitical
zone of the country, under the auspices of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday demanded the sum of N2.4trn as reparation from the Federal Government. Ohanaeze demanded that the money should be paid to the five South East states, as well as Delta State, for the atrocities and injustices meted out against Ndigbo during the three-year civil war between 1967 and 1970.
The breakdown of the sum being demanded by the zone is that the sum of N400 billion be paid to each of the five South Eastern states, including Delta State, because of the Igbo speaking areas otherwise known as ‘Anioma’, as compensation to those who lost their beloved ones, for loss of property and those still suffering dislocation in the country due to the war which ended in 1970. In a document signed by Chief
Mbazulike Amechi and Chief Ralph Obioha, as Chairman and Secretary of reparation committee entitled: Ohanaeze Ndigbo: Atrocities and Injustices against Ndigbo, attached to a letter dated February 15, 2004, and addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, copies of which were circulated to delegates at the conference, the group said Igbos in the country have suffered gross injustice which culminated in an imposed civil war which lasted 30 months.
According to the letter, millions were killed, millions suffered serious injuries, properties damaged and seized, and assets were lost families dislocated while mass starvation was imposed as an instrument of war in the course of the horrendous war. The letter stated that although it was established that Igbos as a people never conspired nor planned any mutiny against the state of Nigeria in 1966, it noted that the actions of the officers of the Nigerian army could not and should not have been visited on a people on the scale perpetrated against Ndigbo. The organisation described it as “calculated exercise of annihilation, pogrom, and planned tribal cleansing of magnitude of extermination on the pretext of resolving ‘Igbo question’ noting that “it is heinous that rather than to protect, the state turns its weapons on its defenceless citizens, waged war against them, deliberately imposed policies that marginalised them, refused to atone for the injuries caused and pretended that all is well.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo said it wanted to
know why Igbos are frequently killed in Nigeria, why the South East has the least number of states, why there is
no major Nigerian government projects or establishment in any part of Igbo land and why the Igbos are the only group that has dwindling number of census figures. They also called for the establishment of a Federal Territory in the South East as demanded by the maiden address of General Murtala Mohammed when he took over from General Yakubu Gowon in military putsch. The letter also called on the Federal Government to invest in massive re-planning of Igbo cities with proper structures of provision of urban
water works, which they called a sort of marshal plan often devised in ravaged areas.