BY LAWRENCE ETIM.
Ohanaeze, the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, yesterday, demanded from the Federal Government N2.4 trillion as reparation and compensation to Ndigbo in the five South East states and Anioma in Delta State, who lost their loved ones and property during the civil war as well as those still suffering dislocation and seizure of property in the country.
It also asked the Federal Government to tender a “State Apology for the wrongs the government and people of Nigeria visited on Ndigbo and Igboland” in the past. These demands were contained in a statement entitled, ‘The Atrocities and Injustice Against Ndigbo and Ohanaeze Ndigbo: Demand for Reparation,’ issued by the Chairman, Ohanaeze Reparation Committee, Chief Mbazulike Amechi in Enugu.
He recalled that the apex Igbo organistion had on May 25, 2013 at its Imeobi meeting, which is the supreme executive organ of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, resolved that ‘enough was enough’ and that Ndigbo should now demand reparation and compensation and a final stop to the persecution of Ndigbo in their own country.
He said the committee, which he chaired, had taken the pains to document some of the atrocities, injustice and deprivation visited on Ndigbo and resolved to demand that the Federal Government should in addition to tendering a state apology, pay a token of N400 billion to each of the five states of Igboland as compensation for the incalculable damage done to the Igbo race. According to him: “It is incalculable to put a price on the death of millions of Igbo who were killed in the civil war and on other occasions.
“However the Federal Government should pay a token of N400 billion to each of the five states of Igboland as compensation to those who lost their loved ones, lost property and those still suffering dislocation and seizure of property. “The same amount should be paid to the government of Delta State for the benefit of Anioma area of the state,” Amechi said.
The elder-statesman, who was flanked by members of his committee, including Chief Ralph Obioha, Professor Uche Azikiwe, Dr. Chukwujama, Col. Ben Gbulie (rtd); Chief Maria Okwor, Prof. Paul Modum and other leaders of Ohanaeze, at the briefing, listed some of the chilling atrocities against Ndigbo as follows: “In January 1966 some officers in the Nigerian Army organised a coup d’etat and overthrew the government of nationalists and founding fathers of the federation.
“A carefully planned pogrom and genocide was unleashed on the Igbo mainly in the North. On May 29, 1966 they commenced what they termed “ARABA” test riots. With the help of the police, Northern youths embarked on a supervised bloody ‘riot’ which lasted for seven agonising days in which hundreds of Igbo were killed all over the North and their property destroyed or looted.
“On July 29, 1966, in what was termed “Counter Revolution and Ethnic Cleansing” which began with the killing of Major Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi and over 300 military officers and men of Igbo origin escalated into the massacre of unsuspecting Igbo civilians, men, women and children in many Northern towns on a scale unprecedented in any part of the world even more gruesome than the killings of the Jews in Hitler’s Germany.