Virtually all reasonable Nigerians have condemned the “Quit Notice" served on Igbos residing in the Northern region of Nigeria by the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups. But if “what’s past is prologue," we already have a death watch. We have, right now, a countdown to another customized Igbo-targets-only pogrom. It’s only a matter of time before that seemingly dismissible notice results in an upshot reminiscent of the 1966 massacre of Nd’Igbo in the North.
The parallels are strikingly obvious. Fifty-one years ago, a conclave of anonymous Northern elements declared war on all the Igbos in the North, hiding behind the putative grudge of a military coup whose arrowheads were predominantly Igbos and the chief casualty, the Northern born Prime Minister of Nigeria. That declaration received massive compliance. The people of the North slaked their vicarious thirst for ‘vengeance’ by visiting the Igbos with a bloodshed so purist and brutal it was Nazist in substance and style.
Today, a collection of so-called ‘miscreants’ have telegraphed the letter and spirit of a mandate to slaughter the Igbo people to all natives of Northern Nigeria. The ‘miscreants’ say they have ranged themselves against Nd’Igbo because of the agitation of the pro-Biafra secessionist movement in the South East.
As before, the Federal Government of Nigeria is treating this threat of ethnic cleansing issued against the Igbo people as the ranting of chained lunatics in a madhouse. The Federal Executive Council ignored it. When Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, touched it, he assured us that the threat was normal. It “did not start today and did not start yesterday." There was no cause for alarm. “The security organizations are very much on top of this matter.”
That’s a blatant lie! The Nigerian state and her security agencies have done no more than actively ignore the heads-up about the scheduled genocide of the Igbos in the North. They have been winking at the promoters of the holocaust. They are just waiting for the bloodbath…like the release of a new action film!
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, ‘ordered’ the arrest of the gang. The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, echoed the same order. But not a single member of that group has been arrested, although their identities and whereabouts are known.
In fact, we have seen the inaction of the security agencies emboldening the sponsors of the ‘youths’ to come out of the woodwork. The Northern Elders Forum have stepped out to affirm and justify the threat. There was no dissembling, no pretension of civility: the elders declared that they sent those youths on that errand!
Igbos have already started running for their dear lives. That’s the prudent course of action under the circumstances. An Igbo proverb says that only a tree keeps standing still after it has heard a cutlass-wielding man threaten to cut it down.
The Igbos are the endangered human species of Nigeria. They know this by experience. Because the Nigerian state does not only resent the presence and the full expression of the Igbo people within the Nigerian arrangement, it is also inclined to collude with any group ready to waste Igbo people.
Everything is a sound reason to hunt the Igbos and kill them. Every perceived irritation is a permissible pretext to set fire to their shops and homes. A cartoon published in Denmark. A newspaper article about a beauty pageant. Hunger for the spread of Yerima’s sharia.
The Igbos don’t have to do anything wrong. A Northern hothead just has to conjure up a claim. And the Igbos become hunted scapegoats!
As a rule, the Federal Government of Nigeria, no matter who heads it, always enables the destruction of the Igbo. When a threat is divined and exposed, the government will sit back and do nothing. And the Igbos will be wasted.
There is no instance of the Nigerian government ever taking a meaningful step to foil any murderous plot against the Igbos. The government will permit the plot to succeed. In some cases, it will sponsor its own agents to massacre Igbos.
Think hard and recall which individual or group of individuals has ever been held accountable for killing Igbos in the past. Who was arrested and prosecuted for the sixteen Igbos killed in the name of that Danish cartoon? Who was convicted for ‘the Miss World’ mayhem? Who was jailed for the ‘sharia riots’?
Amnesty International has done a good job of keeping count of the number of pro-Biafra Igbos killed by Nigerian security agents in cold blood. Thousands of Igbos have been wasted for coming out on the street for peaceful protests. The Chief of Army endorses the killings. And so does the Commander-in-Chief, President Buhari!
The Nigerian police will not arrest the proponents of this looming genocide with the name of the Igbo people on the receiving end of it. But they hastened to arrest an Igbo man for naming his own pet dog ‘Buhari’. They explained that they took the “proactive" step of prosecuting Joe Chinakwe “in order to avert unnecessary blood shedding." They swore that Chinakwe’s action was "likely to cause a breach of public peace."
Now, isn’t this “Quit Notice," which is apparently pregnant in import and intent, a million times more likely to cause a breach of public peace than the christening of Chinakwe’s dog? Isn’t this “Quit Notice’’ worthy of the swift mobilization of Nigerian security agencies? Isn’t this “Quit Notice" a Genocide Notice by another name?
The supposed “Igbo Quit Notice’’ is a nod and a wink to people of the North. It’s a license to murder any person of Igbo extraction that ‘refuses’ to vacate the North by October 1, 2017. The “Quit Notice’’ is a Genocide Notice mislabeled!
It’s no accident that the “Quit Notice’’ came on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war. Some people are obviously angry that there are Igbos remnants… after 3 million Igbos were wasted by sword and starvation. Why have that tribe continued to thrive?
During and after the war, the Igbos were significantly diminished in men and means, divested of their properties across Nigeria and reduced to Procrustean poverty of 20 pounds. They nursed themselves back to prosperity through ingenuity and entrepreneurial adventurism. The houses they have built out of the ashes of their defeat is the main reason they are envied by their erstwhile conquerors.
The Igbo man needs just a space to live and move in and he will flourish. He reveals the potential of the environment where he is a sojourn to the ‘sons of the soil.’ He comes little and grows big.
So, the ‘victors’ who can neither decode nor mimic his genius, hate him. They crave for any chance to raze down his shop. They hanker for any opportunity to run him out of town.
The Igbos must take this “Quit Notice’’ seriously. Those who issued it meant to say that Igbos must leave the North alive or dead. The army of foot soldiers who will enforce this “Quit Notice’’ have been primed. A genocide is brooding.
The Nigerian state has not tried to stop the herdsmen who have been killing thousands of Nigerians and destroying people’s farmlands. Kano State government freed the killers of Bridget Agbahime from the law. Nobody will suffer any punishment for killing Igbos.
Nd’Igbo had better advise themselves. A ripe corn can be detected by distant observation. This “Quite Notice" is a Genocide Notice!