Gowon Again!

This write up is in response to the Gowon’s comment on both the civil war and Chinua Achebe’s new book (There Was a Country). His comments were published by Daily Trust Newspapers, online version,(http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/index.php/other-sections/lead-stories/179824-biafra-i-have-no-regrets-gowon). According to this publication, “Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, says he has no regrets over the roles he played during the 13[30] months Civil War”. The author is at lost why, Gowon made such a statement to daily trust news media, when he (Yakubu Gowon), had during the Oputa Panel, rendered apology over the genocide committed in Asaba during the war. Below was what he said. “it came to me as a shock when I came to know about the unfortunate happenings that happened to the sons and daughters…of Asaba domain. I felt very touched and honestly I referred to [the killings] and ask for forgiveness being the one who was in charge at that time. Certainly, it is not something that I would have approved of in whatsoever. I was made ignorant of it, I think until it appeared in the papers” (Chinua Achebe, There Was a Country, Page 134). Gowon had also given second apology when he said, “Nigerians and indeed the children who suffered during the war should forgive us” He made this statement in May 2012,during a posthumous awards on the tripod of Nigeria’s independence and first Republic leaders, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe. According to daily trust, “Gowon, who spoke to newsmen in Minna after a courtesy call on Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, also dismissed allegations that the Federal Government under him maltreated the Igbos, saying that those who accused him of crime against the Igbos were talking out of ignorance. Perhaps, Gowon is hoping to rewrite history. The facts of his atrocities against Igbos are overwhelming and it is public knowledge/record. Just to ask Gowon, who/whose government imposed economic blockade against Igbos, that led to the death of over 2 million Igbos (mostly women and children). Awo, who acted like Gowon’s deputy then, accepted responsibility of both economic and food blockade in one of his interviews, carried by Punch Newspapers, Awo said, “So I decided to stop sending the food there. In the process the civilians would suffer, but the soldiers will suffer most”. Another statement credited to Awo, as captured by Chinua Achebe in his book, “All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder” (Chinua Achebe, There Was a Country, Page 233). Gowon and his cabinet, clearly, knew they violated Geneva Convention on war, part of which prohibits starvation, economic and medical blockades, yet Gowon etc did it to Igbos. This is simply a war crime and a crime against humanity. Then came, the £20 policy and the abandoned properties, which Gowon himself spearheaded and supervised. Shortly after implementing these policies, Gowon was announcing to the world, that the problem with Nigeria, was how to spend her money. Therefore, one can conclude that, it was the money, properties he seized from the Igbos, that made him to make such statements. He followed it up with the indigenization decree, whereby the federal government sold share of foreign companies to Nigerians, knowing that they Igbos, wouldn’t have the money to participate. This is a clear case of genocide committed after the war. Genocide can also be committed during peace time. This is United Nations definition of genocide, in part as; “Genocide is a crime of intentional destruction of a national, ethnic, racial and religious group, in whole or in part”… “The coverage of crimes against humanity expanded to include acts perpetrated in time of peace, and to a broad range of groups, not to mention an ever-growing list of punishable acts inspired by developments in international human rights law” Gowon also said, “In fact, if there was no secession by the South Eastern part of the country, there would have been no civil war because right from the beginning of the crises the war would have been averted if not for the secession. It was something I believed we could have stopped” Could Nigerians ask Gowon, why he and his government failed to stop the pogrom/massacre/genocide before the war, in the Northern Nigeria that killed over 30,000 Igbos. It’s on record that his government, rather collaborated in killing the Igbos then. Secondly, could Nigerians also ask Gowon, why he failed to honour the Aburi Accord, reached at Aburi, Ghana. Gowon, also made the following statement then, “suffice it to say that putting all considerations to the test, political, economic as well as social, the basis for unity is not there” Nigerians should also not forget the fact, that this same person (Gowon), masterminded the killing of one time Nigerian Head of State, Gen, Murtala Mohammed, thru a failed coup, he organized with Dimka etc. Since the death of our Great leader, Ikemba Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Gowon, has been making so many statements, apparently trying to twist facts. One continues to wonder, why Gowon didn’t make these statements when Ikemba was with us. Most of the statements Gowon has been making, are self contradictory. What then, is the essence of his prayer ministry (Nigeria Prays). However, history will judge every one according to his/her deeds. May be he knows, history will not be kind with him. C.V.Akuta UK. Note: Please, click on this web link and sign the petition, requesting the United Nations to apologize to Igbos. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/united-nations-must-apologize-to-igbo-people-of/

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