FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE NIGERIA/ BIAFRA WAR, THE INTRIGUES AND THE TEARS OF AGONY. A CASE OF BENUE IGBO
Comr Nweke Cedric Ifeanyichukwu
It is no longer news that the predominant number of Igbo origin are in the present day Benue state today in not less than four LGAs, namely Ado, Oju, Okpokwu and Obi LGAs.
With recognizable number of population that is not less than a million and hundreds of jobless graduates wallowing in tears and excruciating pains daily with series of injustice perpetrated against us by the past and successful government.
The largest market in one of the local government is located in our area that’s the popular Inikiri Benue in Ado LGA.
Benue Igbo people are occupying a space of not less 500 villages.
The Igbos found in Benue are Ezza, Izzi, Effium and Mgbo people, we are here as a result of boundary problem necessitated by the colonial masters.
Before the civil war all were going well and smoothly, the existing mutual relationship then between the good people of Idoma and Igbo people were like salt and oil, inter tribal marriage was on going then until when the civil unrest broke out on May 30th, 1967.
The people of the Benue Igbo are no longer finding it easy in any way both in political life, economic life etc.
They are torn between two paths, their kits and kin are also predominantly in Ebonyi state the only state in the East where we supposed to rightfully belong.
Benue state governments both the state and Local administrators are not seeing us as part of them as a result of language differences between us but in the same Christian religion with them, in the other way round Ebonyi state government where we supposed to be rightfully belonged are not helping issues since there’s no any part of our territory that is under her control of administration and authority.
No government in Ebonyi both past successive and the present one will ever deny the knowledge of our existence here in Benue state since the first executive governor of the state who is also representing the good people of Ebonyi North in the National Assembly Sen Dr Sam Egwu has a close boundary with his Ohaukwu local government in Ebonyi and Ado local government in Benue state.
Martin Elechi whose wife’s hometown has a common boundary between each other as well, Is it Dave Umahi that his erstwhile perm sec ministry of finance and economic development Ignatius Unah whose hometown is a stone throw to Benue state will deny the knowledge of our existence?
It is really practically impossible for them to act that way.
Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue state visited and campaigned vigorously in our areas he even toured round our communities on motorcycle during the period of electioneering campaign with humongous and countless number of promises but till date nothing has happened.
Immediately he was declared the winner of 2019 governorship election he hurriedly sacked the first and the only indigenous person who served his government as SA to the Gov on community relationship Hon. chief Matthew Agom.
Our sin was only because we participated in defending our territories during the civil war, the unforgettable memories that’s still giving them sleepless nights till date was the ingenuity displayed by our fathers during the war by repelling many attacks and the blocking of Nigerian army from penetrating into the Eastern region through our side which they later went and followed Nsukka.
It is on record, unequivocally factual and undeniable scrutiny that the people of the Benue Igbo are the most marginalized tribe in the whole wide world, people without any governmental presence, no recognizable basic amenity in the whole area.
We are just in pangs.
The level of ostracism, negligence, inhuman treatment and political upheaval been placed on us is still inexplicable and beyond human expression since we have been totally abandoned to our fate and forced to feel less human before our brothers as a result of language barrier, animosity and unwarranted enduring hatred, we are the only people in the world using pond as our only source of drinking water at the same place with bush animals in this 21st century.
The 3R’s policy initiated by Gen. Yakubu Gowon after the war in 1970 are still questionable since the reintegration, reconstruction and reconciliation policies have never been carried out in any of our respective communities and villages till date since after the fifty years of the civil unrest and unholy war in the country.
One thing there is that you can’t question God for instituting us here in Benue state, he has the reason and any attempt trying to question our existence here in Benue will be tantamount in questioning the existence of God.
We are only helping ourselves in our own way.
We are in a territory of no governmental presence.
All we are saying now is that we need help both from the government and any willing individual before we’ll be drowned here in Benue state.
~ Nweke Cedric Ifeanyichukwu
Public affairs analyst and an advocate for good governance and social justice.
Thanks y’all for reading.