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Femi Fani-Kayode’s Tangled Web (Part 2)



By Henry Chukwuemeka Onyema

Apart from Adewale Ademoyega, there were other Yoruba military officers who willingly gave their best for the January coup. There is Second Lieutenant Olafimihan, an officer who served under Major Alexander Madiebo, one of the Igbo officers who crushed the January coup. Olafimihan was sent by the plotters to gauge Madiebo’s loyalty and only his shrewdness saved Madiebo. This information can be read on pages 17-18 of Madiebo’s book ‘The Nigerian Revolution and the Biafran War.’ There is also Lieutenant (some sources refer to him as a Captain) Fola Oyewole. He, like Ademoyega, fought for Biafra and wrote a book titled ‘Reluctant Rebel.’ There is also Captain Ganiyu Adeleke. Were all these men acting on behalf of the millions of Yoruba who had nothing to do with the coup? So why should Ifeajuna, Nzeogwu, Anuforo, etc. be labelled as acting on behalf of the Igbo? Why was Colonel Arthur Unegbe, the Army Quartermaster General, excluded from Fani-Kayode’s list of casualties of the January coup? He should read Silloun’s accounts and Ademoyega’s book. Those who want to label the January coup as an Igbo affair ignore these facts:

Unegbe was shot by the January plotters, specifically Major Chris Anuforo and his team.

Unegbe was NOT killed because he refused to surrender the armoury keys to the plotters. He was not in charge of any armoury because his post as Quartermaster General was an administrative one. From day one he was on the plotters’ list because of his pro-Establishment leanings. Ademoyega confirmed this on page 60 of his book.

Some writers on the coup claim that Unegbe was an Anioma so he was not Igbo. But I was informed by a townsman that Unegbe was from Ozobulu in present day Anambra State. However, whether from Anioma in Delta State or Ozobulu, he was an Igbo.

Igbo officers, namely, Ironsi, Ojukwu, and Madiebo, were instrumental to crushing the coup.

Ironsi was a target of the coup plotters but he outsmarted them. Fani-Kayode should look for the British ‘Daily Telegraph’ newspaper 22 January 1966 edition, and read Nzeogwu’s interview to confirm this.  Ademoyega wrote the same thing in chapter 5 of his book.

Much has been written about how Ironsi and Senate President Nwafor Orizu strong-armed the remnants of Balewa’s cabinet into handing over to Ironsi. Fani-Kayode described the episode as a “murky and deep-seated Igbo conspiracy.” But a few basic posers are necessary: Why did Ironsi not arbitrarily shoot himself to power if he wanted it so badly? Everything was going for him. Why should he seek Orizu’s blessing and the cabinet’s backing?

How about Northern officers such as Yakubu Gowon and Hassan Katsina who supported Ironsi in crushing the coup? Could they not have stopped Ironsi’s so-called plot? They got top jobs in Ironsi’s administration.

Have you ever heard of unarmed Nigerian civilians stopping armed military coup plotters? How would Orizu do it? Was the so-called British support ready for an all-out war with Nzeogwu’s forces? Nzeogwu had control of the North, where the coup succeeded. Back then, most of Nigeria’s military structure was concentrated in the North. Minus the Fifth Battalion in Kano under Ojukwu’s command, the rest were at Nzeogwu’s beck and call and he was ready to march down on the South where his colleagues failed.  Only negotiations stopped him.

It is a tragedy that nearly fifty years after these unwholesome history, Fani-Kayode refuses to be an objective historian. This idea that the Igbo published and aired material celebrating the killings of January 1966 is widely accepted by many people who want to blame the Igbo for Nigeria’s woes. But facts do not lie. Fani-Kayode should go online and read ‘Operation Aure: The Northern Military Counter-Rebellion of July 1966’ by Nowa Omoigui, a Nigerian military historian who by no account is pro-January 1966 coup. I raise the following facts that can be verified:

The controversial ‘Goats Are bleating’ song which is regarded as Igbo rejoicing over the coup was released in 1964 by Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson, a Kalabari highlife musician of the 1950s and 60s. Although an Ijaw, he sang in Igbo and other languages. How did a song released in 1964 become an anthem for a bloody coup in 1966?

Drum magazine which published the incendiary pictures and articles that shook the North had been operating in Nigeria for some years before 1966. The awful cartoon on Sir Ahmadu Bello was allegedly drawn by a Coz Idapo. That edition of the monthly magazine came into the North on May 28; just four days after the region began seething over the Unification Decree promulgated by the Ironsi regime.

Coz Idapo does not sound like an Igbo name to me and I hope I am sufficiently Igbo to know an Igbo name. Who comprised the magazine’s editorial team that gave the green light for the publication of such material when Nigeria was burning? Given that there were Northern agent provocateurs sowing seeds of disaffection among the Northern military and civilian populace then, was the arrival of the magazine deliberately timed? Who is this Coz Idapo? Was he a cover to deal with the ‘stubborn’ Igbo?

Thank God it is known that Nigeria declared war on Biafra on July 6 1967. The Nigerian Army fired the first shot at Gakem, Ogoja, in present day Cross River State. This is not the forum to address the vexed question of Eastern minorities but Fani-Kayode needs to be reminded that the name of the secessionist republic was coined by Frank Apuigo, an Ijaw politician who served Biafra to the end. Till they eventually got their Mid-Western Region in 1963, the peoples of that area, including the Igbo of Asaba, Aboh, Ika, etc. did not have a sweet life with their dominant Yoruba neighbours.

When the Igbo came back to Lagos after the war they had to contend with official policies such as the Indigenisation Decree of 1972 which the Yoruba hegemonists capitalized on to squeeze the Igbo out of Nigeria’s post-war economy. Agreed, there were individual and low-level official Yoruba efforts to integrate Igbo returnees after the war. But by and large the Yoruba bureaucrats and leaders were not so strategically unwise to allow the Igbo to rise to their pre-war levels of rivalry in the stiff competition for the boons of the new world order initiated by the British and consolidated after 1960. Fani-Kayode is a lawyer. Is he unaware of records of Igbo who had to fight through the courts for their ‘abandoned property’?

Fani-Kayode should realise that Lagos is a complex phenomenon. I agree there are indigenous ownership of parts of the area of Lagos; ex-slaves, returnees, etc. Even the ancient Benin Empire once called the shots. But no modern city thrives on solely indigenous enterprise. Come to think of it, what are the generally accepted criteria for defining the indigenes of a place? History is an endless wave of migration and with her access to the ocean, Lagos is particularly susceptible. However, if Fani-Kayode’s ambition of ‘deporting’ all Igbo from Lagos comes to pass, what of non-Lagos Yoruba?

Modern cities thrive on integration, not exclusivism. If Yoruba residents in Owerri are hounded by the Imo State government I will condemn it. Lagos is not ‘no man’s land.’ Every inhabitable land on earth is owned by man, even the Wild West frontiers penetrated by early Americans in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They had to contend with Indian tribes. But today they have come to terms with one another. As a significant part of Lagos, the Igbo deserve all the rights and responsibilities of being part of its evolution and mega-mix. We do not beg to be part of Lagos. We wish to prove that, like all others who come from or to Lagos, are worthy of a place under its sky. Our record so far shows that we deserve it.

I acknowledge the Yoruba head start in scholarship and the professions in Nigeria. But if Fani-Kayode wants to use that to consign the Igbo to the non-starter’s block he is wrong. It is not who first started the race  that counts. For every Soyinka there is an Achebe; for every D’Banj there are the P-Square twins; for every Lola Shoneyin there is an Adaobi Nwabuani; for every Sefi Atta there is a Chimamanda Adichie; for every Omotola Ekeinde there is a Genevieve Nnaji. So let us outgrow primordial sentiments.

These developments should spur Igbo people to channel their resources and talents to developing their region. That we are traditionally footloose is no excuse. This is necessary because the utterances of the likes of Fani-Kayode imply that Nigeria is not yet home for all that dwell in it.

•Onyema is a writer, historian and teacher. Email:[email protected]

Posted in Nigeria News. A DisNaija.Com network.

Source: PM News

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Nigeria News

Kano Transfers Over 1,000 Almajiris To Different States Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic



The Kano State Government on Saturday said it has transferred 1,098 ‘almajiris’ to different states of the country.

The commissioner for local government, Murtala Garo, disclosed this while presenting a report before the state’s task force on COVID-19 at the government house, Kano.

Almajiris are children who are supposed to be learning Islamic studies while living with their Islamic teachers. Majority of them, however, end up begging on the streets of Northern Nigeria. They constitute a large number of Nigeria’s over 10 million out-of-school children.

Mr Garo said the Kano government transported 419 almajiris to Katsina, 524 to Jigawa and 155 to Kaduna. He said all of them tested negative for coronavirus before leaving the Kano State.

Despite the coronavirus test done in Kano for the almajiris, the Jigawa government earlier said it would quarantine for two weeks all the almajiris that recently arrived from Kano.

Mr Garo said another 100 almajiris scheduled to be taken to Bauchi State also tested negative to COVID-19.

In a remark, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje said the COVID-19 situation in Kano was getting worse. He appealed for a collaborative effort to curtail the spread of the virus in the state.

Mr Ganduje, who commended residents for complying with the lockdown imposed in the state, said the decision was taken to halt the spread of the virus.

Kano State, as of Saturday night, has 77 coronavirus cases, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The decision to transfer the Kano almajiris is part of the agreement reached between Northern governors that almajiris in each state be transferred to their states of origin.

However, even before the latest agreement by the governors, the Kano government had been transferring almajiris to other states and neighbouring countries after it banned street begging in the state, most populous in Northern Nigeria.

Despite the transfers, however, no concrete step has been taken to ensure such children do not return to Kano streets as there is freedom of movement across Nigeria although interstate travel was recently banned to check the spread of the coronavirus.


Sourced From: Premium Times Nigeria

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COVID-19: ‘Bakassi Boys’ Foil Attempt To Smuggle 24 Women Into Abia In Container



By Ugochukwu Alaribe

Operatives of the Abia State Vigilante Service, AVS, popularly known as ‘Bakassi Boys’ have arrested 24 market women hidden in a container truck, at Ekwereazu Ngwa, the boundary community between Abia and Akwa Ibom states.

The market women, said to be  from Akwa Ibom State, were on their way to Aba, when they were arrested with the truck driver and two of his conductors for violating the lockdown order by the state government.

Driver of the truck, Moses Asuquo, claimed he was going to Aba to purchase stock fish, but decided to assist the market women, because they were stranded.

A vigilante source told Sunday Vanguard that the vehicle was impounded while the market women were sent back to Akwa Ibom State.

Commissioner for Home Land Security, Prince Dan Okoli, who confirmed the incident, said that  smuggling of people into the state poses great threat to the state government’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID- 19.


Sourced From: Vanguard News

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Woman Kills Her Maid Over Salary Request



Operatives of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Yaba of the Lagos State police command have arrested one Mrs Nene Steve for allegedly killing her maid, Joy Adole

The maid was allegedly beaten to death by Nene for requesting for her salary at their residence located at 18, Ogundola Street, Bariga area in Lagos.

Narrating the incident, Philips Ejeh, an elder brother to the deceased said that he was sad when they informed him that his sister was beaten to death.

He explained that the deceased was an indigene of Benue State brought to Lagos through an agent and started working with her as a maid  in January 2020.

‘’She reported that her boss refused to pay her and anytime she asked for her salary she will start beating her.

She was making an attempt to leave the place but due to the total lockdown she remained there until Sunday when her boss said she caught her stealing noodles and this led to her serious beating and death,’’ Ejeh said.

He called on Lagos State Government and well- meaning people in the country to help them in getting justice for the victim.

The police spokesman, Bala Elkana, stated that the woman and her husband came to Bariga Police  Station to a report that their house girl had committed suicide.

Detectives were said to have visited the house and suspected foul play with the position of the rope and bruises all over the body which confirmed that the girl had been tortured to death and the boss decided to hang up the girl to make it look like suicide.

He said: “The police moved on with their investigation and found a lot of sign of violence on her body that she has been tortured before a rope was put on her neck.’’

He added that the police removed the corpse and deposited it in the mortuary for autopsy to further ascertain the cause of the death.

Elkana said the matter has been transferred from Bariga police station to Panti for further investigation while the couple have been arrested and will be charged to court.

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Boko Haram Attacks: Buhari Summons Urgent Meeting Of Service Chiefs



President Buhari and the Service Chiefs in a meeting. (File photo)

Ostensibly alarmed by the latest killings of dozens of soldiers by Boko Haram insurgents, President Muhammadu Buhari has summoned an urgent meeting of Service Chiefs to find ways to stop the trend. 

He has also dispatched the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, to the neighbouring Republic of Chad for an urgent meeting with President Idris Deby and his defence counterpart. 

Knowledgeable sources said in Abuja on Friday that the president is worried by on the deterioration of security situation on the Nigeria – Chad Border that has led to the recently increased Boko Haram terrorism in the area.

The sources which did not want to be named in Abuja said: “Nigeria has a Chad  problem in the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) put together to secure the Lake Chad basin areas and repeal the Boko Haram terrorist attacks against all the countries neighbouring the Lake.”

The sources noted that Chad is believed to be having their own internal security challenges and this has reportedly led to their pulling away their own troops manning their own border around Lake Chad,  saying: “That lacuna is being exploited by the Boko Haram terrorists, who go in and out of Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon to launch terrorist acts.  This is a clear illustration of the fact that terrorism is beyond national borders.”

When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed that the Defence Minister is going to Chad but said he is unaware of the purpose. 

Meanwhile, the military authorities are said to be in the process of identifying the families of the latest victims with a view to making contact with them. 

Credible sources revealed that it is the reason the president is yet to make any pronouncement on the matter. 

“The President has called an urgent meeting with the Service Chiefs, as well as the fact that families of the latest victims of the Boko Haram are being identified and contacts made before a government pronouncement on the tragic attacks. This, it is understood, is the reason for the silence of the government over the incident,” the source said. 


Sourced From: Tribune

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