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Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors - Politics - Nairaland

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Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by tbaba1234: 3:03pm On Jun 11, 2017
The documents below talk about the blocking of Land Corridors to deliver food into Biafra

Open Letter Of Resignation To Odumegwu Ojukwu

FROM Robert S. Goldstein (Public Relations Representative of Biafra in the United States) (Published in the Morning Post, Lagos, August 17, 1968)

As your Public Relation’s Representative in the United States, it is my distasteful duty to tender my resignation based on the following points:

POINT 1 – In November of 1967 when we met in Umuahia, you and your Cabinet were very impressive. You told me of the woes of your little Republic, that thousands of people had died, were dying and more were prepared to die for freedom’s sake.

You and your Cabinet told me you believed world opinion would help your cause if you could get your story across.

You expressed the opinion that very few if any people in the United States knew of the plight of the Biafrans.

You asked me to tell the world that Britain had teamed up with Russia in a conspiracy with the Federal Government of Nigeria to murder every Ibo in Biafra. You suggested I use my talents to induce the Press to write about the Biafran side of the war, as at that time all news came out of Lagos.

You will recall I did not take the assignment that day but stayed on several days before deciding to take that job.

To help win the peace

At that time I stated to you and your cabinet that I was taking the assignment making it crystal clear I would try my best to help win the peace not the war.

POINT TWO – I immediately arranged the first world Press conference in Biafra inviting the US Press as well as journalists and television people from England, France, Switzerland, Africa and other parts of the Globe. This was the first news break through. I arranged regular trips into Biafra for the world Press, helped set up stringers, etc., so that your statements and the statements of your Cabinet would be heard.

At that time, I was absolutely positive you were right and your cause was a just one in the best interests of the free world and your countrymen.

POINT THREE – Finally the Republic of Biafra was recognized first by Tanzania, then quickly followed by Gabon, the Ivory Coast and Zambia. Our public relations work was paying off, world opinion was starting to side with us.

Peace talks were arranged at Kampala. I thought that if anyone walked away from the table it would be the Federal Government. But to my dismay it was Biafra that left the Conference. After all the fighting and killing, I knew that peace would not come easy but I could not understand leaving the Peace Conference until the last point was negotiated and the avenue explored.

POINT FOUR – Then urgent telex messages were received from ‘Biafra’ telling of tens of thousands of people starving in the refugee camps, the villages, the bush country – stating if something weren’t done in the next few months over a million women, children and aged would be starved to death. I immediately contacted the Press, urgently petitioned the State Department for action on their part. Food, medicine and milk were sent to the only available ports open for immediate shipment to ‘Biafra’ via land routes through Federal and Biafra territory, under the auspices of world organizations such as the International Red Cross among others.

Then came the incredible answer from ‘Biafra’ that land corridors could not be acceptable until there was a complete ceasefire, and that an airlift was the only solution to feed the starving.

You then appeared before the various Heads of State and representatives of the OAU at Niamey in Niger. I fully expected you to at least accept the world help that was offered your starving throngs. However, you delayed, hoping to use these unfortunates with world sympathy on their side as a tool to further your ambition to achieve war concessions at the upcoming peace talks in Addis Ababa. Thus innocent victims continue to perish needlessly of starvation, the most agonising death that can befall any living creature.

POINT FIVE – This was incredible to me. I am now convinced that I have been used by you and your cabinet to help in military adventures of your origin….using your starving hordes as hostages to negotiate a victory.

If at some later date, following the issuance of this letter, you do concede to allow a mercy land corridor…would you expect me to agree to espouse before the world Press the incredible delay of your decision. What explanation could I honestly give for the needless prolongation of this horror.

Inconceivable acts

I pray this communication may in some small way influence you to move affirmatively, allowing the mercy land corridor to be born.

It is inconceivable to me that you would stop the feeding of thousands of your countrymen (under auspices of world organizations such as the International Red Cross, World Council of Churches and many more) via a land corridor which is the only practical way to bring in food to help at this time. It is inconceivable to me that men of good faith would try to twist world opinion in such a manner as to deceive people into believing that the starvation and hunger that is consuming ‘Biafra’ is a plot of Britain, Nigeria and others to commit genocide.

POINT SIX – I cannot in all conscience serve you any longer. Nor can I be a party to suppressing the fact that your starving thousands have the food, medicine and milk available to them…..it can and is ready to be delivered through international organizations to you. Only your constant refusal has stopped its delivery.

I am this date, tendering my resignation and am returning to Mr. Collins Obih of the African Continental Bank all the fees you have given me (Letter of Credit No. 354 $400,000 US.)

I have sent your representative in New York a Bond in the amount of 800.000 pounds that I was holding in your behalf. I have also this date, sent the Bond of 200,000 pounds issues by the Central Bankl of Nigeria back to them for disposal.

POINT SEVEN – I am now convinced that one Nigeria is the only solution to peace. I also call upon you Mr. Ojukwu to allow your starving people to be fed. Their well-being is of deep concern to me as well as other right thinking people of the world. Your acting in the utmost haste in this matter is in my opinion the first step toward any lasting peace in your country.” -NVS

Read more: http://newsrescue.com/documents-contradict-achebe-book-there-country-facts-biafra-genocide/#ixzz4jhb8JURJ
Re: Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by tbaba1234: 3:05pm On Jun 11, 2017
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968 Volume XXIV, Africa, Document 398

398. Memorandum From Edward Hamilton of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1 (#fn1)
Washington, August 12, 1968. WWR:
Status Report on Nigeria

I thought it might be useful if I elaborated on the points I was making this morning. The Nigerian problem has not changed much in your absence, except to get progressively worse. It now stands as follows:

1. The two sides are in conference in Addis under the auspices of the OAU and the Chairmanship of Haile Selassie. The Feds have tabled a 9-point peace plan which, though still demanding that the Biafrans renounce secession, is by far the most realistic proposal yet offered. The proposal promises outside truce supervision by a neutral force (perhaps composed of Indians, Canadians and Ethiopians) an Ibo-dominated government for the Ibo heartland, a largely Ibo police force in Ibo areas, guarantee against a flood of Federal troops into Iboland, and a somewhat qualified promise of amnesty for the rebels. The Biafrans have flatly and publicly rejected this scheme, because it would require them to give up secession. As of Friday night, our people in Addis thought there was little hope that the talks would survive this week.

2. However, H.I.M. took things in hand and made it very difficult for either side to walk out. They are meeting again today on the basis of his secret proposals (to which we are not privy). Our betting is that Selassie is trying to get agreement on relief as a separate matter from the political settlement, which apparently is not yet possible.

3. We are doing everything we can—which is really very little—to help the Addis talks along. The President approved and sent a public message to H.I.M. before the start of the talks, as well as a confidential message to Houphouet-Boigny, who is likely to be the strongest influence on the rebels. We also made a demarche with Gowon in Lagos. We have now sent contingency messages from Rusk to H.I.M., to be delivered if the talks break down, which press for agreement on relief whatever the status of the political issues.

4. On the relief front, there has been little but frustration. Estimates of the extent of suffering vary, but the range (e.g., 400– 600 per day passing the point of no return of protein starvation) are sufficiently horrible to make the differences

The Red Cross has been flying 16–20 tons of food a night in its lone DC–4 (3 more DC–4’s are due soon). Even these flights have now been stopped, however, because Biafran arms planes have taken advantage of the reduced flak Gowon puts up against mercy flights, so that Gowon has stopped making any special provisions and the Red Cross has had some near misses. Thus, at the moment there is no relief food at all getting into Biafra.

5. Nor, I am afraid, is there a dependable mechanism for getting food in if the political settlement came tomorrow. The Red Cross has been woefully slow and ineffective in arranging the logistics, and I am afraid our Mission in Lagos is too sensitive to the feelings of the Federal Government to have done much pushing.

6. Today, therefore, we launched Bob Moore, Joe Palmer’s Deputy, to Geneva to try to (a) get the Red Cross thinking in terms of the airlift proposition I mentioned this morning, and (b) get the machine built which could provide the food if the politics will allow. Moore’s dispatch was made with a reasonable fanfare, which should help some at home.

7. The constraints on relief remain unchanged. The Nigerians will allow a land corridor, but not an airlift unless we can guarantee it won’t be used to aid arms shipments to Biafra. Biafrans will accept food by air but not by land, on the ground that any food which passes through Federal territory is likely to be poisoned. The Red Cross will not engage in any relief operation which does not have the explicit approval and full cooperation of both sides.

8. There is one possible break this afternoon. The Red Cross thinks Ojukwu is about to agree to set aside a particular airstrip solely for relief use. The Red Cross has instructed its Lagos man to try that out on Gowon. This may work, although Gowon is under immense pressure from his hawks (which include almost the entire Hausa population) not to allow any relief, particularly any which involved air traffic into Biafra.

9. All of this is happening in the shadow of what is pretty clearly a buildup for a new Federal offensive designed to take the 10,000 square miles still held by the rebels. Joe Palmer, who has just returned from Nigeria, thinks this will happen within the next couple of weeks. There are also mounting reports on increased Biafran military activity, allegedly (though probably falsely) led by French officers. If either or both sides take the offensive, the relief problem becomes almost impossible. We have had a strong go at the Feds on this point, but their answer is a forbidding “The other side has left us little choice.”

10. The public pressure here mounts daily. Biafran starvation has been front page news almost constantly while you were away, and I have learned this afternoon that Time now plans to do next week’s cover story on this problem. American opinion is heavily pro-Biafran, though without much knowledge of the facts. Both the Vice President and Senator McCarthy have issued very strong statements urging that we “cut red tape” and “do more than futile gestures.”

Unless Haile Selassie can bring off a miracle, we’re clearly down to the nitty gritty on this one with no solution in sight. Gowon cannot accept Biafran secession and hold his Government and the rest of the Federation together. Ojukwu, bolstered by De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny, still believes he is better off holding out than allowing his troops to be disarmed and risking slaughter of the Ibos. The Red Cross is slow, timid and inept. The Brits are acting as though they have decided that the only solution is a military solution imposed by Gowon. The French are actively pro-Biafran. The OAU is pro-Nigerian but split by the fact that four of its members recognize Biafra. The Russians are largely disinterested and identify with the Nigerians to the degree that they are interested. U Thant and the Pope make strong statements but are largely powerless.

Our own approach has been and is to (a) stimulate the Red Cross to serve as the international cover for a relief operation; (b) press, largely confidentially, on both sides to agree to a settlement, or at least to a relief agreement; (c) offer any and all help necessary to make a relief operation work; (d) push particularly hard on Gowon to dramatize the fact that it is not the Federal Government that is keeping the food out of Biafra; and (e) work out the logistics of the relief scheme so that it is ready to move as soon as political arrangements are made.

As I told you this morning, my own view is that our best hope is to persuade Gowon to permit air drops of food from planes departing from Federal territory. This would allow him to inspect cargoes to be sure there are no arms; dramatize the fact that he wants to aid the hungry; and it would actually move sizeable amounts of food into Biafra. From here on in it’s a race between this scheme and the military offensive we think is planned.



Re: Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by 0b100100111: 3:13pm On Jun 11, 2017
La read, La die!

Would have graduated with a pass honors from the university if I could read the long epistle

Someone should help summarize in two sentences!
Re: Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by Ovamboland(m): 4:23pm On Jun 11, 2017
Yet it pays their narrative to blame only others for the famine that ravaged their land during the war.

Ojukwu who preferred to sustain arms flight mixed with relief at the expense of lives of Biafran children is blameless

Same way only Nnamdi Kanu has right to ask for arms in pursuit of self determination but Arewa youth groups should be arrested for giving quit notice in pursuit of their own self determination
Re: Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by vengertime: 4:35pm On Jun 11, 2017
La read, La die!

Would have graduated with a pass honors from the university if I could read the long epistle

Someone should help summarize in two sentences!
it means Afonjas are cowards and are trying so hard to convince Biafrans to stay with them.

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Re: Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by 0b100100111: 4:39pm On Jun 11, 2017
it means Afonjas are cowards and are trying so hard to convince Biafrans to stay with them.

How re Afonja's convincing Biafran's?

They even will be the most excited
Re: Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by pazienza(m): 4:39pm On Jun 11, 2017
RE: NigerianID | Re:Robert S. Goldstein (Biafra
Public Relations Rep in the USA) - Letter of
Resignation to Odumegwu Ojukwu (1968)
Dr. Aluko:
It is obfuscation at its most blatant to read
Goldstein letter outside of the rationale for action
taken by Ojukwu and the Biafran leadership.
I'll attempt to answer your earlier questions posed
to me alonsgide this, because they are related.
- The first question was why Ojukwu did not, given
that Biafra had shrunk dramatically, not surrender
to save starving Biafrans.

- The second is, to link it to the substance of
Goldstein's letter, why Ojukwu insisted on ceasefire
and the airlift of relief to Biafrans as the only
grounds or conditions for accepting relief.
First, Ojukwu knew that an internationally observed
ceasefire was the only guarantee for the security
and safety of the Biafran. Second, the atrocities
recorded wherever the federal forces liberated lent
credence to that demand. In fact, it made it
imperative, particularly because the Lagos regime
was not prepared to negotiate in true faith for the
amicable end of the conflict.

The war strategy of the Gowon administration was
hell-bent on Biafra's complete surrender without
guarantees. No political and military leader will
agree to that kind of suicide. I'll return to this
point. But let me quote from Susan Cronje's quite
illuminating book, The World and Nigeria: The
Diplomatic History of the Biafran war 1967-1970
( I'd also recommend that you read the other,
Biafra: Britain's Shame). Cronje writes this about
the meeting in Niamey referenced by Goldstein:
"The Nigerian delegation was led by Chief
Awolowo, but General Gowon arrived in Niamey on
16 July and addressed the meeting as an

The main theme of his speech was a
warning that if the 'rebels persist in their
contemptuous attitude to the conference table the
federal government will have no choice but to take
over the remaining rebel-held areas...In military
terms the rebellion is virtually suppressed already.'
But the atmosphere had suibtly changed. hamani
diori had altrady suggested that the committee's
consultative role should be changed to a mediatory
one, and after Gowon's address the committee
went into closed session. Eventually it was
announced that that Ojukwu had been asked to
attend, and Gowon who had already returned to
Lagos flew back to Niamey the following day,
cancelling all engagements. His presence in
Niamey was required not for a meeting with
Ojukwu but to reply to a truce proposal put forward
among others by General Ankrah. This called for a
ten-mile wide demilitarized zone patrolled by
neutral troops to allow relief supplies to pass to
Biafran refugees. According to one account of the
debate, Gowon is said to have turned to General
Ankrah, saying, 'You are a military man: you know
what it is with commanders.'

The suggestion that
he might be unable to restrain his army was
reinforced when he warned the committee that if it
did not see things his way they would have to have
'a Nigeria without me.' According to a Niamey
radio report the following day, General Gowon
rejected the resolution put to him by the O.A.U.
committee; the main points of this resolution were
the establishment of a demilitarized zone and 'an
international force which would include neutral
observers acceptable to both sides.' Ghana and
Cameroun, the broadcast said, had offered
shipping facilities for moving relief supplies.
Ojukwu arrived in Niamey on 19 July in President
Houphet-Boigny's private jet.

The Biafran
delegation, when it was fully assembled, included
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the former Nigerian president,
Dr. Okpara, former Eastern Nigerian premier, Sir
Louis Mbanefo, Dr. Eni Njoku and several other
notables; Lagos was not far off in suggesting that
the 'entire rebel leadership' had assembled in
Niger. At the end of the meeting between Ojukwu
and the consltative committee - Gowon had
returned to Lagos two days previously - a
communique was issued. Two versions appear to
be in existence; the one broadcast by Niamey radio

(1) the Nigerian Federal Military Government
and Colonel Ojukwu have agreed to meet
immediately in Niamey under the chairmanship of
President Diori Hamani in order to begin
preliminary talks on a speedy resumption of
Nigerian peace negotiations;

(2) the Nigerian
Federal Military Government and Colonel Ojukwu
have agreed to resume as soon as possible peace
negotiations in Addis Ababa under the auspices of
the O.A.U Consultative Committee on Nigeria.' The
version as broadcast by Lagos - and which does
not pretend to be a verbatim report - said that the
committee had called on both parties to resume
peace talks as soon as possible, '... with the
objecvtive of preserving Nigeria's territiorial
integrity and guaranteeing the security of all its
inhabitants.' The committee said, according to this
broadcast, that 'it will be in contact with the federal
military government, and Ojukwu or his
representativs may at any time contact any
member government of the committee.' The Lagos
version went on to cite two further point of which
ther was no mention in the Niamey version, both
dealing with relief, and appealing to the two sides
to undertake various mesures to alleviate the
suffering among war victims.

In view of the strong criticism that has been
levelled at the Biafran leadership for its
intrasigence, and the high praise heaped o General
Gowon and his Government for humanitarian
concern and magnanimity, it should be stressed
that in Niamey Gowon rejected the O.A.U
proposals for a partial truce and international
policing of relief routes, while Ojukwu was
prepared to accept both these proposals. When
Ojukwu returned to Biafra, he gave a press
conference at which he was asked whether his
invitation to the OAU had meant any form of
recognition of him. For once Ojukwu was cautious
in his reply: 'Let's put it this way. My presence in
Niamey for once represents the O.A.U's acceptance
that there are two sides to a conflict.' He would not
reveal any further details about the forthcoming
Addis Ababa peace talk, but said, 'I find myself in
a rather simillar situation as after Aburi.' He did
not want to say anything in case Lagos started
'interpreting it, and go back to square
one..." (302-303)

The foregoing provides the clear context of the
situation, that it was not Ojukwu, but Gowon who
rejected the proposals by which Ojukwu and the
Biafran leadership was prepared to abide.The
context is clearly established and makes nonsense
of Golsdstein's ground for resignation.

While the Biafran government was prepared to act
without precondition, the Nigerian authorities
persistenly insisted on Biafran surrender. It was a
deliberate and determined argument made to make
certain that the only solution was by a military
solution because Lagos knew that the basic
grounds on which it made its offer of relief was
conditional and unconscionable.

It was to disavow
the very basic reason why Biafra defended itself in
the first place: its sovereignty as a means to the
safety, security and dignity of its population. Now,
were the Gowon administration acting in good
faith, that would be a differet matter. What
guaratees could Biafrans have, had Ojukwu
surrendered as a condition for food? None.
Here is the evidence narrated by John Stremlau in
his The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil
War how Gowon's cable upturned the agreements
reached in May 1968 in kampala between Eni
Njoku and Enahoro in which Eni Njoku had in fact
"conceded the evntuality of one-Nigeria."

Stremalau notes, "Whereas Enahoro had left
acceptance of the twelve-state structure implicit
in his propsals, Gowon insisted that before any
agreement was reached the rebels must explictly
embrace the twelve states. In addition, Gowon
stipulated that there would be no question of an
interim commission for the rebel-held areas, there
would be no recruitment and formation of Ibo
units into the federal armed forces, and no
elements of the rebel troops or police would be
allowed to retain their arms. Gowon's instruction,
which did not reach Kampala until shortly after
Enahoro had made his presentation, clearly
reflected the views of the more hawkish elements
in the federal government" (172-173).

To put these in summary:
(a) Ojukwu did not reject relief, he wanted the
security and guarantee of safety for Biafrans. He
was in fact willing to accept the O.A.U's proposals

(b) Gowon and the Lagos administration
manipulated international propaganda, as testified
in the versions of the broadcasts of the Niamey
agreement to further its own goals of the
liquidation of Biafra

(c) The federal government was not, in spite of all
the efforts made by the Biafrans willing to
negotiate peace, they were hell-bent on
"surrender" as the only condition for the survival
of the Biafran population.

If anybody must bear responsbility, it must be
those who kept using the talks to elongate the
suffering of the civilian population, and clearly this
are the 'hawks" who placed the only condition for
peace on Biafra's surrender and liquidation. And
there, you have it.

Obi Nwakanma
To: naijaintellects@googlegroups.com
CC: NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com;
Raayiriga@yahoogroups.com; nowa_o@...;
From: alukome@...
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 04:28:54 +0100


Re: Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by vengertime: 4:40pm On Jun 11, 2017

How is Afonja's convincing Biafran's?

They even will be the most excited
bring it on, all hail Biafrans, all hail Nnamdi kanu

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Re: Biafra War, Nigeria, Starvation And Land Corridors by pazienza(m): 4:52pm On Jun 11, 2017
“Its (mass starvation) is a legitimate aspect of war (Anthony Enahoro, Nigerian Commissioner for Information at a press conference in New York, July 1968)

“Starvation is a weapon of war, and we have every intention of using it against the rebels” (Mr Alison Ayida, Head of Nigerian delegation, Niamey Peace talks, July 1968.)
“The Igbos must be considerably reduced in number”, Lagos Policeman quoted in New York Review 21 December, 1967)
“Until now efforts to relieve the Biafran people have been thwarted by the desire of the central government to pursue total and unconditional victory and by the fear of the Ibo people that surrender means wholsesale atrocities and genocide. But genocide is what is taking place right now- and starvation is the grim reaper. This is not the time to stand on ceremony, or go through channels or to observe diplomatic niceties. The destruction of an entire people is immoral objective, even in the most moral of wars. It can never be condoned”, (Richard Nixon, during the presidential campaign, September 9, 1968)

“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”, (Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nigerian Minister of Finance, July 28, 1969)


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