The article, “50,000 children face death by starvation in northern Nigeria” appearing in the (UK) Telegraph News of 29 July 2016 7:46pm by Con Coughlin, Defence Editor, concludes with:
“One of the reasons we have this humanitarian crisis in northern Nigeria is that Mr Buhari is diverting vital resources away from the campaign to pursue his own political agenda,” explained a senior Western official. “The Nigerian government, which is receiving significant amounts of foreign aid, needs to understand that its main priority is to deal with Boko Haram, and also to make sure Nigeria does not suffer the worst humanitarian disaster in its history.”
The world’s reaction to starving children in Africa has to be a human caring beyond an expression of discomfiture at the unconscionable eyesore. As for world leaders and many of their African counterparts, we’ve learned to expect their response to be no more than mere propaganda in pursuit of their foreign policy, which policies, with regards to Africa, have always turned disastrous for the continent and for Africans. Let us show how this article innocently brushes by the observations above.
Contrary to the façade, it was the West who decided and placed Buhari in power in Nigeria this time around (2015), not the ballot. Voting was neither free nor fair: it was not even non-violent. Months before, Buhari’ s Boko Haram (by a different name) had made certain that all Igbo were systematically (read: “pogrom-atically”) cleared out of Northern Nigeria, because it was they the Igbo whose dispersal and voting pattern allowed Jonathan to claim at least 25% support from every zone, including but especially in Northern Nigeria, a requirement which clinched Jonathan the presidency earlier. Whatever informed that decision by the West, like many such counsels, has led to an awful decision. Unfortunately, the West will not admit it. Despite having the means for sophisticated psychological profiling, they still imposed Buhari on Nigeria. Despite the facts of Buhari’s previous and current behaviour and even horrid acts in his fixation to become the president of Nigeria, the West still chose to impose him on Nigeria. Why are they acting like they are truly concerned now?
The “senior Western official”, according to this article, is concerned to “make sure Nigeria does not suffer the worst humanitarian disaster in its history”. Really? Are we not talking about starving children to death, and is “Doctors Without Borders” not mentioned in the same article? He should ask Doctors who will tell him that the worst humanitarian disaster in Nigeria’s history was the starving to death, between 1968 and 1971, of over one million Biafran children (not counting their often pregnant mothers) during and right after the Biafra-Nigeria war of Genocide in 1967-1970. Doctors Without Borders was in the thick of it doing what they do best (bless their heart!) while British-supported Nigerian military shot at them. If asked, Doctors Without Borders would have told him that it was at that human disaster that they cut their teeth, and most of what they learned and use today in dealing with human (“humanitarian”) disasters were learnt during and right after the Biafra genocide. How is Nigeria ever going to top that, except when we decide to forget history? Why would a Western official, a senior at that, pretend this history did not happen in Nigeria? Here, it was Harold Smith’s UK government at the time who, in full support and sustenance of the Nigerian army and government, equipped and planned the genocidal total blockade of Biafra, knowing fully well the consequences. The rest of the West for the most part acquiesced as millions of Biafran children were starved to death, because of UK’s foreign policy. If the West decides to not remember that their foreign policy starved over one million Biafran children to death in Nigeria, what makes one think that in another year, they will remember these fifty thousand starving children in northern Nigeria? They won’t; what will happen is another foreign policy blunder, and another statement of concern.
Incidentally, same Buhari was a Nigerian military officer during that genocide in which he participated; today, he has bragged and sworn in most Western capitals on his state visits that he will continue to kill Biafrans. How’s that for full circle? Yet, Western governments support him. For example, today, even the government of Germany is openly soliciting to supply arms to Buhari’s government: can you believe that?
The cycle of starving children to death in Nigeria or Biafra, no matter their numbers, will be broken the day foreigners stop imposing their policies in Nigeria and on Nigeria. The problem of Nigeria is “one-Nigeria”: the expensive illusion that Nigeria can continue to be forced into non-existent, impossible and unattainable unity. You’d think Western powers and leaders would have learnt by now? Of course they are smart; they know. If they have, they can do Nigeria, Africa and the world a favor: support Self Determination in Nigeria, exercised through a referendum. Save our children…the right and effective way: Referendum.
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD., MSc.
A Biafran Citizen