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Slave of Igbo extraction took control of a slave ship, killed the slave merchants aboard and all of them committed suicide by drowning in the sea.
The moment those Igbo captives decided to move against their abductors, they knew their lives were gone but they chose to die on their own terms. They refused to give their enemies, the satisfaction of giving them a humiliating and painful death. Their uncommon bravery reverberated through the annals of black history.
This has symbolic importance in African American folklore history in Durban creek on St Simon’s Island County Georgia.
The exploit of the Igbo captives in Dunbar Creek wasn’t just a spur of a moment’s decision. An average Igbo man detests oppression with every ounce of his strength. Few years ago, I did a little research on Afro Jamaican history. I read about how Igbo captives were very rebellious and suicidal. They find it hard to submit to the whims of their slave masters. They preferred to take their lives than allow themselves to be treated like sub-humans. They were thorns in the flesh of their masters.
It is still the same spirit that is driving the Igbos agitation to exit this present contraption in Nigeria put together by our colonial masters for their selfish interests. The Igbos were the first people to challenge the Northern oligarchs which have had an edge over the other parts of Nigeria since her independence. While other ethnic groups are happy to be playing second fiddle to the Northern oligarchs, the Igbos want out. They abhor oppression very much unlike the other tribes especially from the south.
Igbos went to war with other parts of Nigeria as a result of the pogroms which took place after the July 1966 coup. Many people of Igbo extraction were killed in the North while the then military government looked the other way. The military governor in the Eastern region Col Ojukwu felt disgusted by incessant killings by his people, so he had no choice than to secede from Nigeria. The Military Head of State threatened to arrest him but he was stunned by the stiff resistance, the Biafra Army put up. The war spanned 30 months. The federal forces were able to defeat the Biafra forces due to the military support that the former got from the imperialists who were very interested in the unity of Nigeria because of their vested interests in the contraption.
When the war ended, the spirit of Igbo people was weakened but not defeated. The military government declared, ‘NO VICTOR, NO VANQUISH’ but those words were empty. With a paltry £20 which was handed to every Igbo adult irrespective of the money he/she had in his/her bank account before the genocide against Biafra because, Nigerian forces as led by the then General Yakubu Gowon, violated the Geneva Convention to slaughter hapless and helpless women, and children.
Igbo people started from scratch again and within two decades, they literally own the commerce of Nigeria on their palms. With no government aid, they rebuilt their cities ruined by the genocide(deceitfully labelled civil war by Nigeria and the rest of the Western world that callously endorsed it), they own choice properties and businesses in all the major cities in the country. Take a stroll to Lagos during the yuletide season when the majority of Igbo people travel home to spend the festivities with their kinsmen, the State usually, becomes like a graveyard.
Igbo people don’t only despise oppression, they empower themselves very much so as not to be willing tools in the hands of people with oppressive tendencies.
By Ehi Omelemen
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK