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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Biafra War In Nigeria: Causes, Development, And Aftermath

Nigeria is an artificial structure created by colonial powers in the 19th century. Although Nigeria has over 300 different ethnicities, unlike many other African nations, Nigeria is divided into three main regions which are composed of three distinct people, the Igbos of the south-eastern Nigeria, the Hausa-Fulani of northern Nigeria, and the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. These different groups have their independent customs, and values and as such, they historically remained separated from each other.

Because of the differences in customs and values, the political system became divergent. The Hausa-Fulani of the north are traditionally ruled by a strict, Islamic hierarchy. Leaders are obeyed without questions. The Yoruba of the south west are ruled by series of monarchs that are less autocratic compared to that of the north. The Yoruba social and political system provides a greater upward mobility. Very diverse of the Yoruba and Hausa, the Igbos live in autonomous and democratic communities.  Although there are few monarchs in some cities, decisions are mainly made by assemblies where every man had the right to participate. This system provides a social and political mobility greater than that of the Yoruba with high status obtained through personal ability and through acquiring wealth.

The British colonial authorities in Nigeria found it convenient to rule indirectly through an already existing tribal political system. In the north, the British ruled through the monarch-like emirs, to maintain a rigid social and political institution. The Christian missionaries were excluded from the north, leading to lack of education and social progression. This was an indirect contrast to the south where Western education was rapidly and effectively established by the missionaries. As a result, the Yoruba’s became the first group in Nigeria to introduce modern African civil servants, lawyers, medical professionals and technicians.

As a result, to the changes and progression, in 1960 Nigerian claimed its independence, and the northern side of Nigeria remained under developed with a literacy of 2%. In contrast, the Igbos became more politically and economically prosperous, with educated men dominating many fields throughout Nigeria.
During the colonial period, the British divided Nigeria into three regions intensified competitions between the three main ethnic groups. These ethnic groups formed political parties that are largely regional and tribal. however, the country was evenly divided to an extent, the north had a slightly larger population. The federal legislature created by the colonial authorities granted the Hausa-Fulani of the north the majority seat.

The ethnic tension because of the coup and counter-coup which increased among the rivaling ethnic groups, and mass pogroms which was committed in May 1996, followed by those in July and September, a large scale of massacres and horrific atrocities aimed at Christian Igbo living in the Muslim North, and the murder of soldiers and officers in the north became a frequent occurrence. It was estimated that 30,000 out of 13 million Igbo people lost their lives, resulting to a mass exodus of 1.8 million refugees to the Igbo South east.


1 comment:

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