by Isi Esene
Nigeria’s Civil War president, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), has hit renowned writer, Chinua Achebe, very hard over the content of his recently released book on the Nigerian Civil War saying Achebe was writing from a position of ignorance.
The ex-president reportedly said this yesterday while speaking to newsmen on a visit to Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu at the Presidential Lodge, Minna, Niger state.
He said neither he nor Obafemi Awolowo had any regret over the decisions made during the war stressing that he is ready to face the International Criminal Court of Justice at the Hague to defend his actions during the war.
“What role did Achebe play in the secessionist plans? Achebe must have been outside the country during the war and probably did not know what happened during the period otherwise he would not have written on what he was not sure of.
“In fact , if there was no secession by the south eastern part of the country, there would have been no civil war because right from the beginning of the crises, the war would have been averted if not for the secession . It was something I believed we could have stopped,” he stressed.
Gowon also denied the allegation that the federal troops used hunger as a weapon to dislodge Igbos during the war.
“It was the Igbo that objected to the creation of corridor for movements of medical aid and food supplies to the civilian population at the period; on this, I am ready to face the International Criminal Court of Justice at the Hague for prosecution over the role played by me during the war and, fortunately, some Nigerians are still alive to bear witness to the roles played by both the leadership of the secessionist group and the then Federal Military Government under my leadership” he claimed.
Gowon, who was in Minna for a 2-day prayer organized by Nigeria Prays, a group he leads, said that the massive deaths recorded by the Igbo during the civil war was caused by their own propaganda machine which claimed that the northern invaders were coming to their camps and that caused panic and pandemonium among their people because some people were trying to move from one location to the other out of fear of imaginary attacks by the so called northern invaders and without food.