The #IgboLivesMatter trend is another reason to overhaul Nigeria’s security system

Igbo Lives Matter

The discontent with Nigeria’s unity is not exclusive of a section of the Igbo tribe. The now well established desire to secede has gone beyond Nigeria’s sovereign borders, which was birthed by a civil war that led to the death of thousands of Igbo people, and is fuelled by claims that a supposed main ethnic group is intentionally politically and socially marginalised.

This conversation, now more frequent than ever, became a trend today and focused on who in Nigeria is marginalised or not. It was heavily influenced by a report of killings in Enugu and the silent treatment by the government.

Twitter users have trended #IgboLivesMatters, asking questions on marginalisation, and why the government would constantly look away, instead of living up to its mandate of protecting lives and property.

While Nigeria is seemingly appearing and addressed as an independent republic, certain ethnic groups pride themselves in an identity that attempts to seclude them from the whole. A separationist agenda you may call it – for the Yoruba, The Oduduwa Republic stands as an aggregate out of a larger whole, the same goes with the Hausas and Fulani with their identity as Kaser Arewa and the Igbos as Biafra.

On a larger note, nothing should appear harmful in these regional connotations if you consider that Nigeria in itself is a mix of several ethnic groups. However, independent-thinking groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been declared a terrorist group by the Nigerian government following aggressive protests that challenge the competence of Nigerian leaders and threatens the unity of Nigeria.

But, its not about groups and agenda, it is about security.

Let us rewind time a bit.

In 1945, the first incident in which the murder of Igbo people took place in Nigeria was in Jos, where hundreds of Igbos lives were taken by the Hausa-Fulani people. During the pogrom, tens of thousands of pounds sterling worth of their property were also looted or destroyed. No person was apprehended or charged by the British regime nor an enquiry set to determine the “official” cause of this gruesome act.

The second mass killing of Igbos and other Biafrans happened in Kano in 1953. It ended the same way as the first.

Between May and October 1966, more than 30,000 Igbos and other Biafrans were killed in Northern Nigeria, and between October 1966 and June 1967 more than 100,000 more were massacred. The list goes on to the civil war in January 1970 and down to the fresh killings in Enugu.

As expected the #IgboLivesMatter trend has divided the country along ethnic lines, but it is not a separationist agenda. Nigerians who have jumped on this trend are simply calling for the government to be proactive in protecting lives.

For how long are we going to continue budgeting billions for security, yet have sections of the country sleeping with their lights on?

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