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There are Many Decisions Involved

There’s lots to decide and when searching for the most effective decisions there will be some in disagreement. Even when there are many without understanding there has to be decisions made. If situations are left unattended then there could be more problems to deal with which could lead to stressful situations. Some of what occurs could avoided but due to “the actions” there’s troubles. Yes, every person will have to deal with all sorts of matters but there are situations occurring in which some are just causing due to their line of thinking. “There must be continued progress towards creating a more stabilized world.” (Tanikka Paulk)

No matter what’s decided it’s best to stick to the decisions and refuse to be concerned about the ones disagreeing about what’s decided. There’s the ability to be stern when need be. If any person is in a leadership position then they’ll have to learn how to be firm. Although there are many unwilling to accept the decisions made by individuals in higher positions there are some who will have learn “to adjust.” There are laws and some just have to be enforced. A country could crumble if too many are allowed to commit acts which could cause disorder.

What’s considered doesn’t need to be revealed once individuals are aware of the motions they’ll try to cause havoc. It’s better to just proceed and allow what needs to occur to occur. There are disciplines and yes there will be some unwilling to accept what’s called sentencing. “God can decide to offer His discipline but mankind has the authority to offer the punishments in which mankind is selected to project.” (Tanikka Paulk). Imagine a crowd displaying disorderly behavior. How will the crowd calm down? There has to be some decisions made to lower the law breaking risks.

There has to be decisions to be effective leaders. To lead in a way that helps build a stronger society. Some will want to be saved because they’ve caused chaos but there will have to be some consequences. When to decide when to administer the consequences which are needed to create order of a “country or countries?” The sooner the more effective the actions will become. Some leaders will be misunderstood and some will be embraced. There will have to be difficult decisions. The time is now.

I’ve been placed in some sticky situations. There could be many risks involved when dealing with certain groups of People. Some aren’t considering that their actions could cause others to be in the same situation they’re in. There has to be focus on the areas in which will help society become whole. What’s offered could be taken advantage of but the “decisions” absolutely have to occur. “To understand can help lower law breaking and help with growing the economy.” By: Tanikka Paulk

“My Decision Making Shall not be Controlled.” (Tanikka Paulk)

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Must Continue to be Functional and Operational

Although there are so many lacking the ability to understand. They’re refusing to accept what’s decided and what has been decided by God. Mankind seems to think that they can overpower and overturn certain decisions made. What should one do when being challenged, attacked, and harassed while trying to accomplish certain goals? Prayer is how I deal with the problems and in some cases we’ll need to address the issues on a personal level. Mostly ignoring such behavior may help. “There is no need to address all behaviors doing so can create stress.” (Tanikka Paulk). In order to be productive there will need to be the ability to tune out however there will be circumstances where tuning out is difficult to do.

Yes I’ve been challenged many times. There are some insisting on causing havoc but there is still the desire to proceed. Productivity will occur despite what some will try to do. Perhaps they’re lacking attention but there needs to be boundaries set so that there are less invasions. There are so many invasive People and there needs to be some measures in place so that there are less invasions occurring. The groups of People haven’t yet learned to mind their own business. They’re hanging on like babies needing their mother’s milk.

Irritation yes but the problematic individuals won’t stop what is to occur. They’ve been addressed and continue to send the words which are insulting but aren’t going to create a cease. Eventually they’ll settle down because they’ll have no other choice. There’s functionality and there should be. Every move made they’re watching, they shouldn’t be aware of every action to take place, there needs to be some privacy. Although the individuals have caused problems there are decisions continuing to “be made” without their knowledge. That’s the best route.

There are decision makers with high standards continuing to make moves which People are unable to see. However there are some aware of some of the movements occurring. “There are many hills to climb and battles to be won so there should be the confidence to conquer.” (Tanikka Paulk). Time continues to proceed and no matter how many aren’t accepting of such there seems to be some willing to accomplish what certainly needs to be accomplished. I’m continuing for many reasons. What has occurred God has allowed.

My thoughts are focused on getting closer to the finish line. I’ve been selected, chosen, previously voted in when holding Official Titles on the Committee and Board. Was chosen to be the President, Vice President, and Assistant Secretary of The Policy Committee in Coconut Grove Florida. There is experience and experience can be held higher than degrees. I Tanikka Paulk was also a member of The United Teacher of Dade Union. Bylaws, Polices, and Procedures. So while some may think that there’s no “qualifications” there is. Qualified worked since the age of 14. There will be my Political Stance addressed.

Sometimes there will be Decisions made which some are too thrilled about. There will be positions held in which some were unaware of the Positions. There will need to be the ability to deal with cynical behaviors. Yes, there will be attacks, and there are ways to deal with the matters, being calm certainly will help but there are some willing to push and push. The functionality proceeds and although there are so many waiting to be thorns there will be progress. Former President Barack Obama stated, “Yes we Can.” There will be many changes occurring and there will be some having difficulties adjusting to the changes.

“My Name is Tanikka Paulk and I’m Continuing.” (Tanikka Paulk)

Photo Belongs to Tanikka Paulk

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5 Fast Facts About The Paris Climate Change Agreement

It seems like you can’t read a newspaper or turn on a television without reading a new study on climate change. With melting ice caps and species dying, things are a bit frightening.

And given recent events, it seems discussions are more heated than ever.

President Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement was a controversial decision, to say the least. Previously, the U.S. was working with 195 other countries to try and combat the effects of global warming.

But what is exactly is the Accord and what does it mean for international diplomacy?

Keep reading for some quick facts to get you up to speed.

5 Fast Facts About the Paris Climate Change Agreement

1. The United States Can’t Pull Out Overnight

It’s going to take a few years before the U.S. is officially done with the Paris Accord. While Trump’s decision made headlines, the withdrawal will take more time than he thinks.

Just how long will it take for the United States to revoke their membership? About 4 years, which coincides with the next presidential election.

This means that Trump’s decision can be easily reversed should he not serve a second term.

2. There are Only 3 Countries Not Participating in the Agreement

Originally, there were only 2 countries — Nicaragua and Syria — that didn’t sign on to the Accord. Should President Trump’s decision stand, the United States will become the third.

Even areas that the U.S. has traditionally had issues with such as Russia and North Korea participate.

3. The Paris Climate Change Agreement Isn’t Legally Binding

As it turns out, the reason Nicaragua declined to sign was for this very reason. While the country acknowledges climate change as a very real threat, they believe it’s up to the richer nations to combat change first.

And therein lies one of the most important aspects of the Accord. It isn’t a legally binding document, so there isn’t much of anything to hold a country’s feet to the fire. Participation is entirely on a voluntary basis.

4. China and India Complicate Matters

And since the Accord is voluntary, there aren’t any tangible consequences — at least not yet.

China and India pose the two biggest threats to the fight on climate change, as both nations produce large amounts of carbon emissions.

You may recall President Trump’s assertion that, “China can do whatever they want for 13 years” while the U.S. has to reduce coal production. In fact, it was touted as one of his primary reasons for removing the U.S. from talks.

His statement, however, is simply not true. PolitiFact points out that the document doesn’t prohibit any nation from anything.

5. Most State Representatives Aren’t Happy With the Decision

Several states have already said that they’re not following the President’s orders. In fact, New York and California have already promised to reduce their emissions.

In an unprecedented move, Trump’s decision united bipartisan efforts to combat climate change.

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Geographies of African corruption and embezzlement of funds

The purpose of this paper is to study the uneven geographies of corruption on the African continent. Corruption is an entrenched part of African political culture. However, the degree and impacts of corruption vary widely across the continent, ranging from failed states such as Somalia to the region’s bright spot Botswana. This paper first defines corruption and discusses its causes and effects. It then delves into the specifics of African corruption, including its causes and effects such as patrimonial political cultures, clientelism and the role of natural resource exports.

The study uses data from Transparency International to assess African corruption empirically and geographically, and links its levels of severity using correlations to gross domestic product per capita, literacy, income inequality and freedom of the media.

The major findings are that while the vast majority of the continent’s one billion people live under very corrupt regimes, the impacts of corruption on economic growth are questionable. Few geographic studies of corruption exit.

The paper’s novelty stems in part from being the first to explore African corruption from a spatial perspective, illustrating its widely varying contexts and consequences.

Corruption is a highly visible aspect of African politics, with a number of high-profile scandals standing out. For example, Mobutu Sese Seko, long-time tyrant of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), amassed a fortune of US$5bn, equal to the country’s entire external debt, before he was ousted in 1997 (Thomas, 2001; Svensson, 2005). The widespread corruption overseen by Kenya’s Daniel arap Moi is seen in the millions of dollars lost in “massive cash subsidies for fictitious exports of gold and diamonds” in the Goldenberg scandal (Vasagar, 2006). Nigeria’s Sani Abacha (Pallister and Capella, 2000) and South Africa’s Jackie Selebi (Schwella, 2013) are also among public officials implicated in major corruption scandals. More recently, opposition to corruption in Africa was manifest in the events of the Arab Spring. Tunisia and Egypt were among the earliest and the most visible of these revolutions (Anderson, 2011), while Occupy Nigeria arose later to protest removal of an oil subsidy that undergirded an uneasy peace between parts of Nigerian society and the corrupt state (Agbedo, 2012). Kofele-Kale (2006, p. 697) summarizes the dismal state of African corruption succinctly:

Corruption is a punishable offense under the laws of nearly every African state, and it is expressly prohibited in several of their constitutions and in various regional and pan-African anti-corruption instruments. In fact, Africa’s leadership is so concerned about the problem of corruption that hardly a day goes by without some government entity criticizing corruption and its cancerous effects on African society. Yet, for all the bombast about eradicating corruption, Africa has made little progress on this front.

Corruption is almost universal across the planet but varies widely in severity, type and consequences. Although corruption is not unique to Africa, African corruption remains pervasive and among the world’s most severe (Lawson, 2009). For example, data from Transparency International (about which more later) indicate that six African countries are rated as “extremely corrupt” (scores under 20) and another 35 are considered “very corrupt” (scores 20-39); only Botswana emerges as a member of the “slightly corrupt” group, and no African country is among the “least corrupt” group which includes most of the economically advanced world. Ninety per cent of Africa’s population – roughly one billion people of 1.2 billion – thus live under very or extremely corrupt governments, a rate that exceeds most of the rest of the world.

Corruption is one of the several factors that have hindered African economic development, a governance issue with a wide variety of deleterious social and political consequences. Unfortunately, geographical analyses of this phenomenon have been highly limited and have been mostly confined to a few case studies of India (Robbins, 2000; Corbridge and Kumar, 2002; Jeffrey, 2002), and a critique of anti-corruption campaigns (Brown and Cloke, 2004). Bracking (2009) offers a rare exception concerning Africa, noting that corruption in Zimbabwe is not an exception to neoliberal rule but an integral part of it. Yet, there are virtually no other works on the spatiality of corruption in Africa.

Although it is arguably the most corrupt continent on the planet, corruption in Africa has been largely neglected by geographers. This paper seeks to fill this void; its aim is to disclose the uneven geography of corruption there and the causes of differences in the level of severity found among its various countries, noting that causes, severity and effects vary across the continent. Its primary focus is on the roles of the “resource curse” and globalization as two predominant forces that have facilitated and constrained corruption, respectively. It opens with an overview of the definitions of corruption, its causes and its consequences. Next, it turns to the specifics of corruption on the African continent, noting the roles played by colonial borders, patrimonial politics, foreign aid and the “resource curse”. The third part briefly summarizes the data used in the empirical analysis; the fourth correlates corruption scores with gross domestic product (GDP) levels and growth, income inequality, literacy, export intensity, reliance on raw materials exports, media freedom and government effectiveness in combatting corruption. The conclusion emphasizes the uneven spatial nature of corruption, its cultural and institutional embeddedness and the uncertain role of anti-corruption campaigns.

In its broadest sense, corruption may be defined as the use of public office and funds for private gains (Bardhan, 1997, 2006). Within this umbrella fall a large number of illicit, illegal and immoral behaviors, including graft, bribes, extortion, embezzlement, inflated payrolls in which the designated payees do not receive funds (“ghost salaries”), over-invoicing, theft of foreign aid, a blind eye toward smuggling, the purchase and sale of legislative votes, nepotistic hiring practices and selling of government contracts, licenses and land concessions, to name but a few. Petty corruption may be practiced on a small scale by few individuals, such as police or customs officials, while grand corruption may be institutionalized as wholesale, well-organized kleptocracies designed to enrich a small elite at the expense of the public. Both types are found in Africa; whereas the former is essentially ubiquitous, the latter varies geographically, depending on several factors such as colonial legacies, the structure of exports and associated revenues and the degree to which international agencies [e.g. the International Monetary Fund (IMF), non-governmental organizations (NGOs)] have intervened in particular states.

Corruption occurs when the expected benefits exceed the costs, and it is thus a form of rent-seeking behavior (Klitgaard, 1988). Benefits are not limited to monetary gains but include acquiring political office, power and prestige. The likelihood of corruption must be measured against the probability of being caught or exposed and the associated penalties. In large part, these reflect the transparency of government actions and the degree of administrative oversight and accountability involved.

Several factors either exacerbate or inhibit corruption. Poor countries tend to have the highest levels (Warf, 2016), and the poor, who rely the most heavily on public services, often face demands for bribes to obtain them. Corruption flourishes in secretive environments in which deals and decisions are made out of view of the public (Jain, 2001). Democratic societies tend to have lower levels of corruption because they create mechanisms for accountability and the enforcement of laws (Moreno, 2002). Indeed, many of the most notoriously corrupt governments at present are profoundly anti-democratic (Treisman, 2000; Billger and Goel, 2009); examples include North Korea, China, Iran and Eritrea. Low literacy rates also contribute: uninformed populations cannot be made easily aware of the extent of government malfeasance. Unsurprisingly, corruption is the most severe in countries without an effective independent media, which serves as a watchdog and a whistle blower (Brunetti and Weder, 2003). Low salaries of public employees are a common cause (van Rijckeghent and Weder, 2001).

Globalization may have several effects on corruption, although the relations between the two are contingent and complex. Foreign investors, for example, may prefer relatively non-corruption environments in which the costs of doing business are low. Lalountas et al. (2011), using cross-section data for 127 countries, found that globalization [in the forms of foreign direct investment (FDI) and import penetration] mitigated corruption in relatively developed countries but had little impact in poorer ones. Corrupt practices such as smuggling or black market money exchanges flourish when government policies are overly restrictive, unduly complicated, irrational, rigid or unrealistic (such as setting official exchange rates too high). Corrupt countries tend to have porous borders through which drugs, weapons or slaves may be moved easily.

Finally, corruption is often associated with the “resource curse”. Economists have noted the “paradox of plenty”, in which resource-dependent economies often perform worse than those lacking in such wealth (Bulte et al., 2005; Humphreys et al., 2007). Raw materials usually command low prices on the world market, and their revenue streams may be easily diverted by well-connected elites. Resource-rich countries may be also more inhospitable to democratic institutions (Jensen and Wantchekon, 2004), particularly when potential public revenues from the exports of oil, copper or diamonds are minimized by poorly enforced taxation policies.

Corruption also reflects cultural norms, which vary widely among societies. Where it is widespread and endemic, it is often accepted simply as another part of doing business. Bribery may be viewed simply as a means to get the bureaucratic machinery to move forward, and enriching oneself at public expense may not be seen as particularly loathsome. As Bardhan (1997, p. 1330) puts it, “What is regarded in one culture as corrupt may be considered a part of routine transaction in another”. Masculinist cultures tend to exhibit more corruption than do societies in which women hold larger shares of public office (Goetz, 2000; Swamy et al., 2001). Parboteeah et al. (2014) suggest that varying ethical climates, including the teaching of ethics in corporate and public sector human resources departments, help to explain the geography of African corruption.

Corruption has numerous corrosive effects on an economy and society. In societies in which it is deeply entrenched, it lowers public morale and creates cynicism and distrust of the state. In Mali, for example, the overthrow of President Moussa Traoré in 1991 led to the burning of customs and tax offices, traditional centers of high-level corruption and embezzlement (Harsh, 1993). Corruption also inhibits the efficiency and effectiveness of government policies, including the appropriate delivery of public monies to their intended ends. Corrupt construction contractors may erect buildings that are shoddy and unsafe, or use public funds to build luxury homes for wealthy politicians. In South Africa, corrupt elites captured the public utilities, awarding themselves with subsidized water, while the poor pay higher prices charged by private firms (Auriol and Blanc, 2009). Nepotistic hiring short-circuits meritocratic hiring systems and fills public offices with unqualified, underqualified or incompetent staff. Corruption can also undermine the quality of education and retard progress in eliminating illiteracy (Reinikka and Svensson, 2005).

Numerous economists have studied corruption’s influences on markets (Mauro, 1995; Bardhan, 1997; Aidt, 2003; Rose-Ackerman, 2006). High levels of corruption are associated with reduced FDI (Wei, 2000; Habib and Zurawicki, 2002). By raising transactions costs, it increases the cost of doing business, notably production and transportation costs, and reduces profits. Corruption raises the barriers to entry for non-privileged groups, notably those lacking in political connections (Fisman, 2001) and funds for bribes and kickbacks. Corruption also increases inequality (Gupta et al., 2002), typically imposing its greatest costs on the poor.

Corruption in africa is a tragedy.

 

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CORRUPTION AND UNDERDEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
Abstract
Africa is endowed with abundant natural resources and it has attracted development aid from
the rich nations of the world. Despite these, the continent remains undeveloped. Different
reasons have been attributed to the African development crisis among the modernist school and
the dependency school. This study was undertaken to unravel the cause of the African
underdevelopment. The paper pinpoints that corruption is the core reason behind African
underdevelopment and it laid emphasis on corruption and underdevelopment interface in
Nigeria. For Africa to break the impasse of underdevelopment, the paper calls for good
governance and the establishment of special agencies to monitor all development projects
undertaking by African countries.
Keywords: Africa, Corruption, Socio-economic development, underdevelopment
INTRODUCTION
The attempt by countries in Africa to break the cycle underdevelopment has been hindered by
the high level of corruption in the continent. Africa is rich in natural resources and the proceeds
from the sales of these natural resources to other countries are mismanaged by African leaders
through corrupt process. Transparency International defines corruption as the abuse of
entrusted power for private benefit (Transparency International, 2006). Since the early 1960s
when most African countries were gaining independence, the rich nations of the world have
extended development aids to Africa, yet Africa remains the lease developed continent in the
world. Different schools of thought have come out with the causes of underdevelopment in
Africa. For instance, the modernist school believes that Africa needs to follow the development
part of the industrialized nations before it can develop. On the contrary, the dependency
theorists argued that the exploitation of African by the superpowers was responsible for African

 

underdevelopment. However, there is the new school of thought that postulates corruption in
Africa hinders development. Corruption affects the development in various ways. For example,
billion of dollars that would have been used to provide social amenities in some African
countries such as Nigeria are siphon and kept in foreign accounts. The former World Bank
president, Paul Wolfowitz revealed that public officials in Nigeria have embezzled more than
$300 billion from the nation’s pulse for the past forty decades (Ndibe, 2006). This statement was
supported by the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),
Nuhu Ribadu and the former World Bank Vice President for Africa, Oby Ezekweili who stressed
that Nigerians leaders have stolen over $400 billion from the sales of crude oil since
independence. The over $400 billion that has been stolen from Nigeria would have impacted the
development progress in Nigeria if such a huge amount has been channelled to aid
development. Tanzi and Davoodi (1997) detect four outlets through which corruption may have
an adverse effect on economic growth: higher public investment, lower government revenues,
lower expenditures on business operations and maintenance, and lower quality of public
infrastructure. According to Uneke (2010):
Corruption, because of its pervasiveness in many countries in Africa South of the
Sahara, is detrimental to social, political, and economic development in a variety of ways. A
program of sustainable development is contingent on several conditions, including principled
and purposeful leadership; prudent, rational and far-sighted decision-making; and optimum use
of available resources. Corruption tends to undermine all these conditions in terms of public
cynicism and erosion of confidence on corrupt leadership; irrational, short sighted and ill-
motivated decision; and squandering of resources on ill-advised or unsuitable projects. The
result has developmental stagnation, poverty, the cynicism of the political leadership, and
disillusionment and hopelessness on the part of the masses and the deprived

High end corruption is practiced at procurement offices in every department in any government in Africa. Perpetrators are mostly senior civil servants.

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Africa’s Real State of Affairs

A Rwandan friend recently sent me a 9-minute speech via Whatsapp, thinking I might have already heard it. About a week later, I finally listened to it for the first time. I’m glad I did. Attributed to Kenya’s Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba – current Kenya School of Laws Director and a former director of Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission – the speech which seems to be fairly recent (2014/15) brings up a question that crops up whenever an African nation is celebrating its “independence”: How “free” are we really? Are these the throes of neo-colonization or the remnants of colonization? Is Pan-Africanism dead? More importantly, are we actually thinking or simply living and acting in oblivion?

In his proactive speech he is said and quote

“When I look at Africa, many questions come to mind. Many times I ask myself, what would happen if Mwalimu were to rise up and see what is happening. Many times I will ask myself what will happen if Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba were to rise up and see what is happening. Because what they would be confronted with is an Africa where the Democratic Republic of Congo is unsettled.

 

“There is a war going on there but it is not on the front pages of our newspapers, because we don’t even control our newspapers and the media. “

 

As I speak to you the Central African Republic is at war. But we talk of it only mutedly. As I speak to you now, in South Sudan, the youngest nation in Africa, the Nuwera have risen against the Dinka. As I speak to you now, Eritrea is unsettled. As I speak to you now there is unease in Egypt, as there is unease in Libya. In Niger it is no better, in Senegal in the Cassamance, it is no better. In Somalia it is no better. Africa is at war with ourself.

This is what they would be confronted with. They would be confronted with an Africa which statistician and romantic economists say is growing, but which in truth is stagnated. That is the Africa that they would be confronted with. They would be confronted with an Africa which, as Professor Mlama intimated in our presentation here, is an Africa which is suffering from schizophrenia – it does not know herself.

 

“They would be confronted with an Africa whose young men and women have no interest and no love for their continent.”

 

They would be confronted with an Africa where young men and young women are constantly humiliated at embassies of European countries and the United States as they seek the almighty green card. They would be confronted with an Africa where young men and women from Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Mauritania drown in the Mediterranean as they seek to be enslaved in Europe. This time around, Africans are not wailing and kicking as they are being taken away to be enslaved, they are seen wailing and kicking as they seek to be enslaved in Europe and America. This is the tragedy of Africa.

They would be confronted with an Africa where people have lost their self-pride. An Africa where Africans are not proud of their things. An Africa where in the hotels of Dar es Salaam or Nairobi, even food has foreign names. When we fry potatoes we call them French fries even when they are fried in Dar es Salaam.

 

“They would be confronted with another Africa, an Africa which does not tell her story. An Africa whose story is told by Europe and America – the CNN, Radio Deutsche-Welle, Radia France.”

 

That is the Africa they would be confronted with. They would be confronted with young men and women who have no pride in Africa. When they want to enjoy themselves they sing the praises of football teams from Europe and America. It is Manchester United, it is Arsenal, it is Real Madrid and Barcelona. Not Yanga, not Mufulira Wanderers, not Gor Mahia, not FC Leopards. No, that is the Africa that they would be confronted with. They would be confronted with an Africa which does not enjoy its theatre and drama. That Africa celebrates Leonardo di Caprio, it celebrates Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The Africa does not celebrate Genevive Nnaji of Nigeria or Rita Dominic or Olu Jacobs of Nigeria. It does not celebrate Bongohood or Nollywood or Riverwood. It celebrates Hollywood. That is the Africa which with they would be confronted. They would be confronted with African women whose greatest source of joy is cheap Grade B Mexican soap opera: la patrona, la muher de me vida.

Why must we remind ourselves of these realities? Because throughout the ages, the battle has always been the battle of the mind. If your mind is conquered, then you are going nowhere. And that is why in the age of enlightenment in Europe, the great René Descartes said “Cogito ergo sum.” I think, therefore I am.

 

“And therefore if Africans are to begin to make a contribution in their affairs, Africans must begin to think. But the question is, are we thinking?”

 

We have universities in their numbers. Tanzania has universities including Dar es Salaam. Nairobi has universities as indeed Kampala, as indeed South Africa, Johannesburg. We have all these universities. We have engineers, but our roads are not being made by Tanzanian civil engineers, it is the Chinese who are present in this assembly who are making our roads. So we have engineers who cannot even make roads. We have doctors whom we have trained, but when we are sick – particularly if we are of the political class – depending on who colonized you, if you are colonized by the United Kingdom, you rush to London. If you colonized by the French, you rush to Paris. If you are colonized by the Portuguese, you rush to Lisbon, and if you are colonized by the Spaniards, you rush to Madrid, Spain.

And recently, because the Asians are beginning to get their act together, we run to India. And very lately, because the Arabs are also beginning to get their act together, we run to Dubai. Notwithstanding that we have the Kenyatta hospitals of this country, the Muhimbilis of Tanzania, the Chris Hani Baragwanaths of South Africa and the Mama Yemos of Kinshasa in Zaire or the DRC. But we have no faith in our doctors.

In the area of education we also don’t have faith. Our political class introduced something that they call free education, that is free indeed. Free of knowledge. Because they are so suspicious of those institutions, that the typical African politician will not dare take their children to those schools. Their children will be educated in the British system, in the American system, so that when they graduate they go to the United Kingdom, to the United States.

 

“Not that there is anything wrong with those institutions, but the agenda is wrong because our leaders long lost the script and ought to be described for who they are – our misleaders.”

 

But we are co-authors of our own misfortune. Whenever we are given an opportunity to elect our leaders, we are given a blank check. And if you permit me a little latitude, and if you give me a blank check and you allow me to analogize and you say that I am given the blank check to buy a Mercedes Benz, what we do is when we are called upon – having been so empowered – we buy what we call a tuk-tuk from India and we expect it to behave ike a Mercedes Benz. How does that happen?

 

“Because what we do is to elect thieves. We elect hyenas to take care of goats and when the goats are consumed, we wonder why.”

 

Agree or disagree with the Professor? Got ideas of your own? We’d love to hear your perspective!

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NIGERIA OCCURRENCES: Nigerian Civil War PART 8

Atrocities against Ethnic Minorities in Biafra[edit]

Minorities in Biafra suffered atrocities at the hands of those fighting for both sides of the conflict. The pogroms in the North in 1966 were indiscriminately directed against people from Eastern Nigeria.[89]

Despite a seemingly natural alliance between these victims of the pogroms in the north, tensions rose as minorities, who had always harbored an interest in having their own state within the Nigerian federation, were suspected of collaborating with Federal troops to undermine Biafra.[90]

The Federal troops were equally culpable of this crime. In the Rivers area, ethnic minorities sympathetic to Biafra were killed in the hundreds by federal troops. In Calabar, some 2000 Efiks were also killed by Federal troops.[91] Outside of the Biafra, atrocities were recorded against the resident of Asaba in present-day Delta State by both sides of the conflict.[92][93]

Genocide Question[edit]

Most continue to argue that the Biafran war was a genocide, for which no perpetrators have been held accountable.[169] Critics of this position suggest that Igbo leaders had some responsibility, but acknowledge that starvation policies were pursued deliberately and that accountability has not been sought for the 1966 pogroms.[159][170] Biafra made a formal complaint of genocide against Igbos to the International Committee on the Investigation of Crimes of Genocide, which concluded that British colonial administrators were complicit in the process of fomenting ethnic hatred and violence, dating back to the Kano riots of 1953. With special reference to the Asaba Massacre, Emma Okocha described the killings as “the first black-on-black genocide”.[158] Ekwe-Ekwe places significant blame on the British.[171]

Another reference to the war’s consideration as a Genocide would be to Bruce Mayrock.[172] In the report, Mayrock, a 20-year-old Student at Columbia University, set himself on fire in protest of the killings in Biafra and how they were being overlooked. He died as a result of the burns. While at Columbia, Mayrock worked as a photographer for the Spectator sports department. Members of the youth’s family stated Friday that he had worked’ actively to protest the war in Biafra, writing letters about the war to the President and leading government figures. However, according to one rabbi, who said he was close to the family, the student believed that “no one was listening.” “He was an idealistic young man deeply upset by the events in Biafra,” the rabbi said. “People were being killed and he felt no one was doing anything. That’s why he did what he did.”[173]

Reconstruction[edit]

Reconstruction, helped by the oil money, was swift; however, the old ethnic and religious tensions remained a constant feature of Nigerian politics. Accusations were made of Nigerian government officials diverting resources meant for reconstruction in the former Biafran areas to their ethnic areas. Military government continued in power in Nigeria for many years, and people in the oil-producing areas claimed they were being denied a fair share of oil revenues.[174] Laws were passed mandating that political parties could not be ethnically or tribally based; however, it has been hard to make this work in practice.

Igbos who ran for their lives during the pogroms and war returned to find their positions had been taken over; and when the war was over the government did not feel any need to re-instate them, preferring to regard them as having resigned. This reasoning was also extended to Igbo-owned properties and houses. People from other regions were quick to take over any house owned by an Igbo, especially in the Port Harcourt area. The Nigerian Government justified this by terming such properties abandoned. This, however, has led to a feeling of an injustice as the Nigerian government policies were seen as further economically disabling the Igbos even long after the war. Further feelings of injustice were caused by Nigeria changing its currency, so that Biafran supplies of pre-war Nigerian currency were no longer honoured. At the end of the war, only N£20 was given to any easterner regardless of the amount of money he or she had had in the bank. This was applied irrespective of their banking in pre-war Nigerian currency or Biafran currency. This was seen as a deliberate policy to hold back the Igbo middle class, leaving them with little wealth to expand their business interests.[175]

Fall of Biafra[edit]

On 29 May 2000, The Guardian reported that President Olusegun Obasanjo commuted to retirement the dismissal of all military persons who fought for the breakaway state of Biafra during the Nigerian civil war. In a national broadcast, he said that the decision was based on the principle that “justice must at all times be tempered with mercy.”

Biafra was more or less wiped off the map until its resurrection by the contemporary Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.[176] Chinua Achebe’s last book, There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, has also rekindled discussion of the war.[40]

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NIGERIA OCCURRENCES: Nigerian Civil War PART 8

Media and public opinion[edit]

Media and public relations played a central role in the war, due to their influence on morale at home and the dynamics of international involvement. Both sides relied heavily on external support.[78][128]

Media campaigns focused on the plight of the Biafrans intensified internationally in the summer of 1968.[99][114] By the Biafran leadership and then around the world, the pogroms and famine were classified as genocide and compared to the Holocaust; hypothetical Judaic origins of the Igbos were used to bolster comparisons with Jews in Germany. In the international press, Igbo refugee camps were compared to Nazi extermination camps.[140]

Humanitarian appeals differed somewhat from place to place. In Britain, humanitarian aid used familiar discourses of imperial responsibility; in Ireland, advertisements appealed to shared Catholicism and experiences of civil war.[141] Both of these appeals channeled older cultural values into support for the new model of international NGOs.[142] In Israel, the Holocaust comparison was promoted, as was the theme of threat from hostile Muslim neighbors.[143]

The Biafran war bombarded Western culture with the trope of the starving African child. The Biafran famine took media coverage of disaster to a new level, enabled by the proliferation of television sets.[144] The televised disaster and the rising NGOs mutually enhanced each other; NGOs maintained their own communications networks and played a significant role in shaping news coverage.[145]

Biafran elites studied Western propaganda techniques and released carefully constructed public communications in an intentional fashion. Biafran propagandists had the dual task of appealing to international public opinion, and maintaining morale and nationalist spirit domestically. Political cartoons were a preferred medium for publicising simple interpretations of the war. Biafra also used push polling to insinuate messages about Nigeria’s inherent bloodthirstiness.[146] Novelist Chinua Achebe became a committed propagandist for Biafra, and one of its leading international advocates.[40]

On 29 May 1969, Bruce Mayrock, a student at Columbia University, set himself ablaze at the premises of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, to protest the genocideagainst the nation and people of Biafra.[147][148][149][150] He died of his injuries the following day.[148]

Kwale oilfield incident[edit]

In May 1969 a company of Biafran commandos raided an oil field in Kwale and killed 11 Saipem workers and Agip technicians. They captured three Europeans unhurt and then at a nearby Okpai Field Development Biafran commandos surrounded and captured 15 more expatriate personnel. The captives included 14 Italians, 3 West Germans and one Lebanese. It was claimed that the foreigners were captured fighting alongside Nigerians against Biafran troops and that they assisted Nigerians in constructing roads to aid them in their operations against Biafra. They were tried by a Biafran court and sentenced to death.

This incident caused an international uproar. In the month that followed Pope Paul VI, the governments of Italy, UK and USA mounted concerted pressure on Biafra. On 4 June 1969, after receiving a personal direct mail from the Pope, Ojukwu pardoned the foreigners. They were released to the special envoys sent by the governments of Ivory Coast and Gabonand left Biafra.[151][152]

End of the war[edit]

With increased British support, the Nigerian federal forces launched their final offensive against the Biafrans once again on 23 December 1969, with a major thrust by the 3rd Marine Commando Division. The division was commanded by Col. Olusegun Obasanjo (who later became president twice), which succeeded in splitting the Biafran enclave into two by the end of the year. The final Nigerian offensive, named “Operation Tail-Wind”, was launched on 7 January 1970 with the 3rd Marine Commando Division attacking, and supported by the 1st Infantry division to the north and the 2nd Infantry division to the south. The Biafran towns of Owerri fell on 9 January, and Uli on 11 January. Only a few days earlier, Ojukwu fled into exile by plane to the Ivory Coast, leaving his deputy Philip Effiong to handle the details of the surrender to General Yakubu Gowon of the Federal Army on 13 January 1970. The surrender paper was signed on 14 January 1970 in Lagos and thus came the end of the civil war and renunciation of secession.[80] The war finally ended a few days later, with the Nigerian forces advancing into the remaining Biafran-held territories, which was met with little resistance.

After the war, Gowon said, “The tragic chapter of violence is just ended. We are at the dawn of national reconciliation. Once again we have an opportunity to build a new nation. My dear compatriots, we must pay homage to the fallen, to the heroes who have made the supreme sacrifice that we may be able to build a nation, great in justice, fair trade, and industry.”[153]

Reckoning and legacy[edit]

Atrocities against Igbo[edit]

Severely malnourished woman during the war

The war cost the Igbos a great deal in terms of lives, money and infrastructure. It has been estimated that up to three million people may have died due to the conflict, most from hunger and disease caused by Nigerian forces.[154][155][156] More than two million people died from the famine imposed deliberately through blockade throughout the war. Lack of medicine also contributed. Thousands of people starved to death every day as the war progressed.[157] (The International Committee of the Red Cross in September 1968 estimated 8,000–10,000 deaths from starvation each day.)[158] The leader of a Nigerian peace conference delegation said in 1968 that “starvation is a legitimate weapon of war and we have every intention of using it against the rebels”. This stance is generally considered to reflect the policy of the Nigerian government.[159][160] The federal Nigerian army is accused of further atrocities including deliberate bombing of civilians, mass slaughter with machine guns, and rape.[159]

Ethnic Minorities in Biafra[edit]

Ethnic minorities (Ibibio, Ijaw, Ikwerre, Ogoni and others) made up approximately 40% of the Biafran population in 1966.[161] The attitude of ethnic minorities in Biafra towards the conflict were initially divided early in the war, having suffered the same fate as Igbos in the North held the same fear and dread as Igbos.[162] However, actions by Biafra authorities suggesting they favored the Igbo majority turned these attitudes negative.[163] Great suspicion was directed towards ethnic minorities and opponents of Biafra, with ‘combing’ exercises conducted to sift these communities for saboteurs, or ‘sabo,’ as they were commonly branded.[164] This brand was widely feared, as it generally resulted in death by the Biafran forces or even mobs.[165] The accusations subjected entire communities to violence in the form of killings, rapes, kidnapping and internments in camps by Biafran forces.[166]Biafran Organization of Freedom Fighter (BOFF) was a paramilitary organization set up by the civil defense group with instructions to suppress the enemy, and engaged in “combing” exercises in minority communities.[167][168]

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NIGERIA OCCURRENCES: Nigerian Civil War PART 7

Israel[edit]

From early on, Israel perceived that Nigeria would be an important player in West African politics, and saw good relations with Lagos as an important foreign policy objective. Nigeria and Israel established a linkage in 1957. In 1960 Britain allowed the creation of an Israeli diplomatic mission in Lagos, and Israel made a $10 million loan to the Nigerian government. Israel also developed a cultural relation with the Igbos based on possible shared traditions. These moves represented a significant diplomatic success given the Muslim orientation of the northern-dominated government. Some northern leaders disapproved of contact with Israel and banned Israelis from Maiduguri and Sokoto.[122]

Israel did not begin arms sales to Nigeria until after Aguyi-Ironsi came to power in January 1966. This was considered an opportune time to develop this relationship with the federal government. Ram Nirgad became Israeli ambassador to Nigeria in January. Thirty tons of mortar rounds were delivered in April.[123]

The Eastern Region began seeking assistance from Israel in September 1966. Israel apparently turned down their requests repeatedly, although they may have put the Biafran representatives in contact with another arms dealer.[124] In 1968, Israel began supplying the Federal Military Government with arms—about $500,000 worth, according to the US State Department.[125] Meanwhile, as elsewhere, the situation in Biafra became publicised as a genocide. The Knesset publicly debated this issue on 17 and 22 July 1968, winning applause from the press for its sensitivity. Right-wing and left-wing political groups, and student activists, spoke for Biafra.[126] In August 1968, the Israeli air force overtly sent twelve tons of food aid to a nearby site outside of Nigerian (Biafran) air space. Covertly, Mossad provided Biafra with $100,000 (through Zurich) and attempted an arms shipment. Soon after, Israel arranged to make clandestine weapons shipments to Biafra using Côte d’Ivoire transport planes.[127]

Other countries[edit]

Biafra appealed unsuccessfully for support from the Organisation of African Unity, which member states generally did not want to support internal secessionist movements,[128]although they received the support of African countries such as Tanzania, Zambia, Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire.

Biafra surrounded[edit]

A makeshift airport in Calabar, Nigeria, where relief efforts to aid famine victims were deployed by helicopter teams

From 1968 onward, the war fell into a form of stalemate, with Nigerian forces unable to make significant advances into the remaining areas of Biafran control due to stiff resistance and major defeats in Abagana, Arochukwu, Oguta, Umuahia (Operation OAU), Onne, Ikot Ekpene, etc.[129] But another Nigerian offensive from April to June 1968 began to close the ring around the Biafrans with further advances on the two northern fronts and the capture of Port Harcourt on 19 May 1968. The blockade of the surrounded Biafrans led to a humanitarian disaster when it emerged that there was widespread civilian hunger and starvation in the besieged Igbo areas.[130]

The Biafran government reported that Nigeria was using hunger and genocide to win the war, and sought aid from the outside world. Private groups in the US, led by Senator Ted Kennedy, responded. No one was ever held responsible for these killings.

In September 1968, the federal army planned what Gowon described as the “final offensive.” Initially the final offensive was neutralised by Biafran troops by the end of the year after several Nigerian troops were routed in Biafran ambushes. In the latter stages, a Southern FMG offensive managed to break through. However in 1969, the Biafrans launched several offensives against the Nigerians in their attempts to keep the Nigerians off-balance starting in March when the 14th Division of the Biafran army recaptured Owerri and moved towards Port Harcourt, but were halted just north of the city. In May 1969, Biafran commandos recaptured oil wells in Kwale. In July 1969, Biafran forces launched a major land offensive supported by foreign mercenary pilots continuing to fly in food, medical supplies and weapons. Most notable of the mercenaries was Swedish Count Carl Gustav von Rosen who led air attacks with five Malmö MFI-9 MiniCOIN small piston-engined aircraft, armed with rocket pods and machine guns. His Biafran Air Force consisted of three Swedes: von Rosen, Gunnar Haglund and Martin Lang. The other two pilots were Biafrans: Willy Murray-Bruce and Augustus Opke. From 22 May to 8 July 1969 von Rosen’s small force attacked Nigerian military airfields in Port Harcourt, Enugu, Benin City and Ughelli, destroying or damaging a number of Nigerian Air Force jets used to attack relief flights, including a few Mig-17’s and three of Nigeria’s six Ilyushin Il-28 bombers that were used to bomb Biafran villages and farms on a daily basis. Although the Biafran offensives of 1969 were a tactical success, the Nigerians soon recovered. The Biafran air attacks did disrupt the combat operations of the Nigerian Air Force, but only for a few months.

In response to the Nigerian government using foreigners to lead some advances, the Biafran government also began hiring foreign mercenaries to extend the war.[131] Only German born Rolf Steiner a Lt. Col. with the 4th Commandos, and Major Taffy Williams, a Welshman would remain for the duration.[132] Nigeria deployed foreign air crafts, in the form of Soviet MiG 17 and Il 28 bombers.[133]

Humanitarian crisis[edit]

A child suffering the effects of severe hunger and malnutrition as a result of the blockade. Pictures of the famine caused by Nigerian blockade garnered sympathy for the Biafrans worldwide. It was regarded in the Western press as the genocide of 2 million people, half of them children and fund raising for relief was carried out at the time, with the help of Senator Ted Kennedy.

The September massacres and subsequent Igbo withdrawal from northern Nigeria was the basis for the initial human rights petition to the UN to end genocide and provided a historical link to Biafran claims of genocide during the Nigerian civil war.[134] Awareness of a mounting crisis rose in 1968. Information spread especially through religious networks, beginning with alerts from missionaries. It did not escape the notice of worldwide Christian organisations that the Biafrans were Christian and the northern Nigerians controlling the federal government were Muslim.[135] The famine was as a result of the blockade that the Nigerian government had imposed on the Eastern region in the months leading up to secession.[134]

Many volunteer bodies organised the Biafran airlift which provided blockade-breaking relief flights into Biafra, carrying food, medicines, and sometimes (according to some claims) weapons.[133] More common was the claim that the arms-carrying aircraft would closely shadow aid aircraft, making it more difficult to distinguish between aid aircraft and military supply aircraft.[133]

The American Community to Keep Biafra Alive stood apart from other organizations by quickly creating a broad strategy for pressuring the American government into taking a more active role in facilitating relief. Former Peace Corps volunteers who had recently returned from Nigeria and college students founded the American Committee in July 1968. The Peace Corps volunteers stationed in the Eastern Region ‘developed strong friendships and identified as Igbo which was prompted them to help the eastern region.[134]

One of the interesting characters assisting Count Carl Gustav von Rosen was Lynn Garrison, an ex-RCAF fighter pilot. He introduced the Count to a Canadian method of dropping bagged supplies to remote areas in Canada without losing the contents. He showed how one sack of food could be placed inside a larger sack before the supply drop. When the package hit the ground the inner sack would rupture while the outer one kept the contents intact. With this method many tons of food were dropped to many Biafrans who would otherwise have died of starvation.

Bernard Kouchner was one of a number of French doctors who volunteered with the French Red Cross to work in hospitals and feeding centres in besieged Biafra. The Red Cross required volunteers to sign an agreement, which was seen by some (like Kouchner and his supporters) as being similar to a gag order, that was designed to maintain the organisation’s neutrality, whatever the circumstances. Kouchner and the other French doctors signed this agreement.

After entering the country, the volunteers, in addition to Biafran health workers and hospitals, were subjected to attacks by the Nigerian army, and witnessed civilians being murdered and starved by the blockading forces. Kouchner also witnessed these events, particularly the huge number of starving children, and when he returned to France, he publicly criticised the Nigerian government and the Red Cross for their seemingly complicit behaviour. With the help of other French doctors, Kouchner put Biafra in the media spotlight and called for an international response to the situation. These doctors, led by Kouchner, concluded that a new aid organisation was needed that would ignore political/religious boundaries and prioritise the welfare of victims. They formed le Comité de Lutte contre le Génocide au Biafra which in 1971 became Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).[136][137]

The crisis brought about a large increase in prominence and funding of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).[138][139

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NIGERIA OCCURRENCES: Nigerian Civil War PART 6

International involvement[edit]

Britain[edit]

The British planned to maintain and expand their supply of cheap high-quality oil from Nigeria. Therefore they placed a high priority on maintenance of oil extraction and refining operations. They backed the Federal Government but, when the war broke out, cautioned them not to damage British oil installations in the East. These oilworks, under the control of Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company (jointly owned by Shell and British Petroleum), controlled 84% of Nigeria’s 580,000 barrels per day. Two-thirds of this oil came from the Eastern region, and another third from the newly created Mid-West region. Two-fifths of all Nigerian oil ended up in Britain.[77]

Shell-BP therefore considered carefully a request by the Federal Government that it refuse to pay the royalties demanded by Biafra. Its lawyers advised that payment to Biafra would be appropriate if this government did in fact maintain law and order in the region in question. The British government advised that paying Biafra could undermine the goodwill of the Federal Government. Shell-BP made the payment, and the government established a blockade on oil exports.[77] Forced to choose a side, Shell-BP and the British government threw in their lot with the Federal Government in Lagos, apparently calculating that this side would be more likely to win the war.[94] As the British High Commissioner in Lagos wrote to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs on 27 July 1967:

Ojukwu, even victorious, will not be in a strong position. He will require all the international help and recognition he can get. The Federal Government would be much better placed both internationally and internally. They would have a cast iron case for the severest treatment of a company which has subsidised a rebel, and I feel fairly convinced they would press their case to the lengths of cancelling the Company’s concessions and nationalising their installations. I conclude, therefore, if the company does change its mind and asks the British Government for advice, the best that could be given is for it to clamber hastily back on the Lagos side of the fence with cheque book at the ready.”[94]

Shell-BP took this advice.[94] It continued to quietly support Nigeria through the rest of the war, in one case advancing a royalty of £5.5 million to fund the purchase of more British weapons.[95]

During the war, Britain covertly supplied Nigeria with weapons and military intelligence and may have also helped it to hire mercenaries.[96] After the decision was made to back Nigeria, the BBC oriented its reporting to favour this side.[97] Supplies provided to the Federal Military Government included two vessels and 60 vehicles.[98]

In Britain, the humanitarian campaign around Biafra began on 12 June 1968, with media coverage on ITV and in The Sun. The charities Oxfam and Save the Children Fund were soon deployed, with large sums of money at their disposal.[99]

France[edit]

France provided weapons, mercenary fighters, and other assistance to Biafra and promoted its cause internationally, describing the situation as a genocide. Charles de Gaullereferred to “Biafra’s just and noble cause”.[100] However, France did not recognise Biafra diplomatically.[101] Through Pierre Laureys, France had apparently provided two B-26s, Alouette helicopters, and pilots.[102] France supplied Biafra with captured German and Italian weapons from World War II, sans serial numbers, delivered as part of regular shipments to Côte d’Ivoire.[103] France also sold Panhard armoured vehicles to the Nigerian federal government.[104]

French involvement in the war can be viewed in the context of its geopolitical strategy (Françafrique) and competition with the English in West Africa. Nigeria represented a base of British influence in the predominantly French-aligned area. France and Portugal used nearby countries in their sphere of influence, especially Côte d’Ivoire under President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, as waystations for shipments to Biafra.[100][105] To some extent, also, France repeated its earlier policy from the Congo Crisis, when it supported the secession of the southern mining province Katanga.[106]

Economically, France gained incentives through oil drilling contracts for the Société Anonyme Française de Recherches et d’Exploitation de Pétrolières (SAFRAP), apparently arranged with Eastern Nigeria in advance of its secession from the Nigerian Federation.[107][108] SAFRAP laid claim to 7% of the Nigerian petroleum supply.[77] In the assessment of a CIA analyst in 1970, France’s “support was actually given to a handful of Biafran bourgeoisie in return for the oil.”[109] Biafra, for its part, openly appreciated its relationship with France. Ojukwu suggested on 10 August 1967, that Biafra introduce compulsory French classes in secondary, technical and teacher training schools, in order to “benefit from the rich culture of the French-speaking world”.[110]

France led the way, internationally, for political support of Biafra.[108] Portugal also sent weapons. These transactions were arranged through the “Biafran Historical Research Centre” in Paris.[111] French-aligned Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire recognised Biafra in May 1968.[112] On 8 May 1968, De Gaulle personally contributed 30,000 francs to medicine purchases for the French Red Cross mission. Fairly widespread student-worker unrest diverted the government’s attention only temporarily. The government declared an arms embargo but maintained arms shipments to Biafra under cover of humanitarian aid.[113] In July the government redoubled its efforts to involve the public in a humanitarian approach to the conflict. Images of starving children and accusations of genocide filled French newspapers and television programs. Amidst this press blitz, on 31 July 1968, De Gaulle made an official statement in support of Biafra.[114] Maurice Robert, head of Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE, the French foreign intelligence service) African operations, wrote in 2004 that his agency supplied the press with details about the war and told them to use the word “genocide” in their reporting.[115]

France declared “Biafra Week” on 11–17 March 1969, centred on a 2-franc raffle held by the French Red Cross. Soon after, de Gaulle terminated arms shipments, then resigned on 27 April 1969. Interim president Alain Poher fired General Jacques Foccart, the lead coordinator of France’s Africa policy. Georges Pompidou re-hired Foccart and resumed support for Biafra, including cooperation with the South African secret service to import more weapons.[116]

United States of America[edit]

The United States officially declared neutrality, with US Secretary of State Dean Rusk stating that “America is not in a position to take action as Nigeria is an area under British influence.”,[82] Formally, the United States was neutral in the civil war. Strategically, its interests aligned with the Federal Military Government. The US also saw value in its alliance with Lagos, and sought to protect $800 million (in the assessment of the State Department) worth of private investment.[117]

On 9 September 1968, United States presidential candidate Richard Nixon stated:

Until now, efforts to relieve the Biafra people have been thwarted by the desire of central government of Nigeria to pursue total and unconditional victory and by the fear of the Ibo people that surrender means wholesale atrocities and genocide. But genocide is what is taking place right now – and starvation is the grim reaper.[100]

When Nixon became President in 1969, he found there was little he could do to change the established stance aside from call for another round of peace talks. Despite this, he continued to personally support Biafra.[118]

Gulf Oil Nigeria, the third major player in Nigerian oil, was producing 9% of the oil coming out of Nigeria before the war began.[77] Its operations were all located offshore of the federally controlled Mid-Western territory; therefore it continued to pay royalties to the federal government and its operations were mostly undisrupted.[94]

Soviet Union[edit]

The Soviet Union strongly backed the Nigerian government, emphasising the similarity with the Congo situation. It consistently supplied Nigeria with weapons, with the diplomatic disclaimer that these were “strictly for cash on a commercial basis”. In 1968, the USSR agreed to finance the Kainji Dam on the Niger (somewhat upriver from the Delta). Soviet media outlets initially accused the imperialist British of cynically supporting the Biafran secession, then had to adjust these claims later when it turned out that Britain was in fact supporting the Federal Government.[119]

One explanation for Soviet sympathy with the Federal Military Government was a shared opposition to internal secessionist movements. Before the war, the Soviets had seemed sympathetic to the Igbos. But Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin stated to their chagrin in October 1967 that “the Soviet people fully understand” Nigeria’s motives and its need “to prevent the country from being dismembered.”[120]

Reportedly, the war substantially improved Soviet-Nigerian diplomatic and trade relations, and Moskvitch cars began to make appearances around Lagos. The USSR became a competitive importer of Nigerian cacao.[119]

Nigeria received support from the Soviet Union in form of aircraft.[121]

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