Extract from Ogoni Tv Onyeka Owenu’s thoughts sadly remind us of the past when Ibos “colonized” PH. By Dieigbarima May Dabiri and Response by Douglas Wangi



This was settler colonialism. She spoke as if Ibos owned PH and lost it after the war. She was not historically correct. Note the following:

(1)  PH was a British(not Ibo)creation.

(2) The British acquired the land from the natives and signed lease agreements with them. No Ibo signed, or was party to the agreements.

(3) At independence and British departure, the Ibos “inherited “ PH through the Eastern Region NCNC govt dominated by Ibos. The NCNC was a predominantly Ibo party. Note that the 3 major political parties then were predominantly ethnic. The NCNC  govt of Eastern Nigeria encouraged Ibos to appropriate lands  in PH through discriminatory government processes and dubious loans from the regional bank, ACB. 

(4)Most of these lands were govt owned. Most them were same lands which the indigenous owners had ceded to the British. It therefore couldn’t have been “sold”, (if it were for “sale”), without giving the indigenes the right of first refusal. They couldn’t even have been able to buy since the govt policies and ACB loan scheme discriminated against them. 

(5)Did we protest these obnoxious practices? Yes. They were part of the agitations of the COR State movement. 

(6) At the end of the civil war           the 3 states created out of the former Eastern Region made claims and counter claims about abandoned assets and claimants had to show proof of ownership and the propriety of the acquisitions. E.g. if you owned a house, show title deed of the land. Did you buy  the land from Jamabo or Ekwulo? If you obtained ACB loan to build, show evidence of loan repayment. Remember that the 3 states owned the bank. Those who could “show working” got their property back while those who couldn’t forfeited them to the Abandoned Property Authority headed by David Mark then and which managed the assets.

(7) How many streets/ roads in  PH bore Rivers names at least to show that Rivers people had a stake in PH?

(8) How many Rivers people got ACB loans, or govt scholarships then? 

(8) Even the map of Biafra forcefully includes Ogoni land without reference to our leader, Chf Akpobari Nwiyor,  who is also not a member of Ohaneze Ndigbo.  Is this fair to  Chf Nyiyor? Ditto Eze Gbakagbaka Ekwulo and Amayanabo Briggs. Are they fair to these chiefs and their subjects? This is land rustling! Rivers people, look well oo!  Their is something ominous in Onyeka’s speech. As the Ikweres say, if you listen attentively, you can hear the footprints of the ants.


Response by Douglas Wangi

There are some claims someone would make, and you should use a trend to know that the claims are spurious.

The intent of the post was to create the narrative that Igbos from outside Rivers State used unfair advantage of their kinsmen being in charge of NCNC and ACB to illegally grab the land of the indigenes. That is a lame argument.

Kindly look at these simple examples and make your conclusions:

1. By the year 2000 (less than 30 years after the Abandoned Property saga), the same Igbos from the Southeast had become majority owners of property in Port Harcourt. Please which Igbo bank in PH gave them the favouritism of loans and which politicians gave them the unfair advantage?

2. When Nasir el-Rufai was Minister of Abuja during Obasanjo's presidency (before 2007), he said that Igbos owned about 70% of the property in Abuja (even though such property was not originally allocated to them). Please which bank or Igbo minister of the FCT  gave them the unfair advantage? Did Igbos colonize Abuja? Or has there been any Igbo president since Abuja was created who unduly allocated Abuja property to them?

3. Lagos is not in the Eastern Region. But Amuwo-Odofin, Festac, Ago Palace Way, Olodi Apapa, Ajegunle, Ojo, Satellite Town, Trade Fair Complex, Alaba area is dominated by the Igbos in property ownership. They also have much property in Surulere, Aguda, Oshodi, Yaba, Orile, Olodi, Akoka, Ire-Akari, Ikeja, Ikoyi, Lekki, etc. Did any bank or Igbo governor or party give them some unfair advantage to have property in these areas? Did they colonize Lagos?

While the Whites were in charge of PH, people lived in PH. Nobody grabbed any person's land. It was not a lawless society. The British had courts to try lawless people. The Igbos of Southeast did not suddenly grab PH lands from the indigenes between 1960 and 1967. PH was not the only place the British left after colonialism. People from other parts of Eastern Nigeria and other places also bought lands the same time in Enugu, Owerri, Aba, Onitsha, Calabar, etc. Nobody accused another of grabbing any land, and there was no abandoned property issue in those places after the War.

See the attached photo of the house Nnewi Patriotic Association founded in 1931 built in faraway Aba around that time too. They did not grab the land. They raised money to buy the land and build the house.

Every ethnic group has its strengths and weaknesses. There are things Igbos do better than others in Nigeria. That thing is buying property wherever they reside. They never steal anybody's property. They exchange money for landed property. It is a huge risk in an unstable country like Nigeria where ethnic  tensions and rivalries are ever present. But they take the risk more than any other ethnic group does. Any honest person will give them credit for that.

No people from any ethnic group will buy land again in a place where their property was seized before as abandoned property or where their property has been burnt before in ethnic-based riots, but the Igbos have done it repeatedly in different parts of Nigeria.

Anybody who argues that Igbos grab their land is a lazy-minded fellow. There is a solution to it: If they offer you money for your land, say no to the money and keep your land! But if you collect money in exchange for your land, keep your mouth shut.  You can't have your cake and eat it!

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