By Stephen Charles Kenechukwu
May 30, 2020.
Onyeka Onwenu, a Nigerian vocalist and human rights activist, has claimed that another turbulence like the Biafran War of the 60s could wipe out Igbos if allowed to happen.
The 68-year-old media personality spoke during a BBC Igbo programme that united individuals who witnessed the civil war in conversation towards charting out the way forward.
Onwenu, who was in her prime when the war struck, recounted working with clinics, where surgeries were performed on wounded soldiers, and caring for children whose parents had died in battle.
“I was only a young lady when the war started but I played my part. I worked in clinics to care for wounded soldiers,” the singer can be heard saying in Igbo.
“Myself and other young ladies were assembled and given two weeks of medical training. Whether soldiers were given anaesthetics or not, we care for the wounded as they were operated on.
“We heard the screams of grown men as their bodies were cut. We did all these while planting and processing cassava, helping refugees and children.
“If any war follows that which ended in 1970, I fear it might wipe out the Igbos for good.”
Frowning at the events that shaped her experience of the late 60s, the singer charged easterners never to be apologetic about their roots, adding that individual and collective efforts can change the narrative.
“We have no constitution. We didn’t go through any procedure to approve the one,” she noted while calling for an overhaul of the Nigeria’s constitution to provide a framework for progress.
“From now onwards, Igbos should learn to hold their heads up high. You shouldn’t be apologetic just for being from eastern Nigeria.
“Be the best you can because we are the first republicans. We know how to organise ourselves at the community level. Our individual and joint efforts can get things done.”