The Igbo Canadian Community Association (ICCA/Umunna) has disclosed that it will immediately begin lobbying some South-East governors and House of Assembly members aggressively to declare a Biafra Memorial Day in remembrance of the over three million people of Igbo descent that died during the Nigerian civil war.
Concise News reports that this was contained in a statement sent in on Sunday from Toronto, Canada, by the chairman, Board of Directors of the socio-cultural and political group, Ben Allison, through the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ahaoma Kanu.
Also, the group announces the 17th Biafra Memorial Events due to be hosted in Toronto, Canada on May, 18th, 2019.
The Chairman points out that there was immediate need to have a day picked to honour “our fathers, mothers, brothers and kinsmen who lost their lives in the two and half years war is necessary so that the coming generations will be aware of the history of the travail, trials and survival of Ndigbo in Nigeria”.
According to the release: “The Biafra Memorial/Remembrance Week is an annual event organized by the association in remembrance of the over three million Igbo people who lost their lives during the Nigeria Civil War that lasted from 1967 to 1970.
“It is indeed worrisome that such a tragic event which occurred in the history of this country is being forgotten with an unrelenting continuous attempt by the establishment always in motion to suppress any activity initiated to remember victims of the Nigeria civil war; an action which, in the real sense, represents an ongoing suppression of people from the South-East from exercising their basic human rights.”
Speaking further, Allison says in light of this, the organization will work assiduously with the five South-East governors and the various legislative arm of government to come to a decision to have a unified day to remember the victims of the war in the form of a Remembrance Day that will be observed yearly.
“Igbos in Canada has been observing the remembrance of our people who lost their lives and we will be taking this further to our various governors and elected lawmakers to see the need to come to a unanimous decision to declare a Remembrance Day for our fallen heroes. It will be done by the unanimous decision of our elected lawmakers who have the autonomy to do so devoid of interference from the Federal Government.”
Meanwhile, the President, ICCA/Umunna, Ugochukwu Okoro, in his remark, says there are activities to mark this year’s event which will be held at the Woodbine Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where the Mayor of Brampton, Hon. Patrick Brown, is expected to be the special guest of honour.
“We have several activities to mark this year’s Biafra Memorial Event which includes: Biafra Memorial and Remembrance lecture, Igbo Heritage Gala and Awards Night and the Unveiling the concept of BIANU.”
Chris Nsoedo, Board Secretary, says following some of the ill-treatment meted out to people from the South-East as witnessed during the just concluded general elections especially in Lagos State where there were reports of attacks on Ndigbo while they were exercising their civic right of voting, and with remarks made by a serving senator from the South West about Igbos not being trustworthy, the need for Igbos to come together under the BIANU umbrella is inevitable.
It adds that “It is so sad that 47 years after the war Ndigbo is being treated as if they being tolerated and do not belong to the union called Nigeria. Yesterday it was attack on Ndigbo while voting, today we hear of their places of businesses being invaded and we see how the government unapologetically disenfranchises Ndigbo from government with disregard.
“The concept of BIANU, which will be activated on that day, is a call for Ndigbo to come together and think home and develop the South-East.
“The Theme for the 2019 Biafra Memorial/Remembrance Week is: THEY DIED THAT WE MAY LIVE; IN REMEMBRANCE OF OUR HEROES PAST.”
ICCA/UMUNNA says it would continue to advocate matters of Igbo interest as it has done “for over 50 years past and is driven by the purpose of instilling a true sense of identity and pride in Igbo nation by keeping the memories of the Igbos lost in the civil war alive as well as promoting the language, culture, history, traditions and philosophy of Igbo nation in Canada.”