Prof. Uju Anya’s Comment On Late Queen Elizabeth II And African Reparation

<strong>Prof. Uju Anya’s Comment On Late Queen Elizabeth II And African Reparation</strong>

Before the passing of the Queen of the United Kingdom was announced on September 8, Prof. Uju Anya on her Twitter page wished the Queen an “excruciating” death.

“I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying.

May her pain be excruciating”, she tweeted.

The Nigerian professor made the comment shortly after the palace announced that the Queen was under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

In another tweet, Anya alleged that the Queen supported the Nigerian government with arms and ammunition to fight the Igbo people during a civil war that lasted for three years in Nigeria.

“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star”, she said.

Although Twitter took down the controversial tweet, the statement continues to generate reactions online as some agreed and defended her, while others condemned her mocking a deceased monarch especially as this act goes against the grain of an African moral standard.

Reacting to her tweet, Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, said he does not think someone whose job is to make the world better should put out such a tweet.

While Uju may be considered to have stepped off the borders of humanity by wishing another person “excruciating pain” and death, the facts of her grouse are in the public domain and need not be glossed over. An analysis of Anya’s tweet reveals three key elements in her accusations against the British Empire, viz theft, rape and genocide-support. There is none of these allegations, which historical renditions, especially by African and Africanist scholars, have not leveled against the British colonists.

Apparently because of her vested interest in Nigeria, Britain overtly supported the country in the civil war and indeed supplied arms and ammunition to Nigeria. Thousands of Igbo were killed in the 1966 pogrom, with Britain, the immediate past suzerain, lifting no finger.

The Harold Wilson government, through its lackey High Commissioner in Lagos, David Hunt, was unapologetically against Biafra. As the war raged, 1.8 million refugees sprang up in Biafra, many of whom were living skeletons, and kwashiorkor-stricken kids. Karl Jaggi, head of the Red Cross at the time, estimated that about a million children were killed by hunger and bullets, though the Red Cross saved about half a million through its interventions.

With the help of BBC correspondent, Fredrick Forsyth, the terrifying pictures of skeleton-like children appeared on British TV and unsettled Britons, leading to lack of appetite as those figures disrupted their dinner meals. The hitherto covered grim situations of the war, which Wilson had shielded from the British people’s view, sparked outrage and revealed Britain’s complicity in the genocidal war against the people of Nigeria. Queen Elizabeth II was so powerful that if she indeed desired that the war should not be fought by both youthful soldiers, Yakubu Gowon and Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, no blood would have been shed by both parties.

Before Anya, Forsyth had revealed this connivance within Britain’s top echelon of power. He had written; “What is truly shameful is that this was not done by savages but aided and assisted at every stage by Oxbridge-educated British mandarins. Why? Did they love the corruption-riven, dictator-prone Nigeria? No. From start to finish, it was to cover up that the UK’s assessment of the Nigerian situation was an enormous judgmental screw-up. And, worse: with neutrality and diplomacy from London, it could all have been avoided”. The truth is that, if Britain and her monarchy had insisted that the Aburi Accord, struck by the two leaders in Ghana, should be observed to the letter, there would not have been the bloodshed that eventually occurred.

Thus, while AljazirahNigeria criticises Professor Anya over such a cold and brutal affront, we should also not gloss over this history. By our human conventions and norms, Anya tripped over the borders. The convention is for us to beatify fellow residents of this human space who transit mortality for immortality, with their earthly sins forgiven. Our laws are no less guilty, as even criminals undergoing trial have their cases discontinued. But should we allow the dead to escape that easily as these vestiges of colonial rule in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general are still everywhere staring us all in our faces?

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