A Spit on The Queen’s Grave
Dr. Uju Anya Sets Social Media Into a Frenzy Following Queen Elizabeth II’s Passing
A fortnight ago, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, passed on aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. As soon as her death was announced, Nigerians couldn’t help but weigh in on what it meant to them, and while some were grateful for her ‘service’ to the country, others blamed her for the gruesome civil war that killed millions of people.
Greed and Genocide: The British Empire-Endorsed Civil War
Although the leadership system in Nigeria changed from a monarchy to a democratic government,
the British Empire was still heavily involved in the proceedings of things happening within the country. And a significant event that they championed was the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War, which went on from 1967 until 1970.
Here’s a backstory.
The British, through Colonial Governor Frederick Lugard, oversaw the amalgamation of the Northern (the Hausa ethnic group) and Southern (which would eventually be divided into two—West, as in the Yoruba ethnic group, and East, as in the Igbo ethnic group) protectorates in 1914.
Despite the significant world of differences between these two protectorates—including social, economic, religious, and cultural differences—the British went ahead joining them together as it was beneficial to their own pockets.
But the Igbos (Eastern Nigeria), who now became an oil-producing region, soon grew tired of being mostly sidelined and dominated by the Hausas (Northern Nigeria). They agitated for a breakaway from the country and sought their independence as a Federal Republic themselves.
With close allies in France and Russia, there was no way the British monarchy was going to agree
to the Biafrans’ request for secession. Just a little math to show what they would have lost if the split had happened: in addition to Shell-BP’s discovery of oil in the East, the British also reaped profits from mining and commerce.
The British-owned United Africa Company alone controlled 41.3% of all Nigeria’s foreign trade. And at 516,000 barrels per day, Nigeria had become the tenth-biggest oil exporter in the world. Inspired by colonial greed, the British monarchy endorsed the Federal Government of Nigeria in the civil war that ensured that the Indigenous People of Biafra didn’t get their desired independence.
The British resources simply overpowered whatever assistance the Biafrans got from their allies. The two-and-half-year long war recorded about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died of starvation.
Uju Anya Spits on The Queen’s Grave
The civil war led to divided opinions of the Queen. As Igbo Nigerians blamed her for her involvement in the genocide. Upon the breaking of her death, a Nigerian-born US-based lecturer, Dr Uju Anya, was at the eye of the storm for wishing the Queen an ‘excruciating’ death. Uju, an Igbo
woman said on social media,
I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.
Referencing the Biafran war, Uju doubled down on her stance to wish the late monarch an excruciating death.
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.
Dr Uju Anya would eventually explain in detail why she wished excruciating pain on the Queen:
I am the child and sibling of survivors of genocide. From 1967-1970, more than 3 million civilians were massacred when the Igbo people of Nigeria tried to form the independent nation of Biafra.
Those slaughtered included members of my family. I was born in the immediate aftermath of this genocide, which was directly supported and facilitated by the British government then headed by the monarch Queen Elizabeth II.
This support came through political cover, weapons, bombs, planes, military vehicles, and supplies the British government sent to kill us and protect their interests in the oil reserves on our land.
My people endured a holocaust, which has shadowed our entire lives and continues to affect us because we’re still mourning incalculable losses and still rebuilding everything that was destroyed.
Conversations among us today still include who was lost, who was displaced, where people ran, and where bodies are buried. They do not include kind, respect, or temperate sentiments about the people who murdered our relatives and destroyed our lives.
Uju’s series of tweets sparked mixed reactions on Twitter, including a rare direct response from business tycoon and Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.
Here are some of the polarising reactions