Aguiyi Ironsi had just been killed in Ibadan by a horde of blood thirst officers led by one Theophilus Danjuma.
The northern military had ceased most barracks in the country and were performing the ethnic Igbo cleansing that had been planned all along.
From the eve of July 29, 1966 over 270 igbo senior military officers were killed in Abeokuta, Ibadan , Lagos, Zaria etc… As this butchery of human beings was going on in what was tagged a retaliatory coup, the northern officers declared araba… Ferried their families home to secede from the rest of British Nigeria…But this plan was discarded when Britain sold the idea of oil to them and how they will profit from taking control of the oil…
As the killing of military officers of igbo origin was getting to a climax, the northern civilians unleashed their cubs and machetes on innocent civilians all through the north… People were cut into pieces.. In 30 days, over 20,000 Igbo lives were mowed down by this sheer barbarism…
Igbos retreating to their homeland from the north
In those days, rail transportation was the major means of traveling to the east from the north.. So when the train departed, one will have to wait for its return before another set of igbos could depart the north…The orgy for violence in the northern civilians was without limits… Students killed their Igbo teachers… Colleagues at work killed their fellow Igbo colleagues.. House owners killed their Igbo tenants.. It was in this frenzy and death orgy that the igbo devised a plan of survival….
The plan was to run to the emirate and seek refuge until the train that left for the east returned…Many igbos ran to emir palaces in the north seeking refuge not knowing that the emirate was planning the final Igbo solution… As they ran into the palace, they were all welcomed… So this encouraged other igbos who were hiding to run to the palace…Then the final solution set in when the numbers of igbo ‘s seeking refuge was increased..
They will be allowed to die slowly.. No food.. No water must be offered to them..For days, the igbos seeking refuge from the northern progrom were denied food and water… They started crying.. Begging the palace to give them water in their local igbo dialect “nye mu mmiri ” but the northern civilian heard nya miri..
So that was the origin of the offensive name called the igbo by the north…
When ever they call you nyamiri, they are trying to remind you of your Igbo predecessors who they starved of food and water until they all died…May 30 is another day to remember all those defenseless Igbo civilians who died in that progrom that preceded the war..
we remember those who sought refuge in the emirate but were allowed to die slowly in pain.