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A pan-Igbo sociocultural organization, “Nwannedinamba”, hosted a memorial service in suburban Washington DC on May 27, 2000 for the souls of 1.5 million Biafrans who perished during the Nigerian Civil War. The presiding priest for the service and Resident Bishop of Freedom Lutheran Church, Bishop Inyama, remarked while preaching the sermon that the persecution of Ndiigbo during the Civil War was instigated by hatred and ingratitude by fellow Nigerians. He recalled that Ndiigbo provided the intellectual manpower and know-how that opened up most parts of colonial Nigeria as teachers, evangelists, artisans and traders in remote parts of the country, especially the North.

He deeply lamented that the reward for Igbo input in building the pre and postcolonial Nigeria were pogroms and ethnic cleansing that precipitated the Civil War. He admonished Ndigbo in the US to support pan-Igbo organizations in their areas of domicile so as to be able to wield greater force that is required for the continued struggle for the redemption of Ndigbo.

In an address to the congregation, Prof. Maurice Iwu, one of the trustees of the organization, urged Ndiigbo to be more tolerant of each other’s perspective on the means to deal with our predicament in contemporary Nigeria. He opined that, since Ndiigbo have been rendered powerless through marginalization, they have no other choice but to utilize their ingenuity to force the Federal Government to begin to address Igbo concerns, even if that would require increasing their “nuisance value” as they see fit.

Other groups held similar memorial activities throughout the big population centers across the US. It is projected that future annual commemorative activities for Biafra will include exhibits and lecture series.

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