The masterminds of the ABA women's riot pictured above. Google image
Am assuming you are asking during about the civil war time so my answer would be based on that.
What they got was having a say in what happens in the country. Granted that the independence Nigerians got was bloodless and they didn't have to fight for it, the Igbos out of the three major tribes that make up the country Nigeria were the most difficult to break into. The Igbos didn't appreciate nor like the appointment of a Warrant Chief that the white man did. Please note that before the arrival of the colonial master's all they had was their Umunna (kinsmen) from each family deciding things for them. So it was more of little clusters of kinsmen across the community taking care of domestic matters. So fast forward to the colonial master's coming and putting one person in charge of everyone that is the Warrant Chief title…well guess what, it didn't sit well with the Igbos and as expected some of these Warrant Chiefs misused their powers which led to the famous ABA women's riot of 1929. So back to the original question, the Western part of the Country had their Oba’s which was in place before the colonial master's came and same with the Northern people of the country having their Emirs and Sheikh's. So it made manipulation easy for the colonial master's even after they had left the country to help the Northern people during the war. It was a known fact that as at the time of Independence, the Northern people had the least amount of educated people unlike the West and the East, these other two tribes had more people who could and would question certain things should they see it. If the Igbo's had won the war, what ever control they would have had in Nigeria would be lost.
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At independent, we were like sheep who was unleashed but with a long rope in the hand of an unseen colonial master so that the sheep won't go out of the colonial master's sight.
Assuming there are evidences that UK helped the Muslim north against the Christian south/south:
Till tomorrow, world power play all the available politics including the dirty ones to keep their reign over their former colonies and UK is not exempted. Don't think they really gave us independent, we were handed “dependent”, they indirectly interfere in our politics to keep us dependent and until Nigerians unite, we would forever still be at UK's mercy.
Harold Wilson and Francis Hovell-Thurlow-Cumming-Bruce gave tacit and active support to the Hausa-Fulani soldiers and mob who killed millions of Igbos during the Biafran war and the Pogrom that came before it.
Well, a lot of scholars and historians have been having a hell of time pondering what the British gained from active participation and logistics support to the Hausa-Fulani NCOs who connived with their senior colleagues in July 1966 to kill over 10, 000 Igbo soldiers and officers. It is on record that British diplomats, scholars at ABU Zaria at the time and spies were more than passive collaborators in the planning and execution of the pogrom.
The British encouraged the killing of Igbos and looting of their properties in all northern towns and villages during the period and in all other instances of ethnic disturbances that followed.
The British also gave active support- material, men and logistics- to the Nigerian side during the Biafran war. It is on record that the British establishment wanted the extermination of the Igbo race from the face of the earth. The British could have been neutral in the conflict but they elected to take sides with the oppressor and subsequently murdered an estimated 12 million Igbos- mostly infants, old men and women and the infirm in hospitals. The British government under the leadership of James Harold Wilson encouraged the bombing of schools, churches, hospitals, refugee camps by the Nigerian soldiers. They encouraged the slitting of throats of Igbo men and women in northern Nigeria from 1945–1966 when things came to a head.
The above have been established as facts. What shall however remain an object of contention is what the British gained from her active participation in the endless atrocities that has bedeviled Nigeria since independence. Some have opined that the British were merely interested in preserving their creation- the Nigerian state. But some of us demur. Is the Nigerian state worth the over 15 million lives that have been cut short in the last 57 years by the Hausa-Fulani hegemonists? Is the having a patent on the Nigerian state synonymous with having having the last word on the lives of the inhabitants? Is is up to the British to decree who stays alive and who dies? We may never know but what is no longer in dispute is that the blood of the many innocent men and women cut short in their prime by the Nigerian state with the active support of the British establishment would eternally cry for vengeance and when the time comes, the British establishment shall not be exempt from the rage and fury of the spirits.
Another set of scholars had insisted that the British supported the Hausa-Fulani against the Igbos because the Igbos were at the forefront of sacking the British colonialists from the Nigerian soil. You may be aware of the immense roles played by the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, M. I Okpara and other Igbo leaders in expelling the British from the Nigerian landscape. You may also wish to recall that the British system of indirect rule had succeeded in other parts of Nigeria but failed in Igbo land where there was stout resistance against their designs and plots. If you are a good student of history, you may also have read somewhere that the Aros did indeed defeat the British invaders at the early part of the twentieth century- 1901–1902- see Anglo-Aro War - Wikipedia. The British therefore saw the Igbos as daring, difficult to manipulate and impossible to dictate to.
So you see, my dear friend, the British had more than enough reason to begrudge the Igbos. They therefore went out of their way to make sure that the Igbos were kept out of any position of real influence in the new creation called Nigeria. They began by rigging the 1953 census to give the north numerical advantage over the south. They went ahead to rig the elections in 1959 to make sure Ahmadu Bello’s Northern Peoples Congress has the highest number of seats in the parliament. They wanted to make sure that even after they are out of Nigeria, the men in charge would be those they can bully and dictate to. They wanted Nigeria to remain an outpost of Britain where British goods and services can find ready exports. They wanted to be able to mine and control the mineral resources of Nigeria and do with it as they please. They knew that an Igbo leader would not allow that to happen.
To answer your question, I would tell you that Britain supported the murder of 15 million Igbo men, women and children as a way of punishing the Igbos for standing up to them in the years preceding the alleged independence in 1960. Importantly, they wanted full control of the Nigerian mineral resources and markets and were all too certain that a strong Igbo population would eternally be a hindrance in their determination to keep dictating to Nigeria from the Westminster Building. They knew that killing 15 million Igbos would deal a hard-to-recover psychological blow on the Igbos. They planned it all in advance.
You may also see a parallel in their role in 2015 when they connived with their traditional allies in Sokoto and Kaduna to impose a sickly Muhammadu Buhari on the Nigerian electorates. Using the instruments of lies and media propaganda, they deceived the Nigerian electorates into going against an imperfect but certainly better candidate- Goodluck Jonathan. Today as the British plotted, Buhari has brought nothing but pain and hardship on the populace. In line with the British philosophy, the administration they propped up has continued the unwritten policy of killing and maiming anyone and everyone who goes against them. Look at what is happening to Biafran nationalists who are being held in prisons all over Nigeria, thousands have been extra judicially killed by the Nigerian security apparati and other have been maimed for life. Look at the Shiites, the people of southern Kaduna and the sad tale of the minorities of the Middle Belt. They are being killed for daring to stand up against the autocratic rulership in Nigeria. They are being killed because they are saying no to the plot to take over their land by forces supported by the British using the local franchise in Nigeria.
But we shall remain dogged. I am happy that Biafra is back to being a topic of giddy excitement in Nigeria today. One thing is now certain, Nigeria like all false creations is bound to collapse someday- and it appears that Nigeria’s time is up.
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A pure Nigerian. Born here and lives here
The question is kind of funny, because it shows only one part of a bitter struggle, a struggle based on greed and wanting more, the whole civil war was about one thing, and that thing was oil, that's the same reason the old and new Biafra struggle included Edo, Rivers, Crossrivers and Delta (who by the way have nothing to do with the Igbo people or language) the war was an international struggle, between the British, French and some other European countries and their oil companies, the French (elf) knew that if they managed to help the Igbos start a war and separate from Nigeria, they would have a claim to the oil, the British (Shel oil, colonials and her magesty) saw this and did all they could to support the Nigerian army(which is and was their baby) Nigeria was a former British colony and is part of the common wealth, Nigerias unity and peace was and still is in her (the UK) best interest.
How come no one ever asks, where did Biafra get the funds to fight the war, church donations? All the men sold their right kidneys? Their sold farm produce to fund the war? Funny right………Biafra and their war was funded and armed and manned by forces outside the country seeking to capitalize financially on a Brocken Nigeria, so as to have access to the oil money (that the bastard politicians are still eating) that we the Nigerian people still have no access to. It all sounds ridiculous right, most of the fighting was done by French Legion soldiers and soldiers of fortune, France(elf), Isreal, and southafrica supported Biafra. By the way till now France denies any connection with the Beira struggle.
No one ever talks about the executions of government officials that took place in my home town of Benin. I head stories of executions not from the news but from survivors.
At the start of the first coup, the Igbo killed and executed northern and youroba leaders and their wife's while their president who was Igbo was on leave, why didn't they think of the good humble honest and hard working Igbos in the north before they started the war.
They started the killings and executions, when it became too much for them, they cried out for international help. Broadcasting the atrocities on tv
It was war and sadly war crimes were committed by both sides, even the minority in Biafra held towns were killed and raped by their small Civil defense groups.
The British,Americans and the former USSR supported the Nigerian government, the French, Isrealites and many French countries surrounding Nigeria supported Biafra, let's not forget South Africa.
Fast forward today the Biafra are using the same tatics, they are making noises and agitations, while ignoring the fact that a lot of Igbo people are still in the north, and the north see Igbo, Edo, Efik, Christian as being the same, they are Muslims, the recent killings in the north were the Igbos or Christians targeted. Today I fear for the life of the easterners and westerners in the north, but the Biafra people don't seem to care, it's like they want a conflict, so they can show the world they are being treated unfairly. The Northern youths have politely asked the Biafra people to please consider their civilians who are peacefully living in the north.
But the man leading this new revolt has a BRITISH (sounds familiar) passport, as we speak and fight and argue and talk among our selves, his family are in BRITAIN(still sounds familiar, strange), while he was in prison he called upon the BRITISH (this place again) to come free their citizen from a former BRITISH (I give up) colony, that's part of the Chinese…….sorry BRITISH COMMON WEALTH after he was braking the law.
When Ojokwu saw that he was loosing the war he ran to boarder French speaking country, and left his vice behind to surrender.
See….hennn……Nigerians are silly and forgetful people.
I think I'll ask this question on Quora.
Original siteon Quora