Igbos protesting against lack of security in Awka, Nigeria
Igbos protesting against lack of security in Awka, Nigeria

Anti-Igbo sentiment (also known as Igbophobia) encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward the Igbo people of south eastern Nigeria. Igbophobia[1] is observable in critical and hostile behaviour such as political and religious discrimination and violence towards Igbos.[2][3][4]

Pre-civil war sentiments

During the beginning years of Nigeria's colonial independence, the Igbo people increasingly came to be perceived as a disproportionately-favoured ethnic group with affluence and multi-regionalistic opportunity due to the Igbo being employed within colonial Nigeria by the colonial authorities and in the public sector in regions throughout the country. This aroused the ire of others toward the Igbo.[5]

This was exacerbated by the short-lived government of General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, whose military junta consisted mostly of Igbo and who abolished the federated regions; this led to his assassination in a counter-coup led primarily by Northern participants. It was followed by the massacre of thousands of Igbo in pogroms in the Northern region, which drove millions of Igbos to their homeland in Eastern Nigeria; ethnic relations deteriorated rapidly, and a separate republic of Biafra was declared in 1967, leading to the Biafran War.[5]

Anti-Igbo pogrom

Main article: 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom

The 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom was a series of massacres directed at Igbo and other people of southern Nigerian origin living in northern Nigeria starting in May 1966 and reaching a peak after 29 September 1966.[6] During this period 30,000-50,000 Igbo civilians were murdered throughout northern Nigeria by Hausa–Fulani soldiers and civilians who sought revenge for the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état, carried out by six Majors and three Captains of Southern Nigerian extraction, and resulted in the deaths of 11 Nigerian politicians and army officers of Hausa, Fulani, Itsekiri and Yoruba origin.[7] These events led to the Nigerian counter coup and eventually the secession of the eastern Nigerian region and the declaration of the Republic of Biafra, which ultimately led to the Nigeria-Biafra war.[6] The 1966 massacres of southern Nigerians have been described as a holocaust by some authors[8] and have variously been described as riots, pogroms or genocide.[9][10]

Nigerian Civil War

Main article: Nigerian Civil War

The Republic of Biafra was a secessionist state in eastern Nigeria that existed from 30 May 1967 to January 1970. It took its name from the Bight of Biafra, the Atlantic bay to its south. The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic,[11] cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. Other ethnic groups that constituted the republic were the Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Ejagham, Eket, Ibeno and the Ijaw, among others.

Outside Nigeria

On August 2019, a Yoruba supremacist who immigrated to the United Kingdom from Nigeria was arrested by British police for making YouTube videos that contained violent hate speech towards the Igbo people, and he was later sentenced to prison in April 2022.[12] In The US, recent tensions between Native Black Americans and Southern Nigerian immigrants have contributed the stereotype of a general distaste by Africans of African-Americans. Igbo Americans tend to concentrate in areas controlled by English Americans, (the minority responsible for the enslavement and oppression of African-Americans), like Northern Virginia and Washington state and tend to work in fields like the medical field, military and in prisons, where they generally work alongside conservative Whites. As a result, African-Americans in Northern Virginia do not generally regard Igbos as a brotherly tribe in the way that they have historically looked at every other Black, North African, or Caribbean ethnic group for centuries. This is in spite of the fact that African-Americans in these regions are disproportionately of Southern Nigerian descent and Igbo immigrants, due to high admixture with White slavers, are often harder to distinguish from African-Americans than other Black ethnic groups.

See also


  1. ^ "Igbophobia as a lamentation for help | Pambazuka News". www.pambazuka.org. 2017-06-20. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  2. ^ Kogbara, Donu (11 February 2022). "Igbophobia (2)". Vanguard News. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  3. ^ Onwuka, Azuka (15 February 2022). "Igbophobia runs deeper than we think". The Punch. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  4. ^ Kogbara, Donu (4 February 2022). "Igbophobia: What have Igbos done to other Nigerians? [Opinion]". Vanguard. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Remembering Biafra". BBC. Archived from the original on September 16, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Abbott, Charles; Anthony, Douglas A. (2003). "Poison and Medicine: Ethnicity, Power, and Violence in a Nigerian City, 1966-86". The International Journal of African Historical Studies. 36 (1): 133–136. doi:10.2307/3559324. JSTOR 3559324.
  7. ^ "The Igbo genocide and its aftermath | Pambazuka News". 5 March 2016.
  8. ^ Kirk-Greene, A. H. M. (January 1975). "The Struggle for Secession 1966-70: A Personal Account of the Nigerian Civil War by N. U. Akpan; Sunset in Biafra: A Civil War Diary by Elechi Amadi; The Nigerian Civil War 1967-70: An Annotated Bibliography by C. C. Aguolu Review by: A. H. M. Kirk-Greene". The Royal African Society. 74 (294): 100–102. JSTOR 720916.
  9. ^ Van Den Bersselaar, Dmitri (3 March 2011). "Douglas A. Anthony Poison and Medicine: ethnicity, power, and violence in a Nigerian city, 1966 to 1986. Oxford: James Currey 2002 265pp". Africa. 74 (4): 711–713. doi:10.2307/3556867. JSTOR 3556867.(hard covers £45.00, ISBN 0 85255 959 3; paperback £17.95, ISBN 0 85255 954 2) Portsmouth NH: Heinemann (hard covers US$67.95, ISBN 0 32507 052 0; paperback US$24.95, ISBN 0 32507 051 2).
  10. ^ Anyaduba, Chigbo Arthur. "Nigerian writers compare genocide of Igbos to the Holocaust". The Conversation. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  11. ^ "Ethnicity - Definition, Meaning & Synonyms". Vocabulary.com. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  12. ^ "UK Court Jails Adeyinka Grandson, 'Yoruba Supremacist', Over Attacks On Igbo, Fulani". Sahara Reporters. 1 April 2022.