Flight from the Military

Barry Chukudi is from Nigeria, from Biafra. He fled to Turkey in 2013 due to the violence of the Nigerian military in the struggle for independence of the Biafra region. He talks about his reasons to flee and his journey.

Barry Chukudi, private picture. 2021.

Yes. So, I did not come directly to Turkey. I came across Cameroon because we have border with Cameroon. I took a ship, so that ship have to move through Gine, coast of Gine. From Gine, we came through Libya, then from Libya we came to Egypt. From Egypt, we came to Turkey. It was a 16 days journey. […]

I brought to my wife through the same process, too, she came. So, from Africa my wife is from Ethiopia. All this way, we were together, sometime my wife walked, we have something to do, so we did. We walked together, this is how we are here. […]

In those conflicts I lost my father and my uncle, so many reasons. Nigerian army, in this Biafra region we have oil, we have gas, we have all sources but the government use everything, we don’t have anything. So our people decided to say “enough is enough!” Give us our independence, we want to be separated from Nigeria. Nigerian government said “No.” So because of that, our people got fight with the federal government, our people being killed, our farmlands, our agri products, everything has been destroyed by one particular ethnic group called Fulani. The Fulani is a small ethnic group, because the president is Fulani, they give that group weapons to kill the people, to destroy our farms. We fought, so they did so many things to us, more than hundred people killed, because of that kind of problems, so we decided to run away. We lived in our own country, then we had to ran and we came to Turkey. Because of the problem between Biafran and Nigerian government in Nigeria. […]

Well, the first place I came was Izmir. So when we came to Izmir, our plan was to go to Greece, then Europe. But the ship dropped us, they say we should wait for one week, that is gonna bring other people. Then we said, how do we wait for one week? He said, we should go inside a town then stay in a place and wait they call back until another person calls from Greek. So, from there, people started asking questions. Every people said, if you go to Istanbul, there is nothing in Izmir, you can go to Istanbul and you can meet with other black people. So that was the reason why we came to Istanbul.

 

Barry comes from the Biafra region of Nigeria. The region was briefly independent from 1967-1970. The population continues to try to secede from Nigeria, in some cases by force of arms. The Nigerian military is taking violent action against them. According to Amnesty reports, in 2020 at least 115 people have died at the hands of the military, many of them civilians. 11Amnesty International, 2021: Nigeria 2020. https://www.amnesty.de/informieren/amnesty-report/nigeria-2020 (18.10.2021).

Barry fled to Turkey in 2013 due to the violence of the Nigerian military in the struggle for independence of the Biafra region. In this interview section, he talks about his reasons to flee and his journey.

Barry lives in Istanbul with his wife and his son.

    Footnotes

  • 1Amnesty International, 2021: Nigeria 2020. https://www.amnesty.de/informieren/amnesty-report/nigeria-2020 (18.10.2021).

This interview was conducted in 2021 in English via video call by Elif Yenigun for the We Refugees Archiv.