A few words
Between October 12, 1968 to December 15, 1968 the Government of Canada established Operation Bluenose, a humanitarian and relief operation whose purpose was to deliver humanitarian relief to the war ravaged and hungry citizens of Biafra. Despite many setbacks and frustrations by the Nigerian government who refused to allow night flights into the Uli airstrip, the Canadian government managed to land several CC-130 Hercules planes full of relief materials into Biafra by its 435 Squadron through Santa Isabel in Equatorial Guinea. This humanitarian commitment and magnanimity was not lost on Igbo diaspora residents of Canada during the Nigerian civil war who worried and agonized much about the faith of their people in the war ravaged and heavily besieged Biafra.
Our GOAL and objective is to help re-instill a sense of identity and pride in Igbo nation by promoting the language, culture, history, traditions and philosophy of Igbo nation.
To achieve these objectives ICCA-Umunna strives to do the following:
1. To create awareness of political and social condition of Igbo peoples in Nigeria and diaspora and help proffer and articulate solutions to Igbo problems with a view to reawakening the original and quintessential Igbo spirit and psyche;
2. To pursue cultural and historical education of our people with the goal of promoting the glorious heritage of the Igbo nation and to help guide Igbo youths in the art and science of Igbo nation building;
3. To inculcate in Igbo Youths a strong desire to build a glorious society established on the a sure foundation of truth, justice, fairness and equity for all;
4. To vigilantly ensure that all Igbo leaders work towards the protection and security of Igbo peoples in Nigeria, particularly, and in the diaspora in general, by holding our leaders to account and encouraging them to live up to these objectives.
Formation of Igbo Canadian Community Association (ICCA-Umunna)
Before this period, in 1963, a group of Igbo residents of Toronto came together and formed the Igbo Cultural Association with the aim of maintaining and sustaining their Igbo cultural heritage. This association engendered and deepened the sense of Igbo consciousness and socio-cultural sentiments. At the end of the Nigerian civil war in 1970 this association claimed to represent over 150 Igbo persons in Canada. United in one mind, and with a fixity of purpose to relieve the sufferings of their people back home after the Nigerian civil war, on January 14 1970 they appealed to the Canadian government to intervene in allaying the plight of Igbo people in Biafra. The war ended officially the next day. The group built on this momentum of unity and sense of mission to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the declaration of Biafra on May 30, 1971 in Toronto, Ontario. It was shortly after this event that the group changed its name to Igbo Canadian Community Association, ICCA in the later part of 1971.
Igbo Migration To Canada after the Biafran war.
Igbo migration and identity formation in Canada post the Nigerian civil war was motivated by a variety of inharmonious factors. The terrible experiences of the Biafrans during the Nigerian civil war naturally left many Igbo with a sense bitterness, pain or mistrust of the motives and intentions of the Nigerian state despite its representations of reconstruction, rehabilitation, and reconciliation. This was the feeling in the hearts and minds of many Igbo that survived the carnage and genocide in Biafra that consumed more than 3 million lives in two and half years. These feelings were exacerbated by the Nigerian government who in the Banking Obligation Decree of 1970 offered a meagre sum of 20 pounds to every Igbo in exchange of any amount of the former Nigerian currency that they held. In addition, the government promulgated the Abandoned Property Decree of 1972 that established a commission to seize, appropriate, and auction off properties belonging to Igbos in several parts of the country. The purpose was to make Igbos economically and socially irrelevant in Nigeria. These oppressive policies helped to impulse the tendency of many educated Igbo to migrate to friendly Canada with their families with the intention of restarting their lives. The situation was not helped by the fact that the Igbo elite in 1974 formed the Ohaneze Ndigbo, a socio-political organization that sought to reunite the Igbo in the mould of the former Igbo State Union that was banned by the military government of Nigeria, was itself banned in October 1976 just two years after it was originally formed as a united and collective avenue to channel their grievances and complaints of discrimination and victimization. It was later unbanned after few years. Some of these elite migrated to Canada and joined their fellows in the Igbo Canadian Community Association to work towards reigniting once again the spirit of Igbo unity, self-awareness, pride, and identity that suffered a crushing blow from the events following the Biafran war and the painful and humiliating defeat that followed it.
These are the foundational history of the Igbo Canadian Community Association that has continued to serve the Igbo community in Canada until this day. It continues to champion Igbo causes everywhere, represent the interests of all Igbos regardless of their political leanings or persuasions, and considers itself as first and foremost, an Igbo nationalist group whose primary agenda is to advocate for Igbo causes, identity, traditions, history and world view.
Igbo Canadian Community Association believes that Igbos should cooperate and align with, and work with any groups and affiliates that seek to further Igbo interests, philosophy, values, and balanced ambitions.