29 NOVEMBER 1968, Page 28

Black scorpioni

Sir: Mr W. H. Irvine implies that only old Nigeria hands are entitled to comment on the Nigerian war (Letters, 22 November). Perhaps he would accept my credentials, even though I can offer only eight years' residence against his twenty. (If he did not meet me on the Marina, the reason is that I did not much frequent that locality or the other centres where expatriates met to gossip about Ibo conspiracies.) May I then say that I am delighted by the stand which you have taken on this matter? May I also say that his 'facts of history' are, at a very gener- ous estimate, quarter-truths? Even if they were nine-tenths true, of course, they would not justify the savage war that is being waged against the Ibo people.

I am sure that General Alexander is 'ex- tremely sorry for the Ibo people' (Letters, 22 November). But the policy of the British govern- ment, which he appears to support, is that they must surrender or starve, and there seems to be an inconsistency somewhere. I would add that I too claim to be thinking not of Ibo interests only. It is hard to imagine how Nigeria can benefit by reincorporating eight million sullen captives, whose submission had been secured by such ruthless means.