The Igbo are, for the most part, a peaceful people; unnecessary war is looked down upon. They believe war must be waged only as a last resort and seek to find a nonviolent solution first.
Suicide is intolerable in Igbo society. It is considered an "nso ani", a sin against the Earth. The Igbo people do not concede to the difficulties of life or to the demands of everyday life. They do not accept suicide as a solution to any problem regardless of the complexities. Suicide is believed to be a terrible and evil way to die.
The Igbo people believe strongly in reincarnation. Reincarnation is one of the ways they share their love with their loved ones who have passed. Consequently, death by suicide is believed to be an evil act and "a bad death." If a person commits suicide, then he or she will never be at peace with him/herself, the village, relatives, and most importantly, the gods. The only people that will reincarnate are those who lived a good life and died a "good" death. A person who died a "bad" death does not (and should not be allowed to) reincarnate.
This book that the commissioner is going to write is a reference to Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness. In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz, a man who has a very similar job to the District Commissioner, has a pamphlet in his papers that is called the “Suppression of Savage Customs.”
Chinua Achebe does not approve of Joseph Conrad’s book; one of the main reasons he wrote Heart of Darkness was to prove the inaccuracy of Conrad's book. The title of the book that the District Commisioner plans to write (“The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger”) is ironic because the Europeans are the ones who caused the need for there to be pacification of the people. Before the white men arrived, there was peace throughout the Igbo tribes. If there was a dispute, the Igbo found a way to avoid the conflict.