The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Nigerian-Biafran War, was a three-year bloody conflict with a death toll numbering more than one million people. Having commenced seven years after Nigeria gained independence from Britain, the war began with the secession of the southeastern region of the nation on May 30, 1967, when it declared itself the independent Republic of Biafra. The ensuing battles and well-publicized human suffering prompted international outrage and intervention.
For most Nigerians, the war over the breakaway state of Biafra is generally regarded as an unfortunate episode best forgotten, but for the Igbos (my people), who fought for secession, it remains a life-defining event. In 1967, following two coups and turmoil which led to about a million Igbos returning to the south-east of Nigeria, the Republic of Biafra seceded with 33-year-old military officer Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at the helm. Instructively, Biafran propaganda played a pivotal role in the political and diplomatic conduct of the Nigerian civil war.
Unfortunately, the Biafran secession of 1967 and ensuing civil war presented Israel with an acute dilemma. Israel sought to maintain correct relations with the Federal Government of Nigeria, which viewed as a hostile act any support rendered to the Biafran separatists. At the same time, the plight of the Igbos reminded many Israelis of the Holocaust. This article will not be completed without going through memory lane: as a child of less than six years of age caught up in the middle of war front, it was an uneasy feeling better to be forgotten for me even as a patriot and a writer.
Separatism has bedeviled Nigerian governance since the colonial era. The Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo—sometimes collectively known as the Big Three—make up more than half of Nigeria’s population, while the rest is divided among more than three hundred ethnic groups. Yours truly was privileged with a providential grace: Born in the coal-city ‘Enugu’ – the political headquarter of the Eastern region, by a Northern mother and proudly an Ijebu man from the Southwest Nigeria and married from Awka in the same Southeast – i make bold to say that I am a miniature map of Nigeria.
Flowing from the foregoing, the past few days have been very traumatic for me; while I am still ruminating about the consequences of the ongoing campaign Infiltrated by elements of separatists and restive youths, as exemplified by the ferocious attack on an amiable servant of God, in person of Poju Oyemade and few hours after reading about the Billionaire businessman, ‘Femi Otedola, who took pictures with his esteemed friend and brother Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu the Presidential candidate of the ruling party Apc – hell was let loss – it signposted the beginning of intolerance, extremism, exuberance and a sad reminder of the pre war in the sixties.
Subsequently, the unfortunate incident on the way to the home town of the president: a group of daredevil gunmen opened fire on President Muhammadu Buhari’s advance convoy deployed ahead of his Trip to Daura, Katsina state for Sallah Celebrations on Tuesday. “The attackers opened fire on the convoy from ambush positions but were repelled by the military, police and DSS personnel accompanying the convoy.” Boko Haram and other groups of Irredentism on the Rise of Terrorism in Nigeria in an attempts at separatism to exert social and political influence in the body politics as we move closer to the 2023 general elections.
Sadly, in less than twenty hours another group of terrorists on Tuesday night attacked the Kuje Medium Custodial Centre in Abuja, the nation’s capital with bombs in an apparent move to gain entry into the facility and free some of its members. A high calibre bomb had first gone off at about 10:25pm followed by a second and third blasts as well as sporadic gunshots that residents into panic mode. I like to conclude this article by admonishing the insurgents, terrorists, separatists and all our compatriots – sheathe your sword lets rebuild our beloved country Nigeria.
ARISE ‘O COMPATRIOTS
Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.