War on the Rocks After a peak in Boko Haram–related violence in 2014 and 2015, the number of casualties attributed to the group fell dramatically. Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has said the high level of insecurity in the country is so much that people now sleep with one eye open and the other closed. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included ethno-religious violence and anti-Igbo progroms in Northern Nigeria,[39] a military coup, a counter-coup and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria. The Biafra side received arms and ammunition from France, even though the French government denied sponsoring Biafra. With the capture of Enugu, Bonny, Calabar and Portharcourt, the outside world was left in no doubt of the Federal supremacy in the war. Political science PhD dissertation, accepted at University of Chicago, December 2014. [76], In addition to Shell-BP, the British reaped profits from mining and commerce. March 30, 2018, Nigeria's Boko Haram Attacks in Numbers - As Lethal as Ever, Mark Wilson Heerten & Moses, "The Nigeria–Biafra War" (2014), p. 177. Jamestown Foundation He showed how one sack of food could be placed inside a larger sack before the supply drop. [46], In contrast to the two other groups, Igbos and the ethnic groups of the Niger Delta in the southeast lived mostly in autonomous, democratically organised communities, although there were eze or monarchs in many of the ancient cities, such as the Kingdom of Nri. At the end of the war, only N£20 was given to any easterner regardless of the amount of money he or she had had in the bank. While their 15th January coup succeeded in seizing political control in the north, it failed in the south, especially in the Lagos-Ibadan-Abeokuta military district where loyalist troops led by army commander Johnson Aguyi-Ironsi succeeded in crushing the revolt. [233], Bruce Mayrock referred to the conflict as a genocide. Africa Check, Nigeria Chibok girls: Boko Haram video shows captives, Drew Hinshaw, Joe Parkinson, and Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin [118] Biafra began the war with only 240 soldiers at Enugu, which grew to 2 battalions by August 1967, which soon were expanded into 2 brigades, the 51st and 52nd which became the core of the Biafran Army. [145] However, France did not recognise Biafra diplomatically. [78], Though the Nigeria Regiment had fought for Britain in both world wars, the army Nigeria inherited upon independence in 1960 was an internal security force designed and trained to assist the police in putting down challenges to authority rather than to fight a war. Master of Laws thesis accepted at York University (Toronto, Ontario), October 1971. With reason. The blockade prevented imports, and local protein supplies were quickly depleted: "The national diet was now almost 100% starch. All that was left for him then was to seek expression in nationalistic organisations.". [103], The Federal Military Government immediately placed an embargo on all shipping to and from Biafra—but not on oil tankers. p.152, Akpan, Ntieyong U. [112] The same problems that afflicted the Federal Army also affected the Biafran Army even more whose officer corps were based around former Federal Igbo officers. The news of this payment reached the Federal government, which immediately extended the shipping embargo to oil tankers. The conflict has been primarily contained in the Muslim north, particularly in Borno state, but has displaced millions of people in the region. April 4, 2018, Nigeria's Troubling Counterinsurgency Strategy Against Boko Haram, Vanda Felbab-Brown Both sides relied heavily on external support. Luckily for Shell-BP, prior to the war, it had planned a second terminal off Forcados, which was in Federal territory. This was noticed and thankfully acknowledged by the Nigerian government.". [123] Furthermore, Ojukwu needed scapegoats for Biafra's defeats and death was the usual punishment for a Biafran officers who lost a battle. Soldiers As Policymakers (1960s-1970s), How France armed Biafra's bid to break from Nigeria, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, North Yemen-South Yemen Border conflict of 1972, Struggle against political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, Sovereignty of Puerto Rico during the Cold War, Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, List of Eastern Bloc agents in the United States, American espionage in the Soviet Union and Russian Federation, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nigerian_Civil_War&oldid=991271027, Wars involving the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Wars involving the states and peoples of Africa, CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of November 2020, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 1879 – Creation of United African Company, later, 1900 – British Crown assumes governance of Nigeria and part of Cameroon, 1914 – 1 January – Southern and Northern Regions amalgamated, though administered separately, under British colonial rule executed by Governor General, 1946 – Richards Constitution subdivides Southern Region into, 31 March – Motion for independence in 1956 proposed by. Aguyi-Ironsi suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament. Stevenson, "Capitol Gains" (2014), pp. U.S. Institute of Peace [234] In the report, Mayrock, a 20-year-old Student at Columbia University, set himself on fire in protest of the killings in Biafra and how they were being overlooked. [80], Using the "martial races" theory first developed under the Raj in 19th century India, the British had decided that peoples from northern Nigeria such as the Hausa, Kiv, and Kanuri were the hard "martial races" whose recruitment was encouraged while the peoples from southern Nigeria such as the Igbos and the Yoruba were viewed as too soft to make for good soldiers and hence their recruitment was discouraged. [155], France led the way, internationally, for political support of Biafra. Within each of the three regions the dominant ethnic groups, the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo, respectively formed political parties that were largely regional and based on ethnic allegiances: the Northern People's Congress (NPC) in the North; the Action Group in the West (AG); and the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in the East. Guardian CFR Council Special Report This embargo did not involve oil tankers. "Robert, in a surprising admission, stated that it was the SDECE that instructed the media to use the term 'genocide' in 1968. Within a year, the Federal Government troops surrounded Biafra, capturing coastal oil facilities and the city of Port Harcourt. [84] Of the 7 officers killed, 4 were northerners, two were from the southeast, 1 was from the midwest and 1 was a Igbo. [131] Outside of the Biafra, atrocities were recorded against the resident of Asaba in present-day Delta State by both sides of the conflict. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari meets with some of the twenty-one Chibok school girls during their visit to the presidential villa in Aduja, Nigeria on October 18, 2016. It was not until Federal forces captured the ocean oil terminal at Bonny on 25 July 1967 that the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson decided to back Nigeria with military aid. On 30 May 1967, Ojukwu declared independence and renamed the entire Eastern Region 'the Republic of Biafra'. [53], In Eastern areas, missionaries were introduced at a later date because of British difficulty in establishing firm control over the highly autonomous communities. The status of Lagos was a sore point for the AG which did not want Lagos, a Yoruba town which was at that time the Federal Capital and seat of national government to be designated as the Capital of Nigeria if it meant loss of Yoruba sovereignty. "The oil revenue issue, however, came to a head when Gowon, on 27 May 1967, divided the country into twelve states. March 21, 2016, Borno Governor Launches State-Level Initiatives to Fight Boko Haram, John Campbell They captured three Europeans unhurt and then at a nearby Okpai Field Development Biafran commandos surrounded and captured 15 more expatriate personnel. Gen. Gowon also launched an offensive into Biafra south from the Niger Delta to the riverine area, using the bulk of the Lagos Garrison command under Colonel Benjamin Adekunle (called the Black Scorpion) to form the 3rd Infantry Division (which was later renamed as the 3rd Marine Commando). March 25, 2019, Center for Strategic and International Studies In May 1969, Biafran commandos recaptured oil wells in Kwale. May 16, 2019, Stabilizing Northeast Nigeria After Boko Haram, Saskia Brechenmacher The US also saw value in its alliance with Lagos, and sought to protect $800 million (in the assessment of the State Department) worth of private investment.[161]. August 1, 2017, Communal Conflict Illustrates Nigeria’s Security Challenges, John Campbell Task Force Program, About New York Times Somehow These Teenage Girls Survived. Foreign Affairs August 6, 2019, Beneath the Tamarind Tree: Nigeria and the Resilience of the Chibok Girls, Christina Golubski "The prolific independent scholar Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is perhaps the most outspoken articulator of this paradigm, which also depicts the Nigerian state as a prison house of nations, especially for the Igbo. [152][153] SAFRAP laid claim to 7% of the Nigerian petroleum supply. May 2018, Boko Haram’s Senegalese Foreign Fighters: Cases, Trends and Implications, Jacob Zenn People from other regions were quick to take over any house owned by an Igbo, especially in the Port Harcourt area. April 4, 2019, ISIS’s West African Offshoot Is Following al Qaeda’s Rules for Success, Philip Obaji Jr. Pierri, "A New Entry into the World Oil Market" (2013), pp. Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, "The Achebean Restoration", GS Student immolates self in front of U.N. Building, Columbia Daily Spectator, Volume CXIII, Number 118, 3 June 1969, Student immolates self in front of U.N. Building, Columbia Daily Spectator, Volume CXIII, Number 118, 3 June 1969. War on the Rocks August 6, 2019, A Shia “Boko Haram” Insurgency or Iranian Proxy in Nigeria? Umar, who is the emir of President Muhammadu Buhari’s community, solicited prayers, advice and goodwill of all Nigerians to overcome banditry and other security challenges the way the civil war … An article in Paris Match of 20 November 1968 claimed that French arms were reaching Biafra through neighbouring countries such as Gabon. [165] Besides establishing an arms pipeline from the Soviet Union to Nigeria, the possibility that the Soviet Union would gain greater influence in Nigeria led Britain to increase its supply of arms to maintain its influence in Lagos while ruling out the possibility of either the United States or Britain either recognizing Biafra. Read about Nigeria’s ongoing battle with insurgent group Boko Haram and keep track of the latest developments using the Global Conflict Tracker from the Council on Foreign Relations. Now the Igbos, concentrated in the East Central State, would lose control over most of the petroleum, located in the other two areas. [226] This brand was widely feared, as it generally resulted in death by the Biafran forces or even mobs. While at Columbia, Mayrock worked as a photographer for the Spectator sports department. The pre-1966 tax-sharing agreements on mineral wealth were changed to okay favour the Federal government at the expense of the state. [50] With their emphasis upon social achievement and political participation, the Igbo adapted to and challenged colonial rule in innovative ways. Foreign Affairs Also murdered was Sir Ahmadu Bello's wife and officers of Northern extraction. After a year of fighting, the rump state was overpopulated, its people impoverished, lacking supplies, food and medicine. These religious ties were conduits for the transnational networks through which the conflict would be turned into an object of international humanitarian concern. "De Gaulle made the decision to begin regular French arms shipments to Biafra on 17 or 18 October 1967. November 30, 2018, Boko Haram Overruns Outgunned Nigerian Military Base, John Campbell Military killed: 45,000[30]–100,000[33][34] killed, 2 million Biafran civilians perished from famine during the Nigerian naval blockade[35]. Consequently, the Yoruba were the first group in Nigeria to adopt Western bureaucratic social norms. He then abolished the regional confederated form of government and pursued unitary like policies favoured by the NCNC, having apparently been influenced by some NCNC political philosophy. July 2016, Mohammed Aly Sergie and Toni Johnson Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has alerted the people of Nigeria of the worsened level of insecurity “she is in a war zone that people now sleep with one eye open”. [110], The UK, which still maintained the highest level of influence over Nigeria's highly valued oil industry through Shell-BP,[111] and the Soviet Union supported the Nigerian government, especially by military supplies. Nigeria’s citizens in the north east must be informed to evacuate. He introduced the Count to a Canadian method of dropping bagged supplies to remote areas in Canada without losing the contents. After diplomatic efforts by Nigeria failed to reunite the country, war between Nigeria and Biafra broke out in July 1967. On 4 June 1969, after receiving a personal direct mail from the Pope, Ojukwu pardoned the foreigners. Gowon was chosen as a compromise candidate. Pierri, "A New Entry into the World Oil Market" (2013), pp. [108] Fighting ended a few days later, with the Nigerian forces advancing into the remaining Biafran-held territories, which was met with little resistance. As the largest African oil producer, the stability of Nigeria is important to regional security and U.S. economic interests. The French public eventually contributed 12,600,000 francs. May 8, 2017, Improving U.S. Anticorruption Policy in Nigeria, Matthew T. Page Igbos who ran for their lives during the pogroms and war returned to find their positions had been taken over; and when the war was over the government did not feel any need to re-instate them, preferring to regard them as having resigned. Two-fifths of all Nigerian oil ended up in Britain. We are at the dawn of national reconciliation. The Peace Corps volunteers stationed in the Eastern Region ‘developed strong friendships and identified as Igbo which was prompted them to help the eastern region. May 14, 2014, Adjunct Senior Fellow for African Peace and Security Issues, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies. Read all the latest news, breaking stories, top headlines, opinion, pictures and videos from Nigeria and the world on today.ng [237], On 29 May 2000, The Guardian reported that President Olusegun Obasanjo commuted to retirement the dismissal of all military persons who fought for the breakaway state of Biafra during the Nigerian civil war. Uche, "Oil, British Interests and the Nigerian Civil War" (2008), pp. In 2012, the Indigenous People of Biafra separatist movement was founded, led by Nnamdi Kanu. Eurasia, Middle November 27, 2018, Boko Haram Leader Shekau's Book Helps Explain Factional Rifts, Jacob Zenn [130], The Federal troops were equally culpable of this crime. The First Republic came into being on 1 October 1963. Kouchner and the other French doctors signed this agreement. February 13, 2019, Nigeria’s Election Brings Dual Crises Back to the Polls: Corruption and Boko Haram, Dionne Searcey and Emmanuel Akinwotu After counting the disemboweled bodies along the Makurdi road I was escorted back to the city by soldiers who apologised for the stench and explained politely that they were doing me and the world a great favor by eliminating Igbos. They would have a cast iron case for the severest treatment of a company which has subsidised a rebel, and I feel fairly convinced they would press their case to the lengths of cancelling the Company's concessions and nationalising their installations. [43] Although these groups have their own homelands, by the 1960s, the people were dispersed across Nigeria, with all three ethnic groups represented substantially in major cities. [54] However, the Igbo and other Biafran people actively took to Western education, and they overwhelmingly came to adopt Christianity. "[138], Shell-BP took this advice. May 4, 2018, Preventing Boko Haram Abductions of Schoolchildren in Nigeria, International Crisis Group In Britain, humanitarian aid used familiar discourses of imperial responsibility; in Ireland, advertisements appealed to shared Catholicism and experiences of civil war. During the two and half years of the war, there were about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died of starvation.[40]. Boko Haram vs. Nigeria Though it's waged a bloody war against the Nigerian government for many years, rebel group Boko Haram rarely could claim significant territorial control until recently. [147] France supplied Biafra with captured German and Italian weapons from World War II, sans serial numbers, delivered as part of regular shipments to Côte d'Ivoire. Levey, "Israel, Nigeria and the Biafra civil war" (2014), p. 280. ", Uche, "Oil, British Interests and the Nigerian Civil War" (2008), p. 131. Dr Umar, who is the emir of President Muhammadu Buhari’s community, made the comment when the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, visited him in his palace. "By September 1966, an open arms race had developed between the East and the Federal Government. The general public in Israel, in the wake of that intense press coverage, expressed revulsion at the world's feckless response and the helplessness of the Biafran victims, which, for Israelis, recalled their own catastrophe.". Radio Biafra is a daily reminder of the bloody civil war that ravaged Nigeria between 1967 and 1970. Shell-BP promptly complied. Ojukwu accused the federal government of going back on their promises while the federal government accused Ojukwu of distortion and half-truths. [146] Through Pierre Laureys, France had apparently provided two B-26s, Alouette helicopters, and pilots. [114] The war began on the early hours of 6 July 1967 when Nigerian Federal troops advanced in two columns into Biafra. Uche, Chibuike. The pre-independence alliance between the NCNC and the NPC against the aspirations of the AG would later set the tone for political governance of independent Nigeria by the NCNC/NPC and lead to disaster in later years in Nigeria. Campus. The Effects? 116– 117. In mid August, Ojukwu sent two representatives from the Eastern Region on a clandestine visit to Israel in a bid to purchase military hardware. The surrender paper was signed on 14 January 1970 in Lagos and thus came the end of the civil war and renunciation of secession. [202] The Irish journalist John Hogan who covered the war noted: "The threat of famine, combined with an independence struggle, had an almost irresistible political and emotional impact on Irish public opinion, which became hugely supportive of the regular airlifts, via the off-shore Portuguese island of São Tomé, of food and medical supplies to the beleaguered infant republic". 179. [203] Returning as a freelance journalist in 1968, Forysth worked closely with the Irish Holy Ghost Fathers to collect information about the famine, and whose dispatches from Biafra had an immense impact on British public opinion. That the FMG could argue that it was a sovereign government facing an 'insurgency' was decisive. "From 1967 to 1970, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Poland sold Nigeria twelve L-29 Delfin training aircraft, forty-seven MiG-15 and MiG-17 fighter jets, and five Ilyushin-28 bombers, two of which Egypt transferred to Lagos. While the Ibo candidates were regularly selected, scarcely any from non-Ibo areas were recruited. September 13, 2019, “They Didn’t Know if I Was Alive or Dead”: Military Detention of Children for Suspected Boko Haram Involvement in Northeast Nigeria, Human Rights Watch The Westernised Nigerian was an isolated individual, possibly because he was seen as a potential rival. Jamestown Foundation It was claimed that the foreigners were captured fighting alongside Nigerians against Biafran troops and that they assisted Nigerians in constructing roads to aid them in their operations against Biafra. Levey, "Israel, Nigeria and the Biafra civil war" (2014), p. 266. After witnessing the horrors of the war, humanitarian workers founded the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Although there was much sympathy in Europe and elsewhere, only five countries (Tanzania, Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire, Zambia, and Haiti) officially recognised the new republic. March 11, 2017, Nigeria’s Battles With Boko Haram Scar the Land and Its People, Dionne Searcey and Ashley Gilbertson August 17, 2016, Explaining Nigeria’s Boko Haram and its violent insurgency, Mike Smith [60] During the 1940s and 1950s the Igbo and Yoruba parties were in the forefront of the fight for independence from Britain. The blockade imposed during the ensuing stalemate led to mass starvation. There were different accounts of what took place in Aburi. 270–271. Biafra was more or less wiped off the map until its resurrection by the contemporary Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra. Time Britain supplied amounts of heavy weapons and ammunition to the Nigerian side because of its desire to preserve the country it had created. 109. Since 2011, Boko Haram—one of the largest Islamist militant groups in Africa—has conducted terrorist attacks on religious and political groups, local police, and the military, as well as indiscriminately attacking civilians in busy markets and villages. Claims of electoral fraud were one of the reasons given by the coup plotters. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu became military governor of the Eastern Region at this time. Although France has leaned toward Biafra, SAFRAP has vast exploration rights in the Northern Region; this might have prevented France giving Biafra political recognition. The counter-coup led to the installation of Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu Gowon as Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Beginning with the Northern Protectorate, the British implemented a system of indirect rule of which they exerted influence through alliances with local forces. 174–175. A view shows an empty classroom at the school in Dapchi, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, in the northeastern state of Yobe, Nigeria on February 23, 2018. [136], Britain backed the Federal Government but, when the war broke out, cautioned them not to damage British oil installations in the East. In particular, it resulted in a massive spending increase through state funds and public donations, leading to the growth and proliferation of NGOs. [45] The political and social system of the Yoruba accordingly allowed for greater upward mobility, based on acquired rather than inherited wealth and title. Political decisions were to be submitted to. Besides for killing much of Nigeria's elite, the "Majors' Coup" also saw much of the leadership of the Nigerian Federal Army killed with 7 officers holding the rank above colonel killed. Brookings Institution However the change did not take into consideration the differences in the culture and religions of the peoples in each area. Many African countries who were against separatism like Ethiopia and Egypt supported the Nigerian government in order to prevent inspiring revolts in their own countries. ", Levey, "Israel, Nigeria and the Biafra civil war" (2014), p. 270. The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue. Ehud Avriel, ambassador to Ghana and a close confidant of both Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and Foreign Minister Golda Meir, cautioned that were Israel to fail to establish ties with Nigeria, ‘all of our work in West Africa will have come to naught’.". [157] In July the government redoubled its efforts to involve the public in a humanitarian approach to the conflict. Griffin, "French military policy in the Nigerian Civil War" (2015), p. 119. [141] After the decision was made to back Nigeria, the BBC oriented its reporting to favour this side. "Instead, many Northerners were alarmed that the military era would lead to an Igbo domination, especially when on May 24, 1966, the government issued Unification Decree No. "The Nigerian government subsequently made it explicit to Shell-BP that it expected the company to pay the outstanding oil royalty immediately. "The most important dimension of French military assistance was the shipment of weapons to Biafra, which had severe shortages of not only heavy weapons, but also small arms and ammunition. [220] Ekwe-Ekwe places significant blame on the British. Two-thirds of this oil came from the Eastern region, and another third from the newly created Mid-West region. The captives included 14 Italians, 3 West Germans and one Lebanese. Soon after, de Gaulle terminated arms shipments, then resigned on 27 April 1969. Competition for political and economic power exacerbated tensions. [113], Shortly after extending its blockade to include oil, the Nigerian government launched a "police action" to retake the secessionist territory. 125–127. As the war continued, the Nigerian Army recruited amongst a wider area, including the Yoruba, Itshekiri, Urhobo, Edo, Ijaw, etc. New York Times There were also wide-spread reports of fraud during Nigeria's first census,[57] and even today population remains a highly political issue in Nigeria. While those that executed the coup were mostly Northern, most of the known plotters were Igbo and the military and political leadership of Western and Northern regions had been largely bloodily eliminated while Eastern military/political leadership was largely untouched. For the next two days Biafran stations and military supplies were bombarded by the Nigerian air force. The Fight Against Nigeria's Northeast Terrorism is Also a Battle Against Climate Change, Alicia Prager and Simpa Samson The Nigerians were repulsed three times as they attempted to cross the River Niger during October, resulting in the loss of thousands of troops, dozens of tanks and equipment. Arms and Diplomacy in local Wars 1945–1980, 1986, p. 123 win... And student activists, spoke for Biafra 's propagandists in the Nigerian Army had no training or experience of on... Analysis of Nigeria–Biafra conflict '' ( 2014 ), p. 119 population the. French mercenaries went to Katanga to support the Belgian intervention the families during the ensuing years the! The Biafrans intensified internationally in the Nigerian Army had captured Gakem, Ogudu, Ogoja use of resources... Was left for him then was to dismantle the Northern-dominated Federal government, which involved heavy all! Oil-Producing areas from the core Ibo State ( East Central State commandos recaptured oil wells in Kwale of! 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Help and recognition he can get core Ibo State ( East Central State Enugu began on September. Zone ” Odumegwu Ojukwu ( 1933–2011 ) from 6 July 1967 when Nigerian Federal military government a! While at Columbia, Mayrock worked as a genocide media coverage, by..., it has been argued that the Biafran forces or even mobs assistance Israel... Ibadan during their mutiny and there he was seen as a genocide Nigeria changing its currency so! Break through Formally, the Western media, analogies and comparisons with the massacres of September... Systems among these three peoples reflected and produced divergent customs and values fraud were one of Republic! Status: internationally recognised statehood kidnapped by a general assembly in which men and women participated men into the.. Struggle for secession, 1966–1970: a personal history of non-government organisations ( NGOs ) numerous attempts please! Immediately placed an embargo on all shipping to and from Biafra—but not oil!
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