The Nigerian-Biafran war came to an end today 52 years ago.
On January 15, 1970 the Nigerian-Biafran civil war came to a much anticipated close. Having claimed over 3.5 million lives of the Igbo people of the Eastern Region, it’s believed that every Igbo household lost at least a relation to the war.
The Nigerian-Biafran civil war of July 6, 1967 to January 15, 1970 was the worst calamity to ever befallen Ndị Igbo.
The Nigerian Civil War was a civil war fought between the government of Nigeria and the Republic of Biafra, a secessionist state which had declared its independence from Nigeria in 1967. Nigeria was led by General Yakubu Gowon, while Biafra was led by Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu.
About 2 million Biafran civilians perished from famine during the Nigerian naval blockade, which was put in place as a measure to starve the Igbos of food supply during the war and so force the hands of the Biafran Military to surrender.
In mid-1968, images of malnourished and starving Biafran children saturated the mass media of Western countries. The plight of the starving Biafrans became a cause célèbre in foreign countries, enabling a significant rise in the funding and prominence of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The United Kingdom and the Soviet Union were the main supporters of the Nigerian government, while France, Israel and some other countries supported Biafra. This highlighted the severity of the hunger that befell the people at the time.
This conflict was one of the few during the Cold War where the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union supported the same party.
About 45, 000-100, 000 soldiers were killed on both sides, majority of whom were Biafran soldiers.
The End of the War
With the fall of the Biafran towns of Owerri on 9 January, and Uli on 11 January, the beginning to the end of the war was on course. Only a few days earlier, Ojukwu fled into exile by plane to the Ivory Coast, leaving his deputy Philip Effiong to handle the details of the surrender to General Yakubu Gowon of the Federal Army on 13 January 1970. The surrender paper was signed on 14 January 1970 in Lagos and thus came the end of the civil war and renunciation of secession. Fighting ended a few days later, with the Nigerian forces advancing into the remaining Biafran-held territories, which was met with little resistance.
SOURCE: TWITTER| Igbo History, Culture and Facts.