Heroes of Nigeria


APRIL 1974
(In a secondary school in the south eastern region of the federal republic of Nigeria, enters Margaret a teacher)

Class:(Standing up to their feet) Good morning ma, we are happy to see you ma, God bless you ma, Amen ma.

Teacher Margaret:Good morning students, you can have your seat.

Class:(In unison) Thank you ma

Teacher Margaret:Today in history, we are going to take a look at the Nigerian civil war (Moves to the chalkboard) Now Godwin, tell us what you know about the Biafra war.

Godwin:(stands up) The Biafra war was a fight between the igbos and the rest of Nigeria which resulted in the death of so many people.

Teacher Margaret:Alright sit down, MARY!

Mary (Stands up) The Biafra war was a war in Nigeria caused by Lieutenant colonel Ojukwu.

Teacher Margaret:(Smiles) Alright Mary, you can have your seat.Well, the Nigerian civil war we also call Biafra war was one caused by all and none in particular.

Ndubisi:(Rather suprised) How do you mean ma?

Teacher Margaret:Thank you for that question, after the meeting ay Aburi, things still deteriorated ad to the eastern military government, they were on the less favoured side and on the 30th of may 1967, lieutenant colonel Ojukwu declared the sovereign republic of Biafra.

Godwin:That means they were independent ma?

Teacher Margaret:(smiles) For the time being.

Mary:What did the Nigerian Head of state do?

Teacher Margaret:The federal military government placed an embargo on all shipping both into and out of Biafra but excluded oil tankers.

Kelvin:Why was oil tankers excluded ma?

Teacher Margaret:This was because large of the national income came from the sales of oil products.

Kelvin (Nodding) Alright ma.

Teacher Margaret:The Biafra government due to the embargo began to collect royalties on all oil companies within it’s borders leading to the Nigerian federal military government extending the embargo to include oil.

Mary:Definitely the Nigerian government lost a lot of money.

Teacher Margaret:Yes Mary, Both sides rather were not prepared for a war but shortly afterwards, the Nigerian government launched a police action against the Biafra nation.

Ndubisi:That means the Nigerian government started the war?

Teacher Margaret:It was part of the Biafran strategy, the Nigerian army forming the first infantry division led by colonel Shuwa advanced north and captured Nsukka some few months after.

Godwin:The Biafra nation was just watching?

Teacher Margaret:Maybe not, In offensive, the Biafra forces moved across the River Niger through Dahomey and stopped somewhere in the west called Őre.The forces led by Lieutenant colonel Banjo took over the whole of Midwest as they went through but Colonel Murtala Mohammed and troops under his command formed the second infantry division and chased off the Biafran troops from the west side and also Dahomey was taken over by the Lagos garrison under colonel Adekunle.

Florence:(raising her hand) But ma, where was the majority of the Biafran army camped?

Teacher Margaret:They were concentrated mainly at the interior of the eastern region, also to get to the interior, Colonel Murtala Mohammed carried out a mass killing of about 690 civilians in Asaba where many were executed infront of their families.

Godwin:(Slightly exasperated) That’s cruel of the Nigerian forces ma.

Teacher Margaret:(Laughs) It’s one of the results of war.also under the Nigerian military offensive called Operation tiger claw when on October 1967, Colonel Adekunle and his troops attacked south eastern region.A foreign troop called the Lynn garrison tried to retake Calabar but were repelled by the Nigerian troops.

Mary:So ma, foreign allies had knowledge of the conflict.

Teacher Margaret:(laughs aloud) Ofcourse; Britain supplied the Nigerian army with weapons and France was allied to the Biafran nation.It’s all a fight for supremacy.

Ndubisi:Was operation tiger claw successful ma?

Teacher Margaret:Yes infact on the 19th of may 1968, porthacourt was captured.

Florence:(Nodding slowly) It was a real fight for supremacy.

Teacher Margaret:Also by virtue of the fact that the Biafran nation was surrounded, there was a wide spread of hunger and starvation among the Biafran civilian population.

Kelvin:Yes ma! I once read in a book that the Nigerian military government won the war through genocide.

Teacher Margaret:(Humming) Right in a way but in what was regarded as the final offensive, a launched attack through the south broke through amd operation tail wind led by Colonel Obasanjo moving with the third marine commando division suppprted by the first amd second infantry division brought an end to the Biafra nation.

Mary:I understamd ma? that’s why Ojukwu is nowhere to be found.

Teacher Margaret:EXACTLY! His deputy Effiong carried out the renunciatiom of the Republic of Biafra.

Ndubisi:How tragic? Many must have been killed.

Teacher Margaret:About 2million lost their lives many of which were children.we have every cause to be grateful.

Florence:(In unison) Yes ma.

Teacher Margaret:That is….. (Interrupted by the ringing of the bell) Oh, time’s up.we would see tomorrow class. (Goes out)

Godwin:My daddy told me about the war, he said I was being carried all around.

Mary:So definitely war is not a good thing.

Godwin:Yes Mary.At all At all
(The students become noisy while chatting and discussing and the curtain closes)

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