Sunday, 3 January 2016

VIDEO: Ojukwu and Biafra Soldiers prepare to face Nigerian Soldiers in 1967

Ojukwu and Biafra Soldiers prepare to face Nigerian Soldiers in 1967
The Nigerian Civil War (Biafran War) 6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970, was a war fought to counter the secession of Biafra from Nigeria. Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Igbo people, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the Northern-dominated federal government.

The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which preceded Britain's formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960–1963. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included a military coup, a counter-coup, and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria.


video after the break...
video

Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu became military governor of the Eastern Region on 24 May 1966, the military government issued Unification Decree #34, which would have replaced the federation with a more centralized system. The Northern bloc found this decree intolerable.

In the face of provocation from the Eastern media which repeatedly showed humiliating posters and cartoons of the slain northern politicians, on the night of 29 July 1966, Northern Soldiers at Abeokuta barracks mutinied, thus precipitating a counter-coup, which have already been in the planning stages. The counter-coup led to the installation of Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu Gowon as Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Gowon was chosen as a compromise candidate. He was a Northerner, a Christian, from a minority tribe, and had a good reputation within the army.

On 27 May 1967, Gowon proclaimed the division of Nigeria into twelve states. This decree carved the Eastern Region in three parts: South Eastern State, Rivers State, and East Central State. Now the Igbos, concentrated in the East Central State, would lose control over most of the petroleum, located in the other two areas.

On 30 May 1967, Ojukwu declared independence of the Republic of Biafra.

The Federal Military Government immediately placed an embargo on all shipping to and from Biafra—but not on oil tankers. Biafra quickly moved to collect oil royalties from oil companies doing business within its borders. When Shell-BP acquiesced to this request at the end of June, the Federal Government extended its blockade to include oil. The blockade, which most foreign actors accepted, played a decisive role in putting Biafra at a disadvantage from the beginning of the war.

Although the very young nation had a chronic shortage of weapons to go to war, it was determined to defend itself. 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.

Britain supplied amounts of heavy weapons and ammunition to the Nigerian side because of its desire to preserve the country it created. The Biafra side on the other hand found it difficult to purchase arms as the countries who supported it did not provide arms and ammunition. The heavy supply of weapons by Britain was the biggest factor in determining the outcome of the war.

Shortly after extending its blockade to include oil, the Nigerian government launched a "police action" to retake the secessionist territory. The war began on 6 July 1967 when Nigerian Federal troops advanced in two columns into Biafra.

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