Crisis And Civil War Events In Nigeria

Crisis and Civil War Events in Nigeria

  • Introduction

    The events of the Nigerian Civil War unfolded within 30 months, from July 1967 to January 1970. The war brought a large-scale humanitarian crisis to the Biafra region, resulting in between 1 and 3 million civilian deaths from hostilities, disease, and starvation (“Biafra War, ” 2016). The main opposing forces in the war were the rebel Ibo people and the forces of the newly established Federal Republic. One year before the war broke out, “a group of army officers, dominated by members of the Hausa tribe, overthrew a federal government led by Ibo officers” (Merriam, 1968, para. 4).

    The genocide of Ibos followed suit, and 30 to 40 thousand people were killed in anti-Ibo protests in the north of the country (Merriam, 1968). The unfolding events caused the Ibo government to ask for its people to return to the safe territory of the Eastern Region, where on May 30th, 1967, the local military governor Ojukwu proclaimed its independence as the Republic of Biafra (“Biafra War, ” 2016).

    Events of the Crisis

    The official reports place the beginning of the Nigerian Civil War on 6th July 1967, when the federal troops first approached Biafra (Nwanze, 2014). The two brigades were led by Lt. Col Shelpidi and Colonel Shuwa, who advanced from two different roads (Nwanze, 2014). Shuwa’s troops attempted to move into the city of Enugu, where they met with Biafran troops and failed to take hold of the city (Nwanze, 2014).

    The first brigade, led by Shelpidi, on the other hand, was successful in winning over Gakem, Obudu, and Ogoja (Nwanze, 2014). Over 7000 of rebel troops were under the command of Col. Victor Banjo, who ordered to split the forces Agbor (Nwanze, 2014). The plan was to for Lt. Col. Festus Akagha to secure the Midwestern region with part of the forces, moving west towards Benin; the other part of the forces, under the command of Major Humphrey Chukwuka, would head south, whereas the remaining troops, led by Lt. Col. Mike Inveso, were to move north to Auchi (Nwanze, 2014).

    The end goal was for the forces to reach Lagos, where the federal government resided, as well as to fight the Nigerian troops in the Eastern Region (Nwanze, 2014). On 8th August 1967, the rebels seized several strategic points in the Midwestern Region all within one day (“Biafra War, ” 2016). Another split was meant to occur in the Midwest, where “Akagha was meant to secure Benin with a portion of his troops, while Banjo would take the rest and head towards Lagos” (Nwanze, 2014, para. 7).

    However, due to the inner controversy, Banjo had to spend the next three weeks in Benin to oppose the appointment of Albert Okonkwo, an Igbo, as governor of the Republic of Benin (Nwanze, 2014). These three weeks were crucial to the development of the military conflict, as they gave the federal government the time to mobilize recruits into the armed forces and to plan the retaliation on the Biafran forces in the Midwest (“Biafra War, ” 2016).

    The unexpected attack in Ore caused the rebel forces to retreat to Benin (Nwanze, 2014). On their way, the troops killed and harassed the civilians, which turned the people of the Midwest against the Igbo forces (Nwanze, 2014). Residents began to assist the Nigerian forces, which gave the latter a significant strategic advantage (Nwanze, 2014). With the newly acquired support, the government was able to regain control of the Midwestern region, throwing the Biafrans back to the Eastern Region, while at the same time cutting off their access to the sea, surrounding the area (“Biafra War, ” 2016).

    The advancement of the Nigerian troops into the region, however, was significantly halted by the bridges that Biafrans destroyed on their way back; Murtala’s troops stopped at Asaba, where they initiated a massacre, killing over 800 men and boys (Nwanze, 2014). Nwanze (2014) states that this event prolonged the war: believing that they would fall victim to genocide, too, the rebel troops refused to cease fighting until more than two years later. On 17th October 1967, Nigerian troops went into Calabar, where they defeated the Biafran forces led by Major Ogbu Oji, causing them to surrender on October 20th, after several attempts to find support (Nwanze, 2014).

    In the meantime, in the american areas, troops underneath Murtala and Encolure. Shehu Yar’Adua surpassed the Niger Riv at Idah and even defeated Biafra’s 53 Brigade on typically the other side; that they continued to maneuver further into typically the region, which come in the Challenge for Onitsha in 20th March late 1960s (Nwanze, 2014). Beaten, the Biafran soldiers retreated to Nnewi on the twenty second March, leaving tools and weapons powering being seized by simply the federal soldiers (Nwanze, 2014).

    Yet , that they later retaliated using the Abagana Ambuscade, during which some sort of Nigerian convoy seemed to be attacked to damage equipment and challenge the authority involving Murtala, who seemed to be replaced by various other commanders (Nwanze, 2014). The invasion involving Port Harcourt throughout May 1968 induced the Biafrans to be able to retreat from typically the Cross River place and resulted inside of severe casualties in their side with the forces (Nwanze, 2014).

    By simply October, the disobey troops were placed further back, whilst they managed to rekindle Aba and carry 6, 500 Nigerian soldiers prisoner (Nwanze, 2014). At typically the same time, Ojukwu needed the ESTE to mediate tranquility negotiations between typically the two sides, although the call was basically rejected as typically the Nigerian government needed Biafra to cave in (“Biafra War, ” 2016). Another important point for equally sides was Umuahia, which fell thanks to the strain with the Federal pushes on April twenty-two, 1969 (Nwanze, 2014). Over time of stalemate, when “massive misery and disease took place in the very small Biafran enclave concentrated around Owerri” (Nwanze, 2014, para. 22).

    Typically the Battle for Owerri was one of many ultimate turning parts of typically the war: Col. Frederick Achuzia was grabbed by the Nigerian troops and Ojukwu was fled, causing Ufi to slide on January 14, 1970 (Nwanze, 2014). General Effiong, who had been left in command word, “called for the immediate, unconditional cease-fire January 12 and even submitted to typically the authority with the national government at services in Lagos” (“Biafra War, ” 2016, para. 15).


    The situations with the war left side the Eastern Place in poverty and even starvation. By typically the time the humanitarianrelief fund crisis became seen to the world, guys were already battling from severe undernourishment, the rise throughout infectious diseases, and even the overall break down of the place. The economy involving the region seemed to be almost destroyed by simply the military work; the people have been less than food, solutions, together nowhere to be able to live (“Biafra Warfare, ” 2016). Typically the crisis a new key effect on typically the lives of a lot of civilians and produced to light a lot of human rights concerns, which needed to be dealt with through global work.


    Biafra Warfare . (2016). Web.

    Merriam, John G. (1968). The musical legacy of the Biafran War . Typically the Harvard Crimson . Web.

    Nwanze, C. (2014). Chronology of typically the Nigerian Civil Warfare

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