[151], Economically, France gained incentives through oil drilling contracts for the Société Anonyme Française de Recherches et d'Exploitation de Pétrolières (SAFRAP), apparently arranged with Eastern Nigeria in advance of its secession from the Nigerian Federation. With special reference to the Asaba Massacre, Emma Okocha described the killings as "the first black-on-black genocide". Eurasia, Middle [173] In August 1968, the Israeli Air Force overtly sent twelve tons of food aid to a nearby site outside of Nigerian (Biafran) air space. This effectively separated the core Yoruba group from the minorities. 303–304. In the Rivers area, ethnic minorities sympathetic to Biafra were killed in the hundreds by federal troops. Georges Pompidou re-hired Foccart and resumed support for Biafra, including cooperation with the South African secret service to import more weapons. Gowon's advisers, to the contrary, felt that he had enacted as much as was politically feasible in fulfillment of the spirit of Aburi. [104] Forced to choose a side, Shell-BP and the British government threw in their lot with the Federal Government in Lagos, apparently calculating that this side would be more likely to win the war. The Federal Government would be much better placed both internationally and internally. 304–305. This embargo did not involve oil tankers. [184] More common was the claim that the arms-carrying aircraft would closely shadow aid aircraft, making it more difficult to distinguish between aid aircraft and military supply aircraft. [101] When Shell-BP acquiesced to this request at the end of June, the Federal Government extended its blockade to include oil. "The French policy may be described as anti-British, anti-Nigerian and pr-Biafra. Foreign Affairs [76], In addition to Shell-BP, the British reaped profits from mining and commerce. The Northern bloc found this decree intolerable. People from other regions were quick to take over any house owned by an Igbo, especially in the Port Harcourt area. "Between May and September 1966, northerners murdered between 80,000 and 100,000 Igbos and other easterners resident in the Northern Region. CFR Blog, “Africa in Transition” [138] It continued to quietly support Nigeria through the rest of the war, in one case advancing a royalty of £5.5 million to fund the purchase of more British weapons.[139]. O'Sullivan, "Humanitarian Encounters" (2014), pp. The first prime minister of Nigeria, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was a northerner and co-founder of the Northern People's Congress. There was widespread suspicion that the Igbo coup plotters had tipped him and other Igbo leaders off regarding the impending coup. [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. The conflict has been primarily contained in the Muslim north, particularly in Borno state, but has displaced millions of people in the region. The Nigerian Civil War (also known as the Biafran War, Biafran Genocide and the Nigerian-Biafran War) was a civil war in Nigeria fought between the government of Nigeria headed by General Yakubu Gowon and the secessionist state of Biafra led by late Lt. During the war, Britain covertly supplied Nigeria with weapons and military intelligence and may have also helped it to hire mercenaries. 17 July – Knesset debates Israeli moral obligations toward Biafran genocide. CFR Blog, "Africa in Transition" December 13, 2017, Detainees Suspected of Ties to Boko Haram Begin Secret Trials, John Campbell The secessionist state was turned into a landlocked enclave. O'Sullivan, "Humanitarian Encounters" (2014), p. 302. Ojukwu had to deal with an influx to the east of between 700,000 and two million refugees. With Southern Nigeria virtually split into two, the North, which was now by far the largest region, had the upper hand. [169], Israel did not begin arms sales to Nigeria until after Aguyi-Ironsi came to power on 17 January 1966. A Commission led by Jeremy Raisman and Ronald Tress determined that resource royalties would now enter a "Distributable Pools Account" with the money split between different parts of government (50% to region of origin, 20% to federal government, 30% to other regions). Although France has leaned toward Biafra, SAFRAP has vast exploration rights in the Northern Region; this might have prevented France giving Biafra political recognition. [192][193], Media and public relations played a central role in the war, due to their influence on morale at home and the dynamics of international involvement. [100], On 27 May 1967, Gowon proclaimed the division of Nigeria into twelve states. The renowned scholar said this while commenting on the security challenges in the country. This analogy, combined with the genocide charge, was used by the leadership to secure the support of the population, and to build loyalty to Biafra by emphasising the threat from a common enemy. During the ensuing years, the Northern Emirs maintained their traditional political and religious institutions, while reinforcing their social structure. These moves represented a significant diplomatic success given the Muslim orientation of the northern-dominated government. Their intention was to dismantle the Northern-dominated power structure but their efforts to take power was unsuccessful. [citation needed], When this happened, Ojukwu regarded it as both a failure by Gowon to keep to the spirit of the Aburi agreement and lack of integrity on the side of the Nigerian Military Government in the negotiations toward a united Nigeria. [123] Ojukwu did not trust the majority of the former Federal Igbo officers who had rallied to Biafra and saw them as potential rivals, thus leading to murderous purges that led to most of them being executed. Task Force Program, About 2. 1st brigade advanced 1 Brigade advanced on the axis Ogugu - Ogunga - Nsukka road while 2nd Brigade advanced on axis Gakem -Obudu - Ogoja road. Heerten & Moses, "The Nigeria–Biafra War" (2014), p. 176. The Forgotten Victims: Ethnic Minorities in the Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967-1970, Heerten & Moses, "The Nigeria–Biafra War" (2014), p. 187. p.152, Akpan, Ntieyong U. July 9, 2019, Returning From the Land of Jihad: The Fate of Women Who Lived with Boko Haram, Azadeh Moaveni Kouchner and the other French doctors signed this agreement. The very few U.S. personnel deployed to Nigeria are not there in a combat role, and they never cruise dating sites looking for “love”. Lauren Ploch Blanchard and Tomas F. Husted, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Ryan Lenora Brown and Ismail Alfa Abdulrahim, Drew Hinshaw, Joe Parkinson, and Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin, Hilary Matfess, Peter M. Lewis, and Nathaniel D. F. Allen, Diplomacy [38], Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, with a population of 60 million, made up of more than 300 differing ethnic and cultural groups. [176] In the spring of 1969, the Nigerians replaced the Egyptian pilots with East German pilots who proved to be considerably more competent. Huts and sheds are seen at the Gamboru/Ngala internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Borno, Nigeria on April 27, 2017. 114–115. Where Exactly is the Islamic State in West Africa? 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. "Capitol Gains: How Foreign Military Intervention and the Elite Quest for International Recognition Cause Mass Killing in New States". He says that the SDECE gave the French press precise information about Biafran casualties and civilian losses, and that. 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]. Anti-piracy War: UN Applauds Nigeria’s Leadership Role; Yobe Farmers, Herders Clashed Over Pastures, Farm Produce; Lawan Begins Vaccination Of 1m Livestock Against CBPP, PPR; Rising Insecurity: Group Urges Buhari to Sack Service Chiefs, Says Time For Decisive Action Is Now; FG Reduces Price of Petrol to N162.44 per litre [59] The size of this intellectual class increased significantly in the 1950s, with the massive expansion of the national education program. The coup, despite its failures, was widely seen as primarily benefiting the Igbo peoples as the plotters received no repercussions for their actions and no significant Igbo political leaders were affected. Borno is a war front and civilians can not be left in the crossfire till the situation is solved. He was warned by his advisers that this reflected a failure of Gowon to understand the difference and, that being the case, predicted that it would be reneged upon. 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. "[154] Biafra, for its part, openly appreciated its relationship with France. January 14, 2016, Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa, Paul D. Williams [202] The pro-Biafra British journalist Frederick Forsyth started covering the war in the summer of 1967 for the BBC, became angry at the pro-Nigeria stance of the British government and resigned in protest in September 1967. May 5, 2016, Boko Haram Resurgence in Northeast Nigeria, John Campbell They were released a little more than a month later. The division was led mostly by northern officers. On 30 May 1967, Ojukwu declared independence and renamed the entire Eastern Region 'the Republic of Biafra'. The violence reached a climax with the massacres of 29 September 1966 ('Black Thursday'). "Furthermore, once the war broke out and the British government decided to back the Nigerian side, the BBC swiftly shifted its reporting on the conflict, in Nigeria's favour. NY: Putnam, p. 176, Farran, Roy. [79] Before 1948, the British did not allow Nigerians to be awarded officers' commissions, and only in 1948 were certain promising Nigerian recruits allowed to attend Sandhurst for officer training while at the same time Nigerian NCOs were allowed to be promote up to be officers if they completed a course in officer training at Mons Hall or Eaton Hall in England. [67] The new constitution of 1946 also proclaimed that "The entire property in and control of all mineral oils, in, under, or upon any lands, in Nigeria, and of all rivers, streams, and watercourses throughout Nigeria, is and shall be vested in, the Crown. [38], The basis of modern Nigeria formed in 1914, when Britain amalgamated the Northern and Southern protectorates. ", Graham-Douglas, Ojukwu’s Rebellion, p. 17. 30 May – Ojukwu declares independence of Republic of Biafra. His Biafran Air Force consisted of three Swedes: von Rosen, Gunnar Haglund and Martin Lang. He will require all the international help and recognition he can get. [38] Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Igbo people, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the Northern-dominated federal government. [145][150] To some extent, also, France repeated its earlier policy from the Congo Crisis, when it supported the secession of the southern mining province Katanga. Some alleged, mostly from Eastern part of Nigeria, that the majors sought to spring Action Group leader Obafemi Awolowo out of jail and make him head of the new government. The Hausa-Fulani commoners, having contact with the political system only through a village head designated by the Emir or one of his subordinates, did not view political leaders as amenable to influence. CFR Council Special Report Africa. Covertly, Mossad provided Biafra with $100,000 (through Zurich) and attempted an arms shipment. [80] Despite the reforms, only an average of 2 Nigerians per year were awarded officers' commissions between 1948–55 and only 7 per year from 1955-1960. In 1960 Britain allowed the creation of an Israeli diplomatic mission in Lagos, and Israel made a $10 million loan to the Nigerian government. De Gaulle was very reluctant to send weapons from French stocks, and only agreed when Foccart suggested sending captured German and Italian weapons from World War II with the serial number scratched off. "By September 1966, an open arms race had developed between the East and the Federal Government. However, according to one rabbi, who said he was close to the family, the student believed that "no one was listening." [105][179] Biafra hired the New York public relations firm of Ruder and Finn to lobby American public opinion. In the end though, the majors were not in the position to embark on this political goal. Two-fifths of all Nigerian oil ended up in Britain. Beginning with the Northern Protectorate, the British implemented a system of indirect rule of which they exerted influence through alliances with local forces. [49] The Igbo had been substantially victimized in the Atlantic slave trade; in the year 1790 it was reported that of 20,000 people sold each year from Bonny, 16,000 were Igbo. 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. This was noticed and thankfully acknowledged by the Nigerian government.". Heerten & Moses, "The Nigeria–Biafra War" (2014), pp. "De Gaulle made the decision to begin regular French arms shipments to Biafra on 17 or 18 October 1967. Israel also developed a cultural relation with the Igbos based on possible shared traditions. June 21, 2019. August 23, 2016, The Wives of Boko Haram: The Women Who Willingly Married Militants, Hilary Matfess Apart from direct arms supplies, it provided military intelligence to the Nigerian government and may have helped it to access sophisticated arms and mercenaries through third parties. The Nigerian Army had no training or experience of war on the operational level, still being primarily an internal security force. Interim president Alain Poher fired General Jacques Foccart, the lead coordinator of France's Africa policy. In the international press, Igbo refugee camps were compared to Nazi extermination camps. Despite the prospects for Eastern Region oil, the civil war made the source unreliable. [212] On 25 November 1969, John Lennon returned the MBE he had awarded by Queen Elizabeth II in 1964 in protest against British support for Nigeria. Once again we have an opportunity to build a new nation. "The Nigerian government subsequently made it explicit to Shell-BP that it expected the company to pay the outstanding oil royalty immediately. [226] This brand was widely feared, as it generally resulted in death by the Biafran forces or even mobs. Soon after, de Gaulle terminated arms shipments, then resigned on 27 April 1969. "The FMG's major strategic advantage was not its military force, but its diplomatic status: internationally recognised statehood. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo and loyalist head of the Nigerian Army, suppressed coup operations in the South and he was declared head of state on 16 January after the surrender of the majors.[38]. [183] Nigeria deployed foreign aircraft, in the form of Soviet MiG 17 and Il 28 bombers. Campus. This system worked so well, Colonial Governor Frederick Lugard successfully lobbied to extend it to the Southern Protectorate through amalgamation. [56], On 29 May 1969, Bruce Mayrock, a student at Columbia University, set himself ablaze at the premises of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, to protest the genocide against the nation and people of Biafra. No one was ever held responsible for these killings. Levey, Zach. [98], The Federal Military Government also laid the groundwork for the economic blockade of the Eastern Region which went into full effect in 1967. The Nigerian military—with assistance from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger—has pushed Boko Haram out of several provinces in northeastern Nigeria, but the group retains control over some villages and pockets of territory and continues to launch deadly suicide attacks and abduct civilians, mostly women and children. I conclude, therefore, if the company does change its mind and asks the British Government for advice, the best that could be given is for it to clamber hastily back on the Lagos side of the fence with cheque book at the ready. In 1968, the USSR agreed to finance the Kainji Dam on the Niger (somewhat upriver from the Delta). [117] From the summer of 1967 to the spring of 1969, the Federal Army grew from a force of 7, 000 to a force of 200, 000 men organised in three divisions. [108] Nigerian soldiers under Murtala Mohammed carried out a mass killing of 700 civilians when they captured Asaba on the River Niger. A Nigerian army convoy vehicle drives ahead with an anti-aircraft gun on its way to Bama, Borno, Nigeria on August 31, 2016. These oilworks, under the control of Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company (jointly owned by Shell and British Petroleum), controlled 84% of Nigeria's 580,000 barrels per day. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the level of disunity in the country, is now worse than what was experienced during the civil war. (2nd ed.). "In Britain humanitarianism became a vessel through which society could construct a new sense of national purpose; it amounted, in essence, to a benign re-imagining of imperial compassion for a postcolonial world. The government following independence promotes discord in the West with the creation of a new Mid-Western Region in an area with oil potential. ", British system of colonial rule in Nigeria, National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage, Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, "The Literary Magazine - the Biafra War and the Age of Pestilence by Herbert Ekwe Ekwe", "Israel, Nigeria and the Biafra Civil War, 1967–1970", "The Biafran War, Nigerian History, Nigerian Civil War", "Biafran Airlift: Israel’s Secret Mission to Save Lives. [157] In July the government redoubled its efforts to involve the public in a humanitarian approach to the conflict. After the publication of images of starving Biafran children in the western media, analogies and comparisons with the Holocaust abounded internationally. Reconstruction, helped by the oil money, was swift; however, the old ethnic and religious tensions remained a constant feature of Nigerian politics. [124] Barua wrote that Ojukwu's leadership, especially his frequent executions of his own officers had a "disastrous impact" on the morale of the Biafran officer corps. At the same time, this territory had to absorb increasing numbers of people fleeing federal offensives. Britain subsequently decided to back Nigeria, partly because it was advised that, in the event of war, the odds were 'slightly in favour of the Federal Military Government'. Accusations were made of Nigerian government officials diverting resources meant for reconstruction in the former Biafran areas to their ethnic areas. Heerten & Moses, "The Nigeria–Biafra War" (2014), p. 177. They had a lively awareness of the political system and regarded it as an instrument for achieving their personal goals. Heerten & Moses, "The Nigeria–Biafra War" (2014), p. 177. "The 31 July 1938 statement in favour of Biafra was preceded by a concerted campaign in the French press during the month of July to inform the French public about events in Biafra. Strategically, its interests aligned with the Federal Military Government, although there was considerable popular sentiment in support of Biafra. They formed le Comité de Lutte contre le Génocide au Biafra which in 1971 became Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). online: Routledge. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which preceded Britain's formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. The Knesset publicly debated this issue on 17 and 22 July 1968, winning applause from the press for its sensitivity. The Fight Against Nigeria's Northeast Terrorism is Also a Battle Against Climate Change, Alicia Prager and Simpa Samson Banjo, a Yoruba, with the Biafran rank of brigadier. Uche, "Oil, British Interests and the Nigerian Civil War" (2008), pp. [51][116] The Nigerian soldiers who were supposed to defend the Mid-West state were mostly Mid-West Igbo and, while some were in touch with their eastern counterparts, others resisted. The deaths of more than a million people in Nigeria as a result of the brutal civil war which ended exactly 50 years ago are a scar on the nation's history. [citation needed], This incident caused an international uproar. October 2, 2018, In Areas Displaced by Boko Haram, The Lure of Home Comes With Risk, Ryan Lenora Brown and Ismail Alfa Abdulrahim The Biafrans came under immediate fire from the water and the air. This reasoning was also extended to Igbo-owned properties and houses. Claims of electoral fraud were one of the reasons given by the coup plotters. Apart from Ifeajuna who fled the country after the collapse of their coup, the other two January Majors, and the rest of the military officers involved in the revolt, later surrendered to the loyalist High Command and were subsequently detained as a federal investigation of the event began. Interestingly, the new Mid-Western Region, dominated by minorities also had prospects for oil exploration.". [119] By 1969, the Biafrans were to field 90, 000 formed into 5 undermanned divisions together with a number of independent units. Major General W.A. [184], The September massacres and subsequent Igbo withdrawal from northern Nigeria was the basis for the initial human rights petition to the UN to end genocide and provided a historical link to Biafran claims of genocide during the Nigerian civil war. Congressional Research Service [38], It seems that Gowon immediately faced not only a potential standoff with the East, but secession threats from the Northern and even the Western region. [160], The United States officially declared neutrality, with US Secretary of State Dean Rusk stating that "America is not in a position to take action as Nigeria is an area under British influence". They made up the first classes of African civil servants, doctors, lawyers, and other technicians and professionals. [168] In its first major statement on the war in September 1968, the New China Press Agency stated the People's Republic of China fully supported the justified struggle for liberation of the people of Biafra against the Nigerian government supported by "Anglo-American imperialism and Soviet revisionism". Before the war, the Soviets had seemed sympathetic to the Igbos. Read all the latest news, breaking stories, top headlines, opinion, pictures and videos from Nigeria and the world on today.ng [...] Nigeria's secured diplomatic status was also crucial for the most significant development in the war's early stages: the FMG's decision to blockade the secessionist state. Following negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government, brokered by the International Committee for the Red Cross, 103 girls have since been released. 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. The Soviet Union chose pragmatism, in the form of alignment with federal Nigeria, over the ideological (if not idealist) alternative of support for Biafra. [225] Great suspicion was directed towards ethnic minorities and opponents of Biafra, with 'combing' exercises conducted to sift these communities for saboteurs, or 'sabo,' as they were commonly branded. Where the British public used humanitarianism to negotiate the shift from formal empire to responsible power, the changing role of Irish Catholic missionaries reflected the need to re-articulate the Irish 'spiritual empire' for this new world. ", O'Sullivan, "Humanitarian Encounters" (2014), pp. May 24, 2019, Beware of Early Announcements for Nigeria's Election, John Campbell CFR Blog, “Africa in Transition” Milroy was joined by two other Canadian officers in 1968, and the Canadian contingent remained until February 1970. This was seen as a deliberate policy to hold back the Igbo middle class, leaving them with little wealth to expand their business interests. The blockade imposed during the ensuing stalemate led to mass starvation. [203], In Israel, the Holocaust comparison was promoted, as was the theme of threat from hostile Muslim neighbors. Starting in October 1967, there were also direct Czech arms flights, by a network of pilots led by Jack Malloch, a Rhodesian in contact with Houphouët-Boigny and Mauricheau-Beupré.". Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja Afenifere Chairman, Reuben Fasoranti, has lamented the high level of insecurity in the country, adding that Nigeria is now at war. 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