As Nigeria celebrates the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, a day set aside to celebrate the country’s fallen heroes, it is appropriate to take a brief look into the civil war which is one of the trying times in the country’s history.
Here are ten things you should know about the civil war.
1. The Nigerian civil war otherwise known as Biafra war was fought from 1967 to 1970 and between the forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the forces of Biafra which seceded from Nigeria.
2. General Yakubu Gowon was Nigeria’s Head of State at the time while late Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu was the leader of the breakaway Biafra after serving as the military governor of the Eastern Region of Nigeria in 1966.
3. The civil war resulted from ethnic, economic, religious and political tensions that forced the Igbo ethnic group, a majority tribe in the Eastern Region, to announce secession from Nigeria.
4. An anti-Igbo pogrom in Northern Nigeria was followed by a military coup and a counter military coup leading to the secession of the Eastern Region.
5. The war began on July 6 1967, with the Nigerian forces advancing to reclaim the Eastern Region which by then was already identifying itself as Biafra.
6. The Biafran forces also launched an offensive against Nigeria but were stopped at Ore in Ondo State where they suffered a major loss.
7. Asides from the use of military force, Nigeria was able to win the war due to the policies implemented by the Ministry of Finance led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
8. The foreign players in the civil war include China, the Soviet Union, Israel, France, Egypt, Canada and the United States.
9. Biafra surrendered on January 15, 1970, and was reintegrated into the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
10. The region which was identified as the Eastern Region of Nigeria before becoming Biafra has since been split into two – the South-East and the South-South.