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The Nigeria Civil War
(Ebije Obi)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR The Nigerian Civil War broke out on 6 July 1967. The war was the culmination of an uneasy peace and stability that had plagued the Nation from independence in 1960. This situation had its genesis in the geography, history, culture and demography of Nigeria.   The immediate cause of the civil war itself may be identified as the coup and the counter coup of 1966 which altered the political equation and destroyed the fragile trust existing among the major ethnic groups. As a means of holding the country together in the last result, the country was divided into twelve states from the original four regions in May 1967. The former Eastern Region under Lt. Col. Ojukwu saw the act of the creation of states by decree "without consultation" as the last straw, and declared the Region an independent state of "Biafra". The Federal Government in Lagos saw this as an act of secession and illegal. Several meetings were held to resolve the issue peacefully without success. To avoid disintegration of the country, the central government was left with only one choice of bringing back the Region to the main fold by force. The Federal side expected a quick victory while the Biafrans saw the war as that of survival and were ready to fight to the last man. By August 1967, the war had been extended to the Mid - Western Region by the Biafrans with the aim to relief pressure on the northern front and to threaten the Federal Capital, Lagos. Both sides employed Political, Diplomatic, Psychological and Military strategies to prosecute the war. By the end of April 1969, after almost two years of bloody and destructive war, the envisioned quick victory had eluded the Federal side, the rebel enclave had been drastically reduced in size but the Biafrans were still holding on. More peace conferences were held but none achieved a cease - fire and an end to the war. The Federals embarked on a strategic envelopment of the remaining Biafran enclave. By the Christmas of 1969, it was obvious that the end of the civil war was near. The self - acclaimed Head of State of Biafra, Lt. Col. Ojukwu, realizing the hopelessness of the situation fled the enclave with his immediate family members on the 10th of January 1970. The Commander of the Biafran Army who took over the administration of the remaining enclave surrendered to the Federal Government on 14th January 1970 bringing an end to the war, secessionist attempt and bloodshed. Several lessons were learnt from the war and these have helped in the unification, political, military and economical progress of the country. By Ebije Obi

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