The Biafran war which is popularly known to most Nigerians and some non-Nigerians through historical antecedent was a civil war fought in Nigeria between the government of Nigeria which was led by Yakubu Gowon and the Secessionist State Biafra headed by Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu on the 6th of July 1967 to 15th of January 1970.
Biafra stood for the nationalists aspirations of the people of Igbo, whose leadership thought it wise that they could no longer co-exist with the federal government. The war sprouted as a result of political, economic and religious tensions that preceded Britain’s formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963.
The remote cause of the war was the ethno religious violence as well as anti-Igbo pogroms of in the Northern Nigeria. Coup d’état, a counter coup and a vigorous persecution of the Igbos living in the Northern Nigeria formed part of the immediate causes of the war of which the Niger Delta played a massive role. Before the war, the military coup in 1966 of which Maj Nzeogwu begun made Belewu and other people to lose their lives. There was a counter coup which led Gowon to also take the lives of Aguiyi, Leonsi, Fagusi and others. Most of the Igbos were persecuted and forced to leave their homes of which several of them were killed in a very disturbing circumstances mostly on their way home.
According to school of thoughts, the coup in 1966 came about as a result of corruption amongst the civilian ruling class which influenced the military to organize coup. Other school of thoughts implied that, the control of oil production in the Niger Delta was a major factor to the coup.
In May 1967, the federal government divided the country into twelve states from the actual four regions, but the former eastern region under Lt. Col. Ojukwu saw the act of the creation of state by decree with consultation as the last straw, and declared the region as Biafra. As soon as the war begun, the Federal Military Government of Nigeria led by Yakubu Gowon surrounded the Biafra territory and captured the oil-rich costal areas. The blockade imposed during the war led to a serious famine to the extent that within the two and a half years war, 100,000 militariats died and over two million civilians died of starvation which was a deliberate policy the Nigerians adopted to bring the people on the Biafran’s side to their knees. Britain and the Soviet Union engaged in the war by backing and supporting the Nigerians. Biafra on the other hand was being supported France and two other other countries.
On the 6th July 1976, the Nigerian Federal troops marched in two divisions into Biafra. Col. Shuwa led the first division which operated through the north Biafra. The second division progressed on Nsukka which later fell.
On the 9th of July, the Biafran’s led by Lt. Col Banju retaliated by marching into the mid-western region of Nigeria across Niger river passing through the City of Benin and stepped at the Ore on August 21st.
The Nigerian federal forces released their very last offensive towards the Biafrans on December 23, 1969 with a chief thrust through the third Marine Commando Division (the department become commanded with the aid of using Col. Obasanjo, who later become president twice) which succeeded in splitting the Biafran enclave into via way of means of the cease of the year. The very last Nigerian offensive, named “Operation Tail-Wind,” changed into released on January 7, 1970 with the third Marine Commando Division attacking, and supported through the first Infantry department to the north and the 2d Infantry department to the south.
The Biafran city of Owerri fell on January 9, and Uli fell on January 11. The conflict in the end, ended with the very last give up of the Biafran forces withinside the final Biafra-held city of Amichi on January 13, 1970. Only some days earlier, Ojukwu fled into exile through flying through aircraft to the republic of Côte d’Ivoire, leaving his deputy Philip Effiong to address the info of the give up to Yakubu Gowon of the federal army