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#FlashBack: The Untold Story of Nigeria's Civil War - BIAFRA

Secret American diplomatic dispatches, spread over 21,000 pages, have provided previously unknown information about the Nigerian Civil War
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 At a young hour in the morning of 1 July 1967, Nigeria's young head of state, Colonel Yakubu Gowon, was feeling uneasy in his office at the Supreme Headquarters, Dodan Barracks in Lagos. The unease was a consequence of his being perpetually influenced to approve a military attack of the breakaway Republic of Biafra. 

Thirty officers had been reviewed from courses abroad. Prepares and truck guards, bearing fuel, supplies and men, were all the while leaving Kano and Kaduna for the south of River Benue. 

Colonel Mohammed Shuwa of the First Area Command had moved his summon base camp southwards and set it up in Makurdi. The second Battalion was at that point headquartered in Adikpo. Schools and private homes had been secured for the utilization of Major Sule Apollo and his fourth Battalion in Oturkpo. They were tingling for activity. That day, Major B.M. Usman "an individual from the personal northern gathering around Gowon" told the American safeguard attaché: "I don't recognize what in damnation he is sitting tight for; the young men are largely prepared to go. They are just waiting on his assertion." 

Individuals from the Supreme Military Council, who had been meeting twice every day, were sitting tight for his statement. The entire country was holding up. Biafra, which was on high ready, was additionally holding up. 

On 27 June 1967, Cyprian Ekwensi, well known author and Biafra's Director of Information Service, through the Voice of Biafra (once in the past Enugu Radio), asked Biafrans to be set up for an attack on June 29 since "Northerners have frequently struck on 29th day of the month." He was insinuating the day northern officers, drove by Major T.Y. Danjuma, grabbed Gowon's ancestor, Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi, and executed him in a woods outside Ibadan. 

Gowon, at that point 31, had been running the illicit relationships of 57million Nigerians for 10 months. It had not been simple. Boss Obafemi Awolowo, his 58-year old put stock in representative and consultant, was with Okoi Arikpo and Philip Asiodu, changeless secretaries of the services of External Affairs and Trade and Industries separately. 

They were getting ready to put the noose on the neck of the Anglo-Dutch oil mammoth, Shell-BP, which had solidified eminence installments because of the Federation Account on 1 June 1967 and had offered to pay the Biafran government £250,000. 

Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu, Biafran pioneer, had requested all oil organizations to begin paying all sovereignties to Enugu on the grounds that they were working in another nation or hazard overwhelming punishments. 

In particular, he requested at least £2million from Shell-BP. The Federal Government had forced a financial barricade on Biafra. It involved notwithstanding all trader vessels and ocean tankers from cruising to and from Koko, Warri, Sapele, Escravos, Bonny, Port Harcourt, Calabar ports, which Ojukwu had pronounced an integral part of Biafra. 

Biafra controlled the arrive on which the oil establishments sat; the Nigerian government controlled the waterfront passage and exit to those terrains. Shell-BP was befuddled as to whose request ought to be complied. Sir David Hunt, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, told his American partner after the meeting with the Nigerian assignment: "Awolowo is solidly responsible for Ministry of Finance and he is giving Stanley Gray, Shell's General Manager and different specialists from London an extremely troublesome time for as far back as three days." They influenced Awolowo to acknowledge an arrangement that would support the Nigerian government and, in the meantime, would incline oil laborers and the £150million speculation to threat in the hands of Biafran military powers. Awolowo can't, contending that anything shy of the present state of affairs was acknowledgment of Biafra and admission to the dissidents. Concerning security of ventures and work force, he contended that once sovereignties were paid, the Nigerian government would have the ability to subsidize whatever move it would make on the agitators and Shell-BP's speculations would be sheltered. 

Gowon paced to the huge obsolete guide of the nation by the way to his office. When he requested that Awolowo come and join his administration, Awolowo said he would acknowledge just if Gowon took care of the predominance of North finished whatever is left of the country. A month prior, Gowon had separated the North into six states, yet the guide by the entryway still demonstrated the old Nigeria, with a forcing North at the best. He ran his finger around the limits of Biafra and asked himself: "How might I approve my very own intrusion individuals?" He comprehended what it intended to be hated. He was not the most senior officer in the armed force. He was not a Muslim Hausa or Fulani from Kano, Kaduna or Sokoto. He was a Christian from one of the little minorities that dab the North but, occasions had elevated him to the position of the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief– to the mortification of numerous northern officers, government officials, and emirs. 

He knew the Igbo were loathed in the North to succeed where indigenes had fizzled. His Igbo darling, Edith Ike, revealed to him her life was debilitated twice in Lagos since she came back from the North in March. 

As per the mystery US report of 1 July 1967, Edith's folks, having lived in the North for a long time, where she too was conceived, had fled back toward the East in October 1966 as a result of that year's slaughter of the Igbo. Not 30,000 but rather around 7,000 were murdered, as indicated by the American archives. Donald Patterson of the Political Section and Tom Smith of the Economic Section went from the US Embassy in Lagos toward the North after the massacre. "The Sabon-Garis were phantom towns, betrayed, with the garbage of individuals, who had fled quickly, deserted. Most Northerners we conversed with had no statements of regret for what had happened to the Ibos, for the massacre that had slaughtered such a large number of. There were special cases, however by and large, there was no regret and the inclination was one of no love lost. 

"One day, our Hausa planter assaulted and attempted to thump our Ibo cook. We let go the plant specialist, however not long a short time later, the cook left for the East," said Patterson. 

Prior that week, Gowon called the West German Ambassador in Lagos. The Germans were anxious to be in the great graces of the Gowon organization. A war lingered. Also, in wars, structures, streets, spans, and other framework are pulverized. These would require reconstructing. The agreement for the second Mainland Bridge (later called Eko Bridge) was marked two years sooner by the Ambassador, CEO of Julius Berger Tiefbau AG and Shehu Shagari, Federal Commissioner for Works and Survey. That was Julius Berger's first contract in Nigeria. It was expected for finishing in under two years and they needed more respective participation. The envoy guaranteed Gowon via telephone that he had dealt with every one of the points of interest and ensured the security of Edith, the country's "First Girlfriend". 

On the night of 30 June, just before her takeoff on a business carrier, Edith told the American Defense Attaché Standish Brooks, and his better half, Gail, that she really needed to go to the UK or USA, however Jack, as she tenderly called Gowon, demanded that she could be presented to threat in both of the two nations. Germany, he contemplated, would be more secure. 

To Major B.M. Usman and other northern officers around Gowon, who had credited his ease back reaction to the withdrawal to the way that his sweetheart was Igbo and that her folks were resettled in the East, it was such a gigantic help, to the point that at the Supreme Military Council meeting of 3 July 1967, Gowon approved the hotly anticipated military crusade. 

Edith had securely arrived in West Germany. Gowon told the social event: "Honorable men, we will squash the disobedience, however take note of that we are pursuing the renegades, not the Ibos." The military activity, which was to wind up plainly the Nigerian Civil War or the Biafran War or Operation Unicord, as it was coded in military circles, formally began on 6 July 1967 at 5 a.m. 

The North was disapproved to utilize the war as an instrument to reassert its predominance of national undertakings. Mallam Kagu, Damboa, Regional Editor of the Morning Post, told the American diplomat in Kaduna: "Nobody should kid himself this is a battle between the East and whatever is left of Nigeria. It is a battle between the North and the Ibo." He included that the dissidents would be flushed out of Enugu inside a month and a half. Lt. Colonel Hassan Katsina ran further to state with the level of excitement among the officers; it would involve "just hours previously Ojukwu and his men were gathered together". 

The northern segment of the Nigerian military was the best prepared in the nation. To guarantee the locale's proceeded with predominance, the British doled out the greater part of the armed force and flying corps assets toward the North. It was just the Navy's they couldn't exchange. All the world class military schools were there. The base camp of the infantry and cannons corps were there. Kaduna alone was home to the central station of the first Division of the Nigerian Army, Defense Industries Corporation of Nigeria (Army Depot), Air Force Training School and, Nigerian Defense Academy. 

Maitama Sule, Minister of Mines and Power in 1966, once recounted the narrative of how Muhammadu Ribadu, his partner in Defense Ministry, went to the Nigerian Military School, Zaria, and the British Commandant of the school disclosed to him a significant number of the understudies couldn't proceed in light of the fact that they bombed woefully. At the point when Ribadu looked over the rundown, Sule stated, it was a Mohammed, an Ibrahim, a Yusuf or an Abdullahi. "You don't comprehend what you are doing and in view of this you can't keep on heading the school," a furious Ribadu was said to have told the commandant. 

Shehu Musa Yar'Adua was one of the understudies for whom the commandant was sacked. "You can perceive what Yar'Adua later progressed toward becoming in life. He turned into the VP. This is the energy of forward arranging," Sule proclaimed. 

Obscure to the forward organizers, as per the US reports, Ojukwu had been fastidiously getting ready for war as ahead of schedule as October 1966, after the second round of slaughter in the North. He had ceased the Ea

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