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Ojukwu Did Not Start The Biafran War, See Who Caused The Biafran War (Details below)

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The Nigerian Civil War was a civil war fought from 6 July 1967 to 15 January 1960 between the government of Nigeria headed by General Yakubu Gowon and the state of Biafra led by Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu. Biafra protected the national interests of the Igbos whose leaders thought they could no longer be part of the Northern dominated federal government.

The disagreement came from political, ethnic, economic, cultural and religious pressure which happened after Britain’ s formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. The main causes of the war in 1966 were ethno religious brutality and anti Igbo pogroms in northern part of Nigeria, a military coup, a counter- coup and persecution of Igbo living in northern Nigeria. The war to control over the lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta also played a vital strategic role.

Barely a year, the troops from the Federal Government surrounded Biafra, capturing coastal oil facilities and the city of Port Harcourt. In the course of the war which lasted for two and half years, more than 100, 000 overall military casualties was recorded while over 3 million Biafran civilians died due to starvation.

The main supporters of the Nigerian government were the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union while the main supporters of Biafra was France, Israel and some other countries. John Lennon returned his MBE medal to the Queen on 25 November 1969 in protest of Britain’ s involvement with the war in Biafra.

The situation became more tensed due to the high number of displaced persons in the eastern Nigeria. Serious peace talks took place between Odemugwu who represented the eastern Nigeria and Gowon who represented the Federal military government of Nigeria. In peace accord finally signed at Aburi in Ghana popularly known as the Aburi Accord, the two parties came to an agreement that a looser Nigerian federation would be implemented.

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Revoking the Aburi Accord, Gowon declared the division of Nigeria into twelve states on 27 May 1967. This decree divided the eastern region into three parts which were the South Eastern State, Rivers State, and East Central State. The decree saw the Igbos concentrating in the East Central State and lose control over most of the petroleum, located in the other two areas.

Ojukwu declared independence of the Republic of Biafra on 30 May 1967.


Due to its desire to preserve the nation it had created, Britain supplied huge amount of heavy weapons and ammunition to the Nigerian army while the Biafran side got arms and ammunition from France though the government of France denied supporting Biafra. On 20 November 1968, an article in Paris Match revealed that French arms were reaching Biafra through neighbouring countries like Gabon. The huge supply of arms and ammunitions by Britain was the biggest factor in determining the outcome of the war.

As 1967, the Nigerian Army in was completely unready for war. The Army had no experience or training of war on the operational level because it was still primarily an internal security force. Majority of the officers of the Nigerian army were more concerned about their social lives than military training and they spent a good amount of their time on hunting, partying, drinking and playing games. Officers devoteeld a reasonable amount of time to ensure their uniforms were always neat as social status in the Army was extremely important to them.

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There was a competition among officers to own the most expensive homes and automobiles.


The purges carried out in the course of the two coups of 1966 had eliminated most of the Sandhurst graduates and as at July 1966 all of the officers with the rank above colonel had been either discharged or murdered while only 5 officers holding the rank of lieutenant colonel were still on duty and alive. After 1960 almost all the junior officers were commissioned and most of them depended heavily on the more experienced Non Commissioned Officers to provide the necessary leadership.

The same problems that the Federal Army suffered also inflicted the Biafran Army even more because their officer corps were based around former Federal Igbo officers. The lack of more experienced officers was a major setback for the Biafran Army and it became worse by an atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion within Biafra as Ojukwu believed that other former Federal officers were plotting against him.

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