The story of Pa Dike Timothy by his son Dike Chukwudi of the aftermath of a devasted war in southeast Nigeria will always bring a sad reflection on what was, during this era. To some, it was untold stories, the sound of guns, the rumors of war, a discovered army boot, an old photo frame, a wound, a grave, or just a memory. But for Pa Dike Timothy Omemgbeoji, it was a lost gun he hid in his plot of land before the fall of Mbaise in 1970, excavated during the construction of his house. On this day 14/01/2018 he found a gun he buried then as a Biafran gorilla warrior. He trekked from Delta state to his hometown in fear of Nigerian soldiers who moved from house to house in search of Biafra materials, and weapons, killing or amputating any Biafran soldier found. Pa Omemgbeoji buried his gun and other materials in the middle of the night after his hometown Mbaise was conquered before he fled. On returning he was unable to dictate where he had buried his possessions until 47 years later. I can only imagine the kind of memories that flashed back to him the moment he set his eyes on this gun. He shaded tears and began narrating the ever-sad story of this war to his children. Brave warrior Dike Timothy Omemgbeoji, we salute you, sir!
History Of the Biafra War
The Biafra war began on July 6, 1967, when Nigerian troops crossed into the eastern region of the country to quell an uprising by ethnic Igbo separatists. The Igbo, who make up a majority of the population in the east, had seceded from Nigeria, declaring the independent Republic of Biafra led by the Biafran leader, Odumegwu Ojukwu, on 30 May 1967. The Nigerian government, led by Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, responded with a military campaign to crush the rebellion. Hence, the Nigerian Army invaded Biafra to stop the secession. It was fought between the Nigerian government and the secessionist state of Biafra. The war began on 6 July 1967, when the Nigerian military launched an offensive against the Biafran capital of Enugu. The main aim of the offensive was to overthrow the Biafran leader, Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu. The war ended on 15 January 1970, when Biafra surrendered to the Nigerian government. The war lasted for two-and-a-half years and claimed the lives of more than one million people, mostly civilians. It ended with the defeat of the Biafran forces and the reintegration of the eastern region into Nigeria.
Biafra War Impact
The states of Southeast which were most affected by the Biafra war included: – Abia – Anambra – Imo – Delta – Rivers – Bayelsa. The oil-producing states of the Niger Delta region were also severely affected by the conflict as they were the center of the Biafran oil industry. Many of the people from these states were displaced during the war and there was extensive damage to infrastructure. In addition, so many people were killed that there were no relatives in many cases to show the authorities where the grave sites were. The Biafra war was a devastating conflict that lasted for over two years. An estimated two million people were killed, and millions more were displaced. The war is also known as the Nigerian Civil War. The main causes of the war were economic, ethnic, and religious tensions. The war resulted in the death of millions of people, mostly civilians. It also led to a famine that killed an additional 2 million people. The Anambra state was one of the hardest hit areas, with over a million people fleeing the fighting. The war had a profound effect on the Anambra state. The economy was shattered, and infrastructure was destroyed. Many people still suffer from the impact of the war, including post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.
Many f us in this generation only heard Biafra war stories from our parents, it’s one story that is told with so many emotions and pain, and no one of them wants to experience war ever in their lifetime. My own mother flee from Umuahia her husband’s home to Nnewi her father’s home for her safety and three of my siblings were better off there than here. No one who was born then witnessed or fought this war recounts this story without tears and deep pain. Up till today this topic remains the most sensitive and has continued to be controversial. And the questions continue to be; shouldn’t this war be averted? will Igbo and its people ever be healed and recover from the pains of this war? when will Igbo stop bleeding?
An Entrepreneur , B.A Foreign Languages ,PGD Health and Social care Management ,American Caregiver Association (Member) ACA Certified, Leadership and Management.