By Ike A. Offor
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The wartime video made by CBS News or any other third party should be more accurate about the tales of the war and the truth about events and the actual reasons behind the war. If one watches any from Nigeria, one could many a times see unbalanced narrative or even arrogant tone in the narrations. But this was perfect and attracted the attention of our reporters in The Republican News.
Despite already known and always recounted stories of massacre in the Northern Nigeria against the hapless women, children, unarmed men by mobs, and the lack of action by the federal government to stop such carnage on innocent Biafrans. A narrative that led to the Aburi conference in Ghana and concomitant Aburi Accord, which was agreed as palliation to the carnage and a better true federal structure of government in Nigeria.
This video was made two years into the war, by that period approximately 2 million of hapless children, women and young Biafrans have died through starvation, a ploy or scheme used by the federal government to win the war. A policy reportedly offered by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, finance minister of Nigeria, as a means to win the war against Biafra.
The Nigerian Army recorded a lot of casualties, both injured and dead, while starvation was the debilitating cause of death on the Biafran side.
Narration by Mike Wallace, William S. Brown, Harry Reasoner and Jeff Gralnick
Recently, President Buhari in his address in Katsina state erroneously said that the oil has not been discovered before the war. He said that it was not ought because of the oil but for the unity of Nigeria due to the fact that oil has then not been discovered. But historical facts are the best way to discredit or credit any assertion. In this documentary it was laid out apparently enough for anyone to comprehend it.
President Mohammadu Buhari assertion about the war was either intentional or his sense of such crucial part of national history eluded him. But as a man who fought in that war and as a commanding officer of the federal army and a person within the rank and files of the military then, it must be assumed that his distortion of facts was indeed intentional.
Nigerian oil was discovered under British colonial government in 1949 by the time of its independence in 1960 Nigeria already was earning $7 million annually from oil export. The presence of British Petroleum,(BP), GULF of the USA were already conspicuous within the shores of Nigeria before independence and prior to the war.
At the beginning of the war, Nigeria’s earning through oil moved from $14 million to 300 million during the war. Which oil then was exported if not the same oil we have now? It was evidently clear in history tales that the war was fought because of oil.
By the time of the war, Nigeria was already the 12th largest producer and exporter in the world and forecasted to be either the fifth or the sixth in the world soon after.
In the narration, Mike Wallace, the legendary CBN broadcaster and reporter clearly said that the federal government knew that they cannot do without the Biafrans because they need their talents.
The Nigerian government was afraid of an independent Biafra as a potential hostile neighbour state and expansionist unit. So, that fear was one of the reasons of not letting Biafra become a free state and a neighbour.
The reason, according to his discussions with Nigerian leaders, behind the lack of interest by the Nigerian government to engage in genocidal move to wipe the Biafrans out is because they need the talents of the Igbo and they want them back into Nigeria.
United States supported Nigerian government politically while they try to send aids to Biafrans, but they are not willing to step into the war. The narrative behind that is completely another thing.
While the Nigerian army had superior fire power, the sheer will of the Biafrans was overwhelmingly enough to keep the Nigerian soldiers fighting for three years. While Nigerian soldiers enlisted for the fat pay, the Biafrans enlisted for their strong will for freedom. Perhaps this was why the war lasted for three years.
Biafrans were high-spirited, hardworking and very well determined to fight and win their total freedom from Nigeria and maintain their free independent new state. If and when markets were bombed, which of course is a war crime because it is occupied by civilians and not military, the Biafrans moved their markets into bushes and business went on as if nothing has happened.
The politics of the war and the reluctant attitude of the world great powers to aid to stop the war or even prevent it from occurring is another narrative that raised several questions. The aiding of Nigeria for the war and the lack of interest from the United States to get involved in the war is why the war lasted so long and took so many lives.