Biafran War Veteran Col. Nwawo Buried With Full Military Honours


Col. Nwawo: Journalists’ Group Pushes For Befitting Burial

From Chris Anucha and Paul Osuyi, Asaba

THE remains of the late Bi­afran warlord and one of the first generations of the Nige­rian Army Officers Corps, Colonel Conrad Dibia Chuk­wujimje Nwawo, have been laid to rest at his home town, Onicha-Olona in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.

The war veteran who died at the age of 93 was given full military honours during the burial by the Ni­gerian Army, and the casket bearing the body of the gal­lant officer covered in Ni­gerian flag. The burial rites, however, witnessed poor presence of the political elite. But retired officers of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force were well rep­resented. The heavy pres­ence of serving officers of the Nigerian Army from the 4 Brigade led by Col. Etim E. Etim speaks vol­ume of the respect and re­gard which the military has for the late Col. Nwawo, es­pecially for his exploits in Nigeria’s peace keeping mis­sion in Congo, which earned him Military Cross (MC) from the Queen of England, Elizabeth the II in 1963.

So far, only Nwawo and the late Col. Adekunle Fajuyi had the honour of the prestigious MC from her Majesty, the Queen of England. Nwanwo’s corpse arrived St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Onicha-Olona, ven­ue of the funeral service, in a grey- colored military am­bulance, and was led into the church by military officers.

Bishop of Asaba Dio­cese of the Anglican Com­munion, Rt. Rev. Justus Mogekwu, in his sermon emphasized the need for rec­onciliation of all stakehold­ers, who participated in the Nigerian civil war, whether on the side of Biafra or on the side of the Federal Gov­ernment. According to Mo­gekwu, the spirit of recon­ciliation and unity must be upheld, if the nation must move forward. He noted how Nwawo and other gal­lant officers had suffered neglect by government for fighting on the side of Biafra during the war. His words: “Col. Nwawo was one of the few Midwestern­ers we were very proud of.

He was among the ten highest ranking officers of his time. I first heard of him in 1966, when the atmo­sphere was charged, follow­ing the massacre of the Igbos in Northern Nigeria. He was a man of honour, valour and worthy of an army officer”.

Colonel J D Bambur, who represented the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, also de­scribed the late Col. Nwawo as an “articulate, dedicated, loyal and hardworking of­ficer, saying “in recognition of his meritorious service to the nation, he was honoured with the symbol of Passed Staff Course.”

High point of the occa­sion was the firing of 21 gun shots by the military, which heralded the lowering of the casket into the mother earth.

Among those who at­tended the burial ceremony was a one-time military spokesman under military president, Ibrahim Baban­gida, Brigadier General Fred Chijuka and his wife. The Sun

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