Remembering Biafra Violence and Nigeria's Long Road to Redemption

The Biafran War, which took place between 1967 and 1970, represents a very dark time in Nigerian history. It was a tragedy that exceeded conceivable imagination.

1966, the year before the Biafran War became a real thing, my father moved the family from Enugu to Sapele, leaving behind my mother, who refused to travel to Delta without her father. Her father, my grandfather, had insisted on not abandoning Okutu, the village in Enugu where he grew up. ‘When Biafra wins,’ he used to say, ‘I am going to offer drinks to my Chi on this earth, on a ground we are familiar with.’ For a while, in Sapele, we went about our normal lives: children danced and played games outside; the sky was not burning; the streets were not flooded with blood.

We had no knowledge of the War, besides what we picked up from the streets or heard on the radio. This was until Mama brought the War home to us. She told us how she and her father were buying food items in the market when the sound of death sent everyone scampering—it was an air raid. At first, Mama and her father ran in the same direction. Suddenly, Mama noticed he wasn't running anymore. She saw him stop, blown apart, and she kept running...

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