Renewed efforts to document Nigerian civil war gain momentum

Former Nigerian Head of State, Yakubu Gowon. [Photo credit: The Guardian Nigeria]
Former Nigerian Head of State, Yakubu Gowon. [Photo credit: The Guardian Nigeria]

Efforts are ongoing towards documenting the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), which precipitated a humongous human crisis in the then eastern region (now South-east and South-south) after violence blew open between federal troops and separatist Biafran fighters led by Chukwuemeka Ojukwu.

The efforts, which are people-led, have gained the backing of strong voices like former minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili; former head of Nigeria’s human rights commission, Chidi Odinkalu and a host of others.

The documentation activity is inspired by a newly formed Centre for Memories based in Enugu.

“We not only remember and pray for all families among us who lost sons, daughters, dads, moms, siblings and relatives in the war but specially thank the @cfmemories (Centre for Memories) for starting the great work of documentation,” tweeted Mrs Ezekwesili on Thursday.

In a post retweeted by the centre, people are asked to “record with your phone or video, if possible anyone known to have experienced the war as a soldier, child, informant, parent etc) please ask them about their experience and send to kedu@centreformemories.org.”

“Nobody will tell our stories for us,” adds the tweet originally shared from an Enugu promotional account, @Enuguconnect.

The Civil War is taught in Nigerian secondary schools as a topic in Government. But the subject is only compulsory for Arts students and is only optional for others in the commercial or social science classes.

Many believe it is not well documented; especially, experiences of the victims and active participants.

Agitation, not yet over

The war ended formally following the surrender of Biafra after late Mr Ojukwu had fled. But 49 years after, separatist agitation is still a significant movement in Igboland – and has been a subject of confrontation between pro-Biafra group, IPOB members and Nigeria’s security forces.

Advertisement

nlng Campaign AD

Since independence, Nigeria has continued to grapple with the challenge of integrating the array of ethnic groups lumped together by Britain into a cohesive whole. This is one Nigeria’s biggest challenge, says political scientist, Femi Mimiko.

The renewed civil war documentation movement is promoted with tweets, some coming with powerfully evocative pictures depicting terrible humanitarian situations from the war.

“There’s a good opportunity for #Nigeria to mine memory in order to build a different, more inclusive kind of country,’ tweeted Mr Odinkalu. “We stumble from one avoidable tragedy to the next, never learning anything & always repeating the same errors. So, we democratise alienation.”

Advertisement

PT Mag Campaign AD

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.