You cannot mention Biafra today without the name of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. The secessionist leader was a fierce warrior and fighter who fought the Nigerian Civil War for the freedom of the people from the East (Biafra).
He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Nigerian Army and a General in the Biafran Armed Forces. He was also highly educated after acquiring education in CMS Grammar School, Lagos; King’s College, Lagos; Epsom College; Lincoln College; and Oxford University; Eaton Hall.
Ojukwu was the Governor of the then Eastern Region, Nigeria. Those who fought alongside him were martyred by the Biafran people to date. Though a lot of Soldiers fought the Nigerian Civil War with him but only 10 were more prominent, resilient and fierce like Ojukwu himself.
Ojukwu was the very person who did declare the Eastern part of Nigeria a sovereign state which was to be known as “Biafra”.
He died after a brief illness at age 78 in November 2011, in London.
The Nigerian Civil War (1967- 1970), also known as Biafra War was the aspiration of the Igbo (Eastern Nigerian) people whose leadership felt they could no longer co-exist with the Northern-dominated Federal Government.
During the war, some or even most of the Igbo officers who were in the Nigerian Army left to support the Biafran army.
Their skills and brilliant performance were amongst what helped the Biafra army to achieve what they achieved and why the name “Biafra” rings a bell today.
Below are names and photos of Nigerian Soldiers who left the Federal troop to support Ojukwu and the Igbo people to fight the Biafran War.
1. OGBUGO KALU
Ogbugo Kalu was a great soldier who served both in the Nigerian Army and Biafra Army. He died in February 2004.
2. MAJOR PATRICK CHUKWUMA
The history of Nigeria will not be complete without the mention of his name.
He was said to be a very ambitious young military officer with a rebellious attitude.
He fought along with the Biafra army during the civil war but he got killed in an ambush.
3. JOSEPH ACHUZIE
He was the Biafra soldier in command of Biafra 11th division, 11 battalions and Biafra S division.
He was amongst those arrested after the broadcast of Biafra for their final surrender to General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1970.
4. PHILLIP EFFIONG
He was the man saddled with the suicidal job of handing over to Nigeria after Biafra had lost the fight.
When the chips were down, Gen. Effiong braved all odds to put the war to an end.
5. AUGUSTINE IFEANYI ANIEBO
He was the one who commanded the Biafra 58 Brigade at Uyo.
He was later detained by Ojukwu until the end of the war following the fall of Uyo in 1968.
He later retired as a Colonel of the Nigerian Army in 1999.
6. CHRIS UGOKWE
He commanded the Biafra 52 Brigade stationed at Owerri.
In 1985, he retired as a Lt Col in the Nigerian Army and was later made the chairman of the National Population Commission, Abuja.
7. LAMBERT IHEANACHO
He commanded the Biafra 63 Brigade in the Owerri sector.
He retired as a full Colonel of the Nigerian Army in the 1980s.
8. ROBERT AKONOBI
He commanded the Biafra 57 Brigade. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Nigerian Army and he retired in the mid- 1990s.
9. COLONEL GODFREY NEBO
He commanded the Biafra 54 Brigade stationed at Onitsha.
He retired in the 1980s as a Colonel in the Nigerian Army.
10. CONRAD DIBIA NWAWO
He was said to have been the most senior officer in the entire Biafra army.
He was an administrative officer at the Biafra Army Headquarters, he was in charge of the 11th and 13th Divisions of the Biafra Army, as well as the guerrilla commando unit.
He is said to be one of the most distinguished and highly decorated military officers in the country.
He died at 92.
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