Nigerian Civil War

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Nigerian Civil War

Post  kosovohp on Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:11 am

The disequilibrium and perceived corruption of the electoral and political process led in 1966 to several back-to-back military coups. The first was in January and led by a collection of young leftists under Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. It was partially successful; the coup plotters murdered the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, and the Premier of the Western Region, Sir Ladoke Akintola. Despite this, the coupists could not set up a central government because of logistic reasons.[citation needed] Sir Nwafor Orizu, the acting President was then pressured to hand over government to the Nigeria Army, under the Command of General JTU Aguyi-Ironsi.

The coup was counter-acted by another successful plot, supported primarily by Northern military officers and Northerners who favoured the NPC, it was engineered by Northern officers, which allowed Lt Colonel Yakubu Gowon to become head of state. This sequence of events led to an increase in ethnic tension and violence. The Northern coup, which was mostly motivated by ethnic and religious reasons was a bloodbath of both military officers and civilians, especially those of Igbo extraction.[citation needed]

The violence against the Igbo increased their desire for autonomy and protection from the military's wrath. By May 1967, the Eastern Region had declared itself an independent state called the Republic of Biafra under the leadership of Lt Colonel Emeka Ojukwu in line with the wishes of the people. The Nigerian Civil War began as the Nigerian (Western and Northern) side attacked Biafra (South-eastern) on July 6, 1967 at Garkem signalling the beginning of the 30 month war that ended in January 1970.[27] More than one million people died in the three-year civil war.[28]

Following the war, Nigeria became to an extent even more mired in ethnic strife, as the defeated southeast and indeed southern Nigeria was now conquered territory for the federal military regime, which changed heads of state twice, as army officers staged a bloodless coup against Gowon and enthroned Murtala Mohammed; Olusegun Obansanjo succeeded the former after an assassination

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