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Nigeria's Coming Civil War

Nigeria's Coming Civil War
Guardian, Sunday, 3 June, 1967


Having broken apart, Nigeria is now preparing for civil war. Major-General Gowon, who was promoted from Colonel yesterday, is apparently ready to follow up his blockade of the breakaway east - now called Biafra - with a full-scale invasion. In this he presumably expects the support of Nigeria's partners in the Commonwealth and her fellow members of the UN and the OAU - at least the tacit support of respecting the blockade and not recognising Biafra.

It will be a futile war. It is unlikely to unseat the embattled government of Colonel Ojukwu, and even if it does, it will not achieve the declared aim of restoring a workable federation. For most of the Ibo, who predominate in the east, last year's massacres in the north - and their implied end to the free movement of Nigerians within their country - meant the effective end of the federation. To follow this up by an invasion would merely be to drive a nail in the coffin. B…