The Civil war between Nigeria and Biafra has come and gone, but it is still fresh in the hearts of some people, especially those who saw the war first-hand. After I had thoroughly read the stories from the war, I concluded that despite the war was long gone, some things still need to be done, and example of such is Great Britain tendering an apology to the Igbo population in Nigeria, particularly about the roles she played in the war.
In case you are wondering why I am asking for an apology, then you have to read this story from the start.
Before the war broke out in Nigeria, Britain had been benefiting cheap, high-quality oil from Nigeria. Aside getting oil from Nigeria, Britain was also buying oil from the Persian gulf, but something happened. A week after the Biafran war broke out in Nigeria, another war broke out in the middle East (between Israel and Arab Nations). The war caused the route through which Britain was transporting her oil to be blocked for some time, so she was solely dependent on the Nigerian oil. Basically, Nigeria was selling oil cheaper to Britain than other nations.
When the Biafran War started, Britain kept quiet, silently watching who she was going to support (I believe that Britain acted cowardly for keeping quiet when the war started). After Britain saw that Nigeria had the upper hand, she began to support the Nigerian forces. But something still amuses me till today, do you believe that of all that mattered, Britain advised the Nigerian forces not to destroy British oil installations in the East? So the lives of the igbos did not matter to them, but their oil was. Makes me wonder what this white folks take us for.
What really pained me was the letter the British higher commissioner in Lagos wrote to the secretary of State for Commonwealth affairs on 27th July, 1967.
He wrote and I quote;
"Ojukwu, even victorious, will not be in a strong position. He will require all the international help and recognition he can get. The Federal Government would be much better placed both internationally and internally. They would have a cast iron case for the severest treatment of a company which has subsidised a rebel, and I feel fairly convinced they would press their case to the lengths of cancelling the Company's concessions and nationalising their installations. I conclude, therefore, if the company does change its mind and asks the British Government for advice, the best that could be given is for it to clamber hastily back on the Lagos side of the fence with cheque book at the ready"
In case you do not know or understand what the letter above meant, I will gladly analyse it for you. The first mention in that letter was that even if Ojukwu won the war, he might not want to start selling the Nigerian oil at cheaper rates to Britain, which is worrisome for them. They went further to say that it was better to stick and support the Nigerian government, because when the Nigerian government won (which they would make sure of, by supporting the government with everything they have got), the government would be able to praise them for standing with them against whom the commissioner tagged "rebels", (people fighting for their own freedom oh), and this will strengthen the bond between Britain and Nigeria, and possibly make them get the oil even at a cheaper rate as compared to before.
That is the analytical subject of that letter above. Now, pay attention to this part below oh, Britain was afraid to support anyone yet, not until she was sure who would win and she finally supported Nigeria after the Federal forces captured the ocean oil terminal at Bonny island on July 25, 1967. Bonny island is situated in Rivers State, and this gave Britain the confidence that Nigeria could win the war and if she supported the Federal Forces with military, then victory was assured and that was exactly what Britain did after the Bonny island victory.
My point in this article exactly is that, Britain was never supposed to take part in the war against the innocent people of Biafra who were just fighting for their freedom. It is very ironical that the same Britain that gave Nigeria independence without a war fought, was denying Biafra freedom just because of oil and even contributed to the killings of the Igbo people. They should apologize now, that is all I am asking for.
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