Now Reading
At last, reprieve for the Biafran soldier.

At last, reprieve for the Biafran soldier.

The 30-month long Nigerian civil war of 1967-70 attritious as it was, although largely preventable, never dampened the collective resolve of the Igbo country to remain in the somewhat elastic union regardless. The said war, officially ended 44 years ago, but not without sour grapes.

The arrow head of the biafran agitation, Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu had proclaimed in June 1982, when a Chuka Okadigbo brokered pardon, saw him, Emeka, return in a blaze of glory that he had come back to take his beloved Ndigbo into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. Whether the Ikemba accomplished the set agendum is left to posterity to determine. 

Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and then former soldiers of the Biafran nation

44 years on pent up emotions continue to flourish across the Igbo nation where cries of marginalisation reverberate like a frenized chorus at a church service. The movement for the actualisation of the sovereign state of Biafra MASSOB is evidently one of the throw ups of these inhibited sentiments. Thankfully though, as in life itself, nothing is ever permanent.

At last, reprieve seems to have come the way of combatants who fought on the side of Biafra throughout the struggle. 

The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.), at an event to commemorate the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Abuja last  Friday, disclosed that a total of 102 ex-Biafran soldiers will now get gratuity and other emolument by the Military Pensions Board.

But this is not the first time the warring soldiers of the Biafran nation of yore will be enrolled for such exercise. 

During the the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, the then chairman Military Pensions Board,  Air Commodore Muhammed Dabo, also announced the commencement of the payment of monthly pension to soldiers of the Nigerian army, who defected to the Biafran side of the struggle. No less than 160 of the ex-Biafran soldiers were reportedly enrolled then. 

Air Commodore Muhammed Dabo

What we don’t know, however, is if the fresh exercise is the continuation of the one ordered by Jonathan presidency or new gesture by present administration. 

Be that as it may, one can only hope at this is not one of many government empty promises aimed at swinging the pendulum of public opinion in its favour, reason why many have been reluctant in praising the government for the move. 

The gesture of both administration is the outcome of a presidential pardon earlier announced by the Obasanjo federal government in year 2000. The lot it would appear has fallen on the Jonathan and Buhari administration to effect the reprieve.

The exercise in essence can only mean that the dismissals of the former Biafran soldiers, so-called rebels have been converted to retirements.

See Also

This, for us, is the first studied steps towards giving vent to Yakubu Gowon’s Jan 15.1970 proclamation of a “no victor no vanquished” swan-song.

former head of state, Yakubu Gowon

 Perhaps, the biggest hurdle now, is for the Igbo intelligentsia, who understands the intricacies of re-integration, to preach a new gospel to the everyday Ndigbo who does not see any hope for a united Nigeria where no one is oppressed. 

Nobody can, in his wildest dreams wish away the enterprise, resourcefulness and ingenuity of the Igbo. 

If, indeed a Daniel has come to judgement on account of a disconsolate Ndigbo, and if this is a first step forward, so may it be.

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top