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Sense and Senselessness of War: Aggregating the Causes, Gains and Losses of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967–1970

Johnson Olaosebikan Aremu, Lateef Oluwafemi Buhari


This study is a post-mortem examination of the causes and impact of the Nigerian civil war of 1967–1970. It was conducted to ascertain whether war was the only feasible alternative for the preservation of the nation. The paper notes that despite the great losses and the agony suffered by the nation during the “war of unity”, Nigeria is still far from being united forty-seven years after the end of hostilities. This is confirmed by the recent altercations between the Northern youths and their Igbo counterparts, who are calling for the exit of “alien” groups from their domains at the latest by 1 October 2017. This paper notes that the current scenario of inter-ethnic conflagrations is a replica of the events that precipitated the 1966 pogroms suffered by the people of eastern Nigeria, pogroms that originated in various northern Nigerian cities; that strife was one of the fundamental factors that led to the outbreak of war in 1967. This study further submits that the Nigerian civil war presents a mixed record of positive and negative results. The encouraging results, for some, would be the continued unity and preservation of the country’s territorial integrity, a situation that prevails to date, albeit secured by force. The results of the war could alternatively be regarded as senseless and wasteful in view of the relentless agitation of groups, representing most ethnic nationalities, calling for the balkanisation of the country. Such agitation began in the 1990’s and is continuous. Data for this study was sourced extensively from secondary sources; it was analysed using descriptive and narrative methods of inquiry.

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Biafran War Database.
Editor: Azuka Nzegwu.

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