January 15, 1970 : Biafra surrenders to Nigeria

Introduction

The Republic of Biafra, a breakaway state of eastern Nigeria, surrenders to Nigeria after three years of costly fighting.

In 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain. Six years later, the Muslim Hausas in northern Nigeria began massacring the Christian Igbos in the region, prompting tens of thousands of Igbos to flee to the east, where their people were the dominant ethnic group. The Igbos doubted that Nigeria’s oppressive military government would allow them to develop, or even survive, so on May 30, 1967, Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu and other non-Igbo representatives of the area established the Republic of Biafra, comprising several states of Nigeria.

After diplomatic efforts by Nigeria failed to reunite the country, war between Nigeria and Biafra broke out in July 1967. Ojukwu’s forces made some initial advances, but Nigeria’s superior military might gradually reduced Biafran territory. The state lost its oil fields–its main source of revenue–and without the funds to import food, an estimated one million of its civilians died as a result of severe malnutrition. On January 11, Nigerian forces captured the provincial capital of Owerri, one of the last Biafran strongholds, and Ojukwu was forced to flee to the Ivory Coast. Four days later, Biafra surrendered to Nigeria.

Article Details:

January 15, 1970 : Biafra surrenders to Nigeria

  • Author

    History.com Staff

  • Website Name

    History.com

  • Year Published

    2010

  • Title

    January 15, 1970 : Biafra surrenders to Nigeria

  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/biafra-surrenders-to-nigeria

  • Access Date

    November 25, 2017

  • Publisher

    A+E Networks