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Monday, 29 May 2017

BIAFRA: THE MEMORIES OF OUR HEROES CANNOT BE ERASED

BIAFRA: THE MEMORIES OF OUR HEROES CANNOT BE ERASED

By Chima Chibueze
For Family Writers

We have heard a number of Biafran stories. Some about glory and some of suffering. In my case and for the commemoration of Biafra heroes, there are a few tales I hold personally close to my mind because of how close they are to me.

My father lost two cousins in the Biafra-Nigeria war. Obioma and Chiadikobi voluntarily joined the Biafran army in their early twenties. Obioma joined the Biafran militia in the early stages of the war. He and others were eventually moved to Enugu; but after the Fall of Enugu, he was fully integrated into the Biafran STF. He visited his mother a couple of times and then stopped. It was said he was felled by the bullet of a Nigerian sniper in Calabar.

Some months after Obioma was gone and Enugu had fallen, Chiadikobi enlisted into the Biafran troop that defended Umuahia. He died at Uzuakoli during the invasion of Umuahia by the Nigerian forces in April 1969. When the Nigerian troops managed to sneak into Umuahia by circumventing the defence mounted by the Biafran forces in Uzuakoli, Col Akpan Utuk chased after them and gave them a baptism of fire and the marauders fled from Umuahia. The fate of Col Akpan Utuk, at the end of the war, is not clear.

Many Biafran families have these kind of stories. It was our fight (even though we did not start it). Some parents get very emotional when they get the points where they recall favorite relatives and friends that never returned from the battle field.

One mutual import of the heroics of these men, aside the valor, is that they laid down their own lives to preserve ours. They knew they will likely die in battle, yet they faced off with the "federally mighty" Nigerian hordes. Even though they did not know us by names or faces, they paid with their lives to secure the lives of the rest of the Biafrans and purchase a future for us who were then the Generation Unborn. We are bound by duty to honor their deeds.

If Biafra is or like a religion to you, then 30th May is your holy day of obligation. If you are just a Biafran or a friend of Biafra, then Biafra Heroes Day is your National holiday.

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