Dr. Julie Blase
April 1, 2021
Question/Topic: What was the major cause of the Biafran war?
The Biafran war also known as the Nigerian Civil War was a war between the Nigerian
Government and the state of secessionist. General Yakubu Gowon was the head of government while Lt.
Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu was the head of the State. The war broke on 6th July 1967 and lasted until
January 1970. The Federal troops of Nigeria made their advancement to Biafra in two columns. The
strategy of Biafra was a success for Nigeria. The federal government initiated the war and the East had to
defend itself. The immediate causes of the war included ethnic division which triggered ethno religious
violence and massacres.
First Source: The Nigeria–Biafra War: Postcolonial Conflict and the Question of
Heerten, Lasse, and A. Dirk Moses. “The Nigeria–Biafra War: Postcolonial Conflict and the
Question of Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research 16, no. 2–3 (July 3, 2014):
The resource is an article, and it is concerned with incorporating the Biafran war in the
genocide historical studies. The authors relate the Biafran war with the holocaust since they have
a similarity in that the effects of political conflicts influenced both the crimes; both were
state-sponsored and ideological driven racial hate crimes. The authors intend to discuss whether
or not the Biafran war was a Genocide or an Equivalent of the Holocaust. The authors support
their claim by arguing in favor of the Igbo tribe, for it suffered annihilation almost in the same
degree as the Jews. Additionally, the authors claim the study of genocide and holocaust started in
the 1980s; hence the proponents of holocaust found their grounds in early 2000. Therefore, there
is a need to research the Biafran war to establish if it has an act of holocaust to incorporate it in
the appropriate study discipline. The intended audience of the article is professionals such as
scholars in the field of genocide.
Second Source: The Economic Impact of the Nigerian Civil War
This article describes the history of the effect the Biafran war has had on Nigeria. It examines the
movement of the macro-variables during the war output, prices, employment, and the balance of
payments and their relationship to government policies especially domestic financial and international
trade policies. Despite the independence of 1960, in Nigeria, this article explains explicitly the effects the
two coup d’etat of 1966 and the civil war of 1967-70 had on the economic activity and economic
Nafziger, E. Wayne. “The Economic Impact of the Nigerian Civil War.” The Journal of Modern African
Studies 10, no. 2 (1972): 223-45. Accessed April 1, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/159964.
This journal article provides an analysis of the economic deprivation that occurred as a result of the
Biafran war. It highlights the cause as the culmination of a series of events set off by the selfish ambition
of a few men with more ideas than planning. The information in this journal is important to the main
question because it aids in providing information that could allow the question to be answered clearly and
accurately. The information is presented in a non-biased way with facts and figures given. This makes the
source seem pretty credible. This source was published and updated in July of 1972, therefore this
information and statistics may have changed and this information may not be as accurate.
Third Source: Surviving in Biafra: the Story of the Nigerian Civil War
The writer of this book gives an account of how the thirty-month war against Biafra caused the loss of life
of thousands of easterners by their northern Nigerian. The major victims encompass children, women, and
the elderly. The author also demonstrates how easterners fled to eastern region to launch an independent
nation called Biafra. It is a memoir of a child living in Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War and the
author does an excellent job of vividly relating what life was like for him and his family to provide his
readers with an experience similar to how it was.
Uzokwe, Alfred Obiora. Surviving in Biafra: the Story of the Nigerian Civil War: over Two Million Died.
New York: Writers Advantage, 2003.
This is a book that dives deeper into the origin of the Biafran War and provides a more personal account
of how the war took place. It talks about several waves of rioting in northern Nigeria that led the brutal
massacre of several innocent Nigerians. Also, it pushes its readers to engage with the history behind the
war in order to understand that many of the issues that led to the war remain unresolved in Nigeria today.
It is relevant because it focuses on why Nigeria refused to accept sovereignty from Biafra and how
Nigeria used both land and sea blockade to prevent relief food from reaching hungry masses in Biafra.
The information is presented in a non-biased way with facts and figures given. This book was published
in 2003, therefore this information and facts provided may have changed, but the historical importance of
the information remains accurate.
Fourth Source: Sense and Senselessness of War: Aggregating the Causes, Gains and Losses of
the Nigerian Civil War.
Aremu, Johnson Olaosebikan, and Lateef Oluwafemi Buhari. “Sense and Senselessness of War:
Aggregating the Causes, Gains and Losses of the Nigerian Civil War,
1967–1970.” IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities 4, no. si (December 12, 2017).
The resource is an article. Additionally, the resource is about the cause and the
repercussions of the 1967-1970 Nigerian civil war. Moreover, the resource is focused on
post-mortem examination of the civil war. Hence the sole purpose of the research was to
investigate whether the best alternative for preserving the nation. According to the author’s the
main causes of the war were: the 1966 coup in which General Johnson Umunnakwe
miscalculated the stabilization policy, a mistake which resulted in the replacement of federalism
with unitarism. The second cause of the war was the refusal of Odumegwu Ojukwu, who at the
time was a politician and a military officer decided to be the leader of the Republic of Biafra.; the
third reason was the collapse of the Aburi Accord and the Gowon’s subdivision of the region into
twelve states. Lastly, the Biafran war was caused by the Eastern Nigeria region’s secession to be
incorporated in the Republic of Biafra.
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