The Biafrans paid a great humanitarian price by ceding a great deal of territory to the Nigerians and employing this war strategy. The famine worsened as the war raged, as traditional Igbo society of farmers could not plant their crops. Gowon had succeeded in cutting Biafra off from the sea, robbing its inhabitants of shipping ports to receive military and humanitarian supplies. The affliction marasmus and kwashiorkor began to spread further, with the absence of protein in the diet, and they were compounded by outbreaks of other disease epidemics and diarrhoea. The landscape was filled by an increasing number of those avail prognosticators of death as the famine worsened and death toll mounted, "Udene" vultures. By the beginning of the dry season of 1968, Biafran civilians and soldiers alike were starving. BODIES LAY ROTTEN UNDER THE HOT SUN BY THE ROADSIDE, AND THE FLAPPING WINGS OF SCAVENGERS COULD BE SEEN CIRCLING, WAITING, WATCHING PATIENTLY NEARBY. Some estimates are that OVER A THOUSAND WERE PERISHING A DAY. Gowon economic blockade policy was to starve them into submission, but the most strategic part is that over fifty thousand Biafran civilians, most BABIES, CHILDREN, AND WOMEN WERE DYING EVERY SINGLE MONTH.

Ojukwu seized upon this humanitarian emergency and channelled the Biafran propaganda machinery to broadcast and showcase the suffering to the world. In one of his speech, he accused Gowon of a "calculated war of destruction and genocide". Known in some circle as the "Biafran babies’ speech" it was hugely effective and touched the hearts of many around the world. This move was brilliant in a couple of respect. First it deflected from himself or his cabinet any sentiments of culpability and outrage that might have been welling up in the hearts and minds of Biafrans, and the second, it was yet another opportunity to cast his arch nemesis, Gowon in a negative light.

Ojukwu dispatched several of his ambassadors to the world capitals, hoping to build on the momentum from his broadcast. His envoys received little new support or pledges. Frustrated by the obstacles he found in coaxing a more pro-Biafra policy from the United States, Sir Louis Mbanefo famously rebuked the Americans saying:  "We are especially resentful of the ambivalent pretence of the United States makes, that it is trying to help us.... If we are condemned to die, alright, we will die. But at least let the world, and the United States be honest for once about it.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Nigerian and Biafran envoys were meeting with His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia to sort out the modality of air and land transport for relief supplies to Biafra. The diplomatic battles had reached a fever pitch by the middle of 1968. Gowon, under immense International pressure and bristling from the whirlwind of publicity about Biafra, decided to open up the land routes for a supervised transport of relief. To the consternation of Gowon, Ojukwu opted out of the land routes in favour of increases airlifts of food from Sao Tome by International relief agencies. Ojukwu, like many Biafrans, were concerned about the prospect that the Nigerians would poison the food supplies.

From what we read from the above article, you can see how our babies, children and women were starved to death due to the economic blockade from the Nigerian side. We can see we have no reason to ignore the fact that, our innocent women, children died just because they were Biafrans. Instead of the Nigerian Government to opt for a Referendum for the people to decide if they are with the Biafran Military decision or would like to be part of Nigeria, they instead mounted a blockade that affected the defenceless. We also saw how Biafran Government love their people, they start the propaganda of the reality and also made diplomatic moves to save her people, even when the land routes were opened. They still thought about her citizens safety, that they might be poisoned by the Nigerians. They decided to open link for international agencies to fly relief to the land. With all this death, we shall never forget that tragic periods, so everyone should make sure they sit at home come May 30, 2019 in Biafra land to honour all this innocent babies, children and women including our fallen heroes who fought and died between 1967-1970.

#BiafraHeroesDay2019 #SitAtHome #May30 #NeverForgetBiafra #BiafraGenocide.

Credit: There was a country by Chinua Achebe

Written by:
Mazi Chukwudi Okeke
For: Lagos State Media

Edited by:
Oby Mboma
For: Lagos State Media

Published by:
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Lagos State Media

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