Force. He made this broadcast over Radio Nigeria, Benin on August 14, 1967 at 20.00 GMT. Ojukwu was very upset about it and it was used as one of the reasons he was eventually
shot on Septenber 25, 1967 at Enugu.
1966 when this political crisis started in our country. Unfortunately at that time I also only heard about the circumstances under which my name was being publicized at a time when I was in no position to do
anything about it. I was then accused of having attempted the life of the late Supreme Commander, Maj-Gen. J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, and that for the attempt I have been arrested and detained.
Fellow Nigerians, nothing could be further from the truth. The Army mutiny which started the revolution in January 1966 was as such of a surprise to myself as it was to some of my colleagues. I spent all of my time (words indistinct) of the events in ascertaining the true state of affairs in the country. My colleague, then Lt.-Col. Yakubu Gowon, was the first officer who gave me precise information about the state of affairs. It then appeared to me that sufficient had taken place to ensure the removal of several Governments of the
Federation and that the sum total of the trend of events could be regarded as the beginning of a national revolution. I then considered it my duty to ensure that no further military action took place which might have the effect of totally destroying the stability of the nation.
I felt that the young officers who had started the action were only anxious to destroy what had become a most corrupt and discredited Government. As such, I spent a considerable time in an effort to urge the late Major General to assume responsibility for the State with the support of the Army from national collapse. It
was then my view that any attempt to use the Nigerian Army for any military action within Nigeria would only have the effect of breaking the Army into its tribal components of which the Northern component
would represent the lion's share. This Northern component, effectively under the control of the Northern feudalists, would then inevitably be employed to impose on the rest of Nigeria the most repressive feudal domination. I was one of the senior officers of the Nigerian Army who took the decision to accept responsibility for Nigeria. In fact, on that occasion I was the chief spokesman for that decision. I therefore considered it my duty to remain with the General as closely as possible, rather than accept the office of the
Military Governor of the West which he then proposed to me and which I declined in favor of the late Lt.-Col. Adekunle Fajuyi. On the day after the General had assumed full responsibility for the State, I was arrested by a few of my colleagues while waiting to see the General. I was never given a reason for my arrest, nor given an opportunity to defend myself against any charges that could be raised. I went to prison for 14 months under a false accusation, the details of which I only found out from the press and radio after I
got to prison. I have since had the opportunity of speaking to the so-called actors in that drama of my arrest, and I now appreciate that the action was an act of hatred motivated primarily by fear and suspicion. I spent a considerable part of my time in prison sending warnings to the late Major-General and my colleagues about the policies that would appear to represent a continuation of the policies of the Balewa Government, which could have the effect of encouraging counter-attempts, which might not only destroy the Nigerian Army but would also, by the extent of the bloodshed and the tribal selectiveness of the (word indistinct), destroy the Nigerian nation as well.
Finally, the dismemberment of our nation has commenced in the breakaway of Biafra. In August 1966, I wrote to my colleagues form prison to inform them that I did not consider that we, military leaders of this
country, had the right to carry out such action as the proclamation of the dismemberment of presiding over the dismemberment of Nigeria. I still do not think that we have the right to destroy a nation that was handed over to us to save at a moment of crisis. The 29th July 1966 Federal Military Government came into being as a result of a mutiny in which the primary action was directed at the elimination of a particular ethnic group and the supremacy of another ethnic group in Nigeria. This has had the effect of destroying the basic mutual
trust and confidence among the people of Nigeria and has crated the decentralization of the Nigerian people into tribal groups. This action, more than any other event that has occurred throughout the history of Nigeria, has had the greatest effect on the dismemberment of Nigeria. The Federal Military Government cannot claim to represent the Government of the people of Nigeria and to flight for the unity of Nigeria while constantly rejecting fundamental human rights for all people forming parts of Nigeria. The Federal Military Government
cannot claim to be seeking a peaceful solution to the problems for achieving Nigerian unity, while at the same time contemptuously ignoring the wishes of the people of the Mid-West and the West in their previous demands for the removal of the unruly troops of the North from their territories in order to allow the unfettered discussion of the present political crisis.
The Federal Military Government cannot claim to be genuinely interested in the progress and welfare of the Nigerian people while at the same time inflicting the most bloody warfare on the people of Nigeria and employing unscrupulous foreign mercenaries in a total war that really destroys hundreds of our people and the economy of our nation.. The people of Biafra have a right to fight a Government that has constantly treated its people to the most savage forms of brutality and persists in denying these people its fundamental human rights while claiming to represent other interests. It is my view that the people of Biafra were prepared to remain part of the nation into which they have for so many years invested their resources of manpower and material and with which they had the closest social ties. Provided the people of Biafra could live within such a nation under a Government that truly represents all sections of its people and truly tries to pursue such
measures as are designed to promote the welfare of all Nigerians irrespective of tribe or religion (sentence as broadcast). It is the remnants of the old Nigerian Army that broke away in July that now threatens the Nigerian nation. This Northern army is now under the power and control of a group of Northern feudalists who have as their aim the total conquest of Nigeria. The Federal Military Government, having been brought to power and control by that army, is playing to that end. Hence policies are inevitably directed towards achieving the objectives of the Northern feudalists who control that army . . ..
It is my idea that the peaceful settlement of the Nigerian problem will be readily achieved when that fragment of the Nigerian Army now at the disposal of the Northern feudalists has been completely disarmed. Towards this end, the Liberation Army is irrevocably committed. It is not at all an invasion, and it is not intended to
promote the domination of any group of the Nigerian people by any other group through the presence of the Liberation Army. I wish to stress once again what I said during the press conference and previously on the radio that the movement of this Army into the Mid-West is not a conquest. It is also not an invasion. It is to
enable the people of the Mid-West to see the Nigerian problem in its proper perspective. I firmly believe that the people of the Mid-West would prefer to be able to declare their stand in the conflict that has arisen in Nigeria free from any (pressure) either from the North or from anywhere. I believe that the people of the Mid-West would like to be given an opportunity to state their case, free from the coercive influences due to the presence of Northern troops. It is my view that the political future of Nigeria rests with all the people
of Nigeria. It has become a matter of great concern to me, however, to be informed that certain ethnic groups are jubiliating as a result of the presence of the Liberation Army in this Region. As a consequence, I also understand that certain other ethnic groups are feeling depressed and frustrated. I wish to assure all ethnic groups in the Mid-West that the achievement of the Liberation Army does not give any ethnic group an advantage over any other. I wish also to appeal to all ethnic groups to exercise restraint and humility and
not to indulge in acts which may result in confusion, bringing distress to a large number of our people. Any misbehavior on the part of any group of persons will give rise to a chain of unpleasant reactions . . . .
I am informed that since the Liberation Army came into the Mid-West a number of civil servants have become so frightened that they have either refused to come to their places of work or reported only for a few hours and then left before the closing time. I wish to take this opportunity to appeal to all civil servants to return to work not later than 15th August 1967, and to assure them of their safety. Those, however, who fail to report on this day will be in danger of permanently losing their jobs . . . .
While on the question of co-operation among the various ethnic groups in the Mid-West, I would like to stress that all tribal meetings should stop, as such meetings are not conducive to peace and mutual
understanding. In order to foster co-operation among the people of the Mid-West, I propose within the next few days to invite a cross-section of the people of the Mid-West to a meeting to explain to them the present situation and objectives of the Liberation Army, and I believe this will go a long way to giving them the true picture of the situation and instill confidence in the future of the Mid-West. I understand that anxiety is being expressed in some quarters about the safety of the Military Governor of the Mid-West, Brig. David Ejoor. I wish to inform you that I have personally held discussions with Brig. Ejoor and to assure you that he is in good health and is not under detention . . . .
I have, therefore, today promulgated a decree setting up an interim administration in the Mid-Western Nigeria. This decree has suspended the operation in Mid-Western Nigeria of the Constitution of the Federation of Nigeria, the Constitution of Mid-Western Nigeria, and other constitutional provisions applicable in Mid-Western Nigeria, except those constitutional provisions absolutely necessary for the efficient functioning of the machinery of State. All legislative and executive powers have been vested in me during the period of interim administration. In order to assist me in the task of administering Mid-Western Nigeria during the interim period I propose to appoint a military administrator and an administrative council. I have also established a Mid-Western Nigerian Army and A Mid-Western Nigerian Police Force, which will for the moment remain independent of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force, the Biafran Army or the Biafran Police Force. The Mid-Western Nigerian Army shall, however, during this interim period be part of the Liberation Army. All courts in Mid-Western Nigeria shall continue to function as usual and it may be necessary to establish a court of appeal until it becomes possible to resume (words indistinct) the Supreme Court of Nigeria. As soon as it is practicable I propose to hand over the administration of Mid-Western Nigeria in order to proceed to the war front and to complete the liberation of Nigeria.