Justice Delayed? The Nkanu Igbo and the Nigerian Army Occupation: 1967-1970


The Nigerian-Biafran Civil War was savagely contested by both sides of the divide. The seceding Biafra had borne the brunt of the pogrom, the counter coup d’état that decimated its officer corps in Nigeria and the sporadic outbursts of sectarian and ethnic cleansing preceded the declaration of the Republic of Biafra on May 30,1967. In less than three months of the commencement of hostilities, Biafra lost its capital, Enugu, with all its stores. Enugu and its environs are peopled by the Nkanu Igbo and with the retreat of the Biafran forces, civil populace predominantly of the Nkanu Igbo came under the Nigerian army occupation from September 1967 to January 1970. The occupation of Nkanu Igbo was horrendous, with the civilian population subjected to inhuman treatment such as summary execution of suspected Biafran partisans, enforcement of pass system and arbitrary commandeering of young women as sex slaves by the Nigerian army. The butcher at Agbani, the political headquarters of Nkanu Igbo, was Sergeant Clement Yildar of Nigerian army. Sergeant Yildar and his accomplices committed war crimes against Nkanu Igbo and humanity and therefore should be tried posthumously if they are all dead. Unfortunately, this heinous crime against humanity has not received any scholarly attention. This paper would amply utilize oral traditions, newspaper reports of the period and other extant secondary source materials in analyzing the occupation of Nkanu Igbo. Giorgio Agamben’s theory of state exception would be applied.

Author Information
Ngozika Anthonia Obi-Ani, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Paul Obinwanne Obi-Ani, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2017
Stream: Humanities - Other Humanities

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon