Uchenna Chikwendu rarely speaks about the Biafra War. The 67-year-old lives in Enugu, the provincial capital of the state of the same name in eastern Nigeria. She was a teenager during the civil war, which began in July 1967 and ended on January 15, 1970.
But there’s one thing she can’t forget: “We had to trek so much because there were no vehicles then. If you had a car you had to [hide] it otherwise the army would take it from you.”
Any errands had to be done on foot: “We had to walk through narrow paths in the bush to go to the market. We left at around 3 a.m. so by around 5 a.m. we were in the markets. So we would shop quickly and then come back, hiding, so that they wouldn’t see us.”
Uchenna Chikwendu rarely speaks about her experiences during the Biafra War
Nigeria, a country made up of more than 250 ethnic groups, became independent of Great Britain in 1960. Even then, it had a population of more than 45 million, predominantly Hausa and Fulani in the north, Yoruba in the west and Igbos in the east.
It wasn’t long before the groups started to engage in a struggle for power and resources and other disagreements.