with Arinzechukwu Patrick

In 1968, in the second year of the Nigerian Civil War, the military leadership of Nigeria successfully repelled the Biafran government from Enugu where the new country’s headquarters had earlier been located. Desperate for a new staging post, the Biafran Army secured a building in Umuahia and built an underground bunker to be used for strategy and coordination, and a new HQ of the rebel government. It also became, in time, the location of Radio Biafra, a mouthpiece of the administration.

I visited this bunker during the week to see for myself what it looked like and to, in a way, relive the experience of what it must have been like during those precarious times. The building still stands, at Michael Opara Drive, Umuahia, a street so-named because the building used to belong to Sir. Michael Iheonukara Okpara, the first Premier of Eastern Nigeria. For many years, the building had been managed as an extension of the Nigerian War Museum. But today, it has fallen into the hands of those who call themselves the Indigenous People of Biafra, headed by Nnamdi Kanu. Much of the building has endured, including the famous bunker where photos of Biafran heroes of those times now line the wall. In front of the building are busts of Ojukwu and Michael Okpara.

With five hundred naira, a visitor gets a tour of the premises and the bunker itself. A video of the tour can be found here (courtesy of Naij.com). More photos from this twitter thread.


Arinzechukwu Patrick is a reader and a writer, when he isn’t writing or reading he’s hawking gala to fund his lifestyle and survive the harsh economy. He tweets at @nofstnme and blogs at www.rodneypatrick.com

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