Letter from Lt. Col. Ojukwu to Lt. Col. Victor Banjo commanding him to liberate Western Nigeria

Ojukwu declaring Biafra
Ojukwu

This is the letter the Commander in Chief of the Biafran Armed Forces, Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu wrote to Lt. Col. Victor Banjo commanding him to invade and liberate Western Nigeria (Yorubaland) from the “Hausa/Fulani dominated Nigeria”.

 

From: The Military Governor,
Republic of Biafra Enugu,
22nd August, 1967.
My dear Victor,

1. For some time now, you and I have been discussing the circumstances that have led to the current and inevitable disintegration of what was the Federation of Nigeria. We have been fully convinced that the aim of the Hausa/Fulani complex has ever been, and will ever remain, the total domination of every other part of what was known as the Federation of Nigeria. It is impossible to forget that the crisis which led to the army take over in January 1966, the coup of the Northern soldiers led by Gowon in July 1966, the wholesale and indiscriminate massacre of the people of what is now Biafra- and, to a less degree,the people of the Mid-West and West, including the Yorubas, were all the direct result of Hausa/Fulani attempt to subjugate and use as tools,the gallant people of Western Nigeria namely the Yorubas. We do not need to remind ourselves of the heavy losses in life and property suffered by the Yoruba people in their fight for justice and freedom during 1965.

 

2. Sharing our belief that the people of Yorubaland have a right to live a life of equality and self-respect and justice free of domination and dictatorship from any quarter, you have both identified with the cause of the Biafra struggle for survival and expressed your determination to see the people of Yorubaland freed from Hausa/Fulani domination.
We, the people of Biafra, for our part are willing and have decided to give you and the people of Yorubaland every assistance to achieve your aim.

 

3. After clearing the whole question with my Executive Council, I, as the Commander in Chief of the Biafran Armed Forces, have decided to place at your disposal Biafran forces, for the liberation of
Yorubaland on the following clear conditions:-
(i)You will have nothing to do with the Military Administrator in the Mid-West Territory during your sojourn there prior to your move to the West.
(ii)The willingness and preparedness of Biafra to assist any part of the former Federation of Nigeria wishing and willing to liberate itself from the Hausa/Fulani domination, does not in anyway whatever
imply any inclination on her part to compromise her sovereignty or preserve what remains of the defunct Federation of Nigeria. In other words, our sovereignty and break with Nigeria is irrevocable. Nothing must, therefore be said or done by you or any member of the Liberation Army to give a contrary impression.
(iii)Biafra is determined to maintain and safeguard her sovereignty and ensure that her integrity and safety are never again threatened.
(iv)Biafran troops will, after the liberation of the Yorubaland, remain in that territory only for as long as we in Biafra consider it necessary for the Yorubas to consolidate their position and sovereignty against any external threat.
(v)On the liberation of the Yorubaland, you will be appointed as the Military Governor of that territory.
(vi)The liberation of Western Nigeria will be a prelude to the liberation of all Yorubas up to the River Niger and the severance of all connections between the West and the North at Jebba.
(vii)During the period of Biafrans troops’ presence in your territory, all political measures, statements or decrees shall be subject to the approval, in writing by myself or on my authority.
(viii)Should our troops arrive and liberate Lagos, the government of the Republic of Biafra reserves the right to appoint a Military administrator for the territory. Such an Administrator will remain in office until a merger of that territory with Yorubaland is effected by Biafran troops.
(ix)As soon as possible after your appointment as the Military Governor of Western Nigeria and separation of that territory from Nigeria, you and I must meet to discuss:
(a)the duration of stay of Biafran troops in your territory;
(b)the areas and subjects of cooperation between the liberated sovereign states of Western Nigeria, or by what name it may call itself, and Biafra.

 
4. I do not need to remind you that Biafra regards all Yoruba as friends. As such everything should be done, to ensure the minimum force and loss of life are involved in achieving the objective of liberation.

 

5. It is essential, in order to avoid misunderstanding or confusion, thatall subsequent requests for support be formally made to me by youin writing.

 

6. Will you please signify in writing, your acceptance of the above conditions so that you may leave for Western Nigeria and lead the army of liberation.

 

Yours very sincerely,
signed Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu,
Military Governor and Commander in Chief of Biafran Armed Forces.

victor-banjo
Victor Banjo

Adapted from: A Break in the Silence: Lt. Col. Victor Adebukunola Banjo; pg. 66-68, by F. Adetowun Ogunsheye; Spectrum Books, Ibadan, 2001.

 

What do you think?

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21 thoughts on “Letter from Lt. Col. Ojukwu to Lt. Col. Victor Banjo commanding him to liberate Western Nigeria

    1. In the first place, I did not see any reason it should be kicked out nor did I know why it was removed. History is a tool that can be used to prevent future mistakes and disasters. But thanks to unrelenting agitators, history was returned to Nigerian schools’ curriculum this February. Thank you for your visit and precious comment, Seraph. Have a wonderful day, and kindly do check back.

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  1. People have a way of talking anyhow! What on earth in that letter shows Banjo to be a traitor . It only shows that some people have been full of dirty ambition from the beginning of Nigeria

    Like

  2. This letter gave some insights about he political intents of late col Odumegwu Ojukwu and the short lived Biafran Republic about Nigeria as a political entity.An excerpts from the book ;Nigeria:The challenge of Biafra,written by Arthur A.Nwankwo in 1972 and published by Fourth Dimension Publisher Enugu,goes as follow; “Meanwhile, the Biafran people were taken in by the propaganda about the invincibility of Biafra.This image was fortified by the brilliantly planned And executed invasion of the Mid West Region on 9 August 1967.The eventual collapse of the Mid West venture five Weeks later opened the first fissure that exposed the fallibility of Biafran’s top leadership…. Major Nzegwu was to lead the invasion. But before the D-Day,Nzegwu’s death was confirmed. It was agreed that he should be replaced with an officer of the same standing. Col Nwawo was immediately appointed to command. Then this decision was suddenly changed and Major Victor Banjo(a Yoruba,detained by late Major General Ironsi with other officers in the East in connection with the Jan 1966 coup de tat)was placed in command. By now,the disclosure of the invasion plans was feared and D-Day was pushed forward. It was decoded that the ‘Republic of Benin’ would be declared immediately in order to exploit the spirit of regionalism which was high in the South in 1967.Indeed the sudden preference of Banjo as a Commander of the invading force was on the ground that being a Yoruba,he could most easily contact Yoruba leaders for an alliance in possible North-South conflict.”

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this excerpt, Mr. Olufemi Smith. I really have to get the book as soon as possible. There is also a similar one written by Adewale Ademoyega, one of the main Jan. 1966 coup plotters, tittled “Why We Struck”. The book also detailed the Jan 1966 coup down to the Biafran war. Have you read it?
      Thank you for your visit and comment, Mr. Olufemi Smith. Kindly do check back.

      Like

  3. The content of this letter is self explanatory but the intent is what we cannot realy deduced because even the actors gave some explanation that is one sided or based on emotion. History should be reintroduce back to our curriculum. Thos agitation has brought out some hidden information not known to us.

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  4. Thank you Ichie. You have spoken well. We really need the REAL knowledge of history in this nation. And thanks to relentless agitation, history has been reintroduced in the curriculum of Nigerian schools. Thanks for your visit. Kindly do check back.

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  5. Hi Teslim,
    First of all great Job for what you are doing for Nigerians with this blog. Its officially my best.
    Secondly, was there ever a reply to this letter? If there was, can we see it? i’m too eager to see his reply.

    Like

    1. Hello, Teni snaps. Thanks for your nice words.
      I don’t think Banjo’s reply was documented in black and white. If I come across it anyday, I’ll make sure I share it here. Banjo eventually carried out the orders but failed in accomplishing it. Thank you for your visit, Tenisnaps. I’m honoured. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Col Victor Banjo is a Yoruba hero… He refused to give in to most of the conditions as he can not sell off his people that cheap. That was why he was later killed by firing squad along four others(ifejuana et al) by Ojukwu on the count of treason against the Biafrans, though without given a fair trial…

    Furthermore, the invasion would have been successful as Col Obasanjo was fully battle ready for them at Ibadan being at that time the commander of the barracks & Army Division there..

    I lend my voice to say, HISTORY should be returned to our schools, only if we are ready to pick the positives from it and not the negative that can further lead to deeper entrenched bitters…

    Cheers !!

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  7. Sorry, “I mean WON’T have been successful”….

    Furthermore, the invasion would have been successful as Col Obasanjo was fully battle ready for them at Ibadan being at that time the commander of the barracks & Army Division there..

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  8. I think whatever Ojukwu was smoking whenever he wrote this letter should be banned permanently.
    1. Ojukwu had no rank to order a fellow Lt. Col to carry out an operation.
    2. He made himself supreme leader over the territories.
    3. I assume he had the feeling of invincibility in him
    4. It really is a letter written in bad taste and if I were the recipient, I would have replied with a load of horse dung.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I did not see anything wrong in ojukwu’letter,rather his letter to banjo was to break the amagamation of southern and northern ,he ojukwu said I qout ” Sharing our belief that the people of
    Yorubaland have a right to live a life of
    equality and self-respect and justice free of
    domination and dictatorship from any quarter,
    you have both identified with the cause of the
    Biafra struggle for survival and expressed
    your determination to see the people of
    Yorubaland freed from Hausa/Fulani
    domination.
    We, the people of Biafra, for our part are
    willing and have decided to give you and the
    people of Yorubaland every assistance to
    achieve your aim.
    3. After clearing the whole question with my
    Executive Council, I, as the Commander in
    Chief of the Biafran Armed Forces, have
    decided to place at your disposal Biafran
    forces, for the liberation of
    Yorubaland on the following clear
    conditions:-
    (i)You will have nothing to do with the
    Military Administrator in the Mid-West
    Territory during your sojourn there prior to
    your move to the West.
    (ii)The willingness and preparedness of Biafra
    to assist any part of the former Federation of
    Nigeria wishing and willing to liberate itself
    from the Hausa/Fulani domination, does not
    in anyway whatever
    imply any inclination on her part to
    compromise her sovereignty or preserve what
    remains of the defunct Federation of Nigeria.
    In other words, our sovereignty and break
    with Nigeria is irrevocable. Nothing must,
    therefore be said or done by you or any
    member of the Liberation Army to give a
    contrary impression.
    (iii)Biafra is determined to maintain and
    safeguard her sovereignty and ensure that her
    integrity and safety are never again
    threatened.
    (iv)Biafran troops will, after the liberation of
    the Yorubaland, remain in that territory only
    for as long as we in Biafra consider it
    necessary for the Yorubas to consolidate their
    position and sovereignty against any external
    threat.
    (v)On the liberation of the Yorubaland, you
    will be appointed as the Military Governor of
    that territory.
    (vi)The liberation of Western Nigeria will be a
    prelude to the liberation of all Yorubas up to
    the River Niger and the severance of all
    connections between the West and the North
    at Jebba.
    (vii)During the period of Biafrans troops’
    presence in your territory, all political
    measures, statements or decrees shall be
    subject to the approval, in writing by myself
    or on my authority.
    (viii)Should our troops arrive and liberate
    Lagos, the government of the Republic of
    Biafra reserves the right to appoint a Military
    administrator for the territory. Such an
    Administrator will remain in office until a
    merger of that territory with Yorubaland is
    effected by Biafran troops.
    (ix)As soon as possible after your
    appointment as the Military Governor of
    Western Nigeria and separation of that
    territory from Nigeria, you and I must meet to
    discuss:
    (a)the duration of stay of Biafran troops in
    your territory;
    (b)the areas and subjects of Sharing our belief that the people of
    Yorubaland have a right to live a life of
    equality and self-respect and justice free of
    domination and dictatorship from any quarter,
    you have both identified with the cause of the
    Biafra struggle for survival and expressed
    your determination to see the people of
    Yorubaland freed from Hausa/Fulani
    domination.
    We, the people of Biafra, for our part are
    willing and have decided to give you and the
    people of Yorubaland every assistance to
    achieve your aim.
    3. After clearing the whole question with my
    Executive Council, I, as the Commander in
    Chief of the Biafran Armed Forces, have
    decided to place at your disposal Biafran
    forces, for the liberation of
    Yorubaland on the following clear
    conditions:-
    (i)You will have nothing to do with the
    Military Administrator in the Mid-West
    Territory during your sojourn there prior to
    your move to the West.
    (ii)The willingness and preparedness of Biafra
    to assist any part of the former Federation of
    Nigeria wishing and willing to liberate itself
    from the Hausa/Fulani domination, does not
    in anyway whatever
    imply any inclination on her part to
    compromise her sovereignty or preserve what
    remains of the defunct Federation of Nigeria.
    In other words, our sovereignty and break
    with Nigeria is irrevocable. Nothing must,
    therefore be said or done by you or any
    member of the Liberation Army to give a
    contrary impression.
    (iii)Biafra is determined to maintain and
    safeguard her sovereignty and ensure that her
    integrity and safety are never again
    threatened.
    (iv)Biafran troops will, after the liberation of
    the Yorubaland, remain in that territory only
    for as long as we in Biafra consider it
    necessary for the Yorubas to consolidate their
    position and sovereignty against any external
    threat.
    (v)On the liberation of the Yorubaland, you
    will be appointed as the Military Governor of
    that territory.
    (vi)The liberation of Western Nigeria will be a
    prelude to the liberation of all Yorubas up to
    the River Niger and the severance of all
    connections between the West and the North
    at Jebba.
    (vii)During the period of Biafrans troops’
    presence in your territory, all political
    measures, statements or decrees shall be
    subject to the approval, in writing by myself
    or on my authority.
    (viii)Should our troops arrive and liberate
    Lagos, the government of the Republic of
    Biafra reserves the right to appoint a Military
    administrator for the territory. Such an
    Administrator will remain in office until a
    merger of that territory with Yorubaland is
    effected by Biafran troops.
    (ix)As soon as possible after your
    appointment as the Military Governor of
    Western Nigeria and separation of that
    territory from Nigeria, you and I must meet to
    discuss:
    (a)the duration of stay of Biafran troops in
    your territory;
    (b)the areas and subjects of cooperation
    between the liberated sovereign states of
    Western Nigeria, or by what name it may call
    itself, and Biafra.
    4. I do not need to remind you that Biafra
    regards all Yoruba as friends. As such
    everything should be done, to ensure the
    minimum force and loss of life are involved in
    achieving the objective of liberation.
    5. It is essential, in order to avoid
    misunderstanding or confusion, thatall
    subsequent requests for support be formally
    made to me by youin writing.
    between the liberated sovereign states of
    Western Nigeria, or by what name it may call
    itself, and Biafra.
    4. I do not need to remind you that Biafra
    regards all Yoruba as friends. As such
    everything should be done, to ensure the
    minimum force and loss of life are involved in
    achieving the objective of liberation.
    5. It is essential, in order to avoid
    misunderstanding or confusion, thatall
    subsequent requests for support be formally
    made to me by youin writin” so he was not ready to take over yoruba land,rather to help a fello southerner to remain strong.I love u ojukwu

    Like

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