November 2, 1967

On this day, an announcement was made by the BBC London, in an early morning African Programme, that the rebels in the East Central State of Nigeria had been operating an office in Lisbon, capital of Portugal.

According to the BBC correspondent, the office which flied a flag of the rebels’ emblem of the Rising Sun, had powerful radio transmitters and receivers installed in it. The office was reportedly headed by an expatriate who was said to have worked in the Nigerian Federal Government Civil Service. The Correspondent said he had found some twenty Nigerians – rebel agents of Mr. Ojukwu – in the sitting room of the new office, and added that there were also white advisers from the continent. The office, he claimed, was mainly charged with buying arms for the secessionist regime of Mr. Emeka Ojukwu. Plane loads of ammunition were being flown twice weekly to Sao Tome, the Portuguese island near Angola. Those planes were being flown by South African pilots among other white mercenaries, the Correspondent added.

However, the Portuguese Government, also on this day, denied recognizing the rebel regime but explained that the “Biafrans were allowed to open the office as a place of rest” for their emissaries on a world-wide cruise for arms.

The correspondent confirmed that the Jozina, a Dutch boat, captured with arms for the rebels by the Nigerian Navy during the previous week really started its journey from Lisbon.

Also, the army, on this day, confirmed that large quantities of arms and ammunition were unloaded from the ship. The arms and ammunition were exhibited by the Federal Military Government at the Army Ordinance Depot in Yaba, Lagos. All the arrested members of the ship – seven men and a pregnant woman, said to be Dutch, Spaniards and Scots were seen on this day in the Force CID office, Lagos looking cheerful as they talked and joked among themselves.

Emeka Ojukwu

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