November 7, 1967

 

On this day, the British High Commission in Lagos said that the rebel leader, Emeka Ojukwu, ignored all warnings against secession, and the consequences of his rebellious acts. According to a statement from the High Commission, Ojukwu, then Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, was specifically warned beforehand that if the East seceded, the British Government did not expect him to obtain any international support.

The British High Commissioner, Sir David Hunt, was, on this day, commenting on suggestions that the British Government might have deterred the East from seceding if it had made its stand clear before secession. Sir Hunt said, “We did. It did not deter them.”

The statement added, “Britain has neither the right nor the wish to intervene in the internal affairs of an independent nation like Nigeria. But we made it very plain: both to the Federal and Eastern authorities and before secession that what Britain desired for Nigeria was stability and unity.” The High Commissioner declared that Braitain’s policy was to recognize and support the government headed by Major General Yakubu Gowon.

 

Also on this day, One of Emeka Ojukwu’s emissaries called for Commonwealth intervention to bring about peace talks and ceasefire in the fighting in Nigeria. The emissary, Mr. James Udo-Affia, a member of the rebel regime’s so-called executive council and “commissioner for health”, told a press conference in London, on this day, that the Commonwealth could explore ways of bringing the warring sides together and getting ceasefire agreed. Military aid to either side should cease while peace talks were in progress, he said.

Mr. Udo-Affia said that reports suggesting that the rebels were being conquered by the Federal forces were far from the truth. “Our people are fighting back and successfully too, so do not write us off so early.” he said. He was accompanied by other rebel agents – Mr. C.E. Mojekwu, “commissioner for home affairs and local government,” and Dr. Kenneth Dike, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan.

 

 

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