After 153 years under colonial rule, Nigeria gains independence from Britain. Nigeria is a almagation of more than 200 ethnic groups. The nation is divided into three regions based on the three major ethnic group: Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.
The previous years had been marked with chaotic elections and Tiv (an ethnic group in Nigeria) riots. A coup led by the Nigeria military murdered the prime minister, the premier of the north and major officers. It was seen as an Igbo coup because most of the people in the coup were Igbos and most of the people killed were Northerners - excluding an Igbo officer. The coup failed and was put down by an Army officer, Major General Aguiyi Ironsi, who happened to be Igbo.
From May 1966, a series of riots by northerners led to the killing, by axes and machine guns, of about 30,000 Igbos. This led to a mass immigration of Igbos back to the east. In July of that same year, northerners staged a counter-coup, killing the Igbo military president Ironsi. General Yakubu Gowon, a non-Hausa northerner, took over.
Citing the northern massacres of the Igbos, the military governor of the east, Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu, declared the secession of the south-east region from Nigeria as the Republic of Biafra, an independent nation on 30 May, 1967. Nigeria rejects the secession of this oil-filled region. Peace talks in Aburi, Ghana, fail, leading up to the war from July 6,1967 to January 9, 1970.
A Nigerian blockade brought widespread starvation and a disease kwarshokoi, known for the extended belly and large heads from lack of protein. Bernard Koucher, a French doctor who voluntered with the Red Cross in Biafra, witnessed the murdering of civilians and the starvation and when he went back to France, criticizing the Nigerian government.
The war ends January 9, 1790. General Gowon calls for reconiliation of the people. In exchange for Biafran pounds in the bank, each Biafran was offered 20 Nigerian pounds. The war displaced thousands of Igbos. Many who had fled their homes during the war came to find their homes occupied.