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IN GOD I TRUST





Orphans of Biafra

By;

Meto Adoglo



Based On A True Event.

Prologue

An Orphaned Child victim of the Nigerian civil war 1967-1970 shares his experiences much equivalent to the fate children in other war crippled countries suffer; tales of neglect and brutality. Little is known about the Orphans of Biafra who lived through a civil war of which so much have been written. Much of what you’re about to read is a recount of a surviving biafran Orphan, giving response to an interview, intent on illuminating the dark hidden truths of a war whose heroes have gone unpunished.

Uche

We lay hidden, deep within a wet and dense northern mangrove –Enduring heavy whistling breaths, frantic heartbeats; terrified. We lay silent, listening to the sound of pain pouring out the city of Kaduna; the cries of our mothers, our fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and tribesmen as several northern mobs realized our treachery thus; concluding it was a crime to be Eastern. From several north–eastern populated communities we were rounded up for torture and execution.

I am Uche Olisa and this is my story, an untold tale dedicated to the ntire“Orphans of Biafra”


Interviewer


I sat face to face, one of the most distinctive looking veteran I had met. This handsome old devil was in his late fifties but he wielded; the swagger of 20 old and the class of a 35 year old. A fair complexioned, tall bulky individual; his full hair entirely covered in gray –the good kind of grey, is lips pink, his eyes light brown, his skin clear but lightly wrinkled. He wore a tropical Italian beach t-shirt on top a combat nicker, and the toms he wore made his appearance appealing. He told me after the interview he was headed for the beach with a few friends. Anyone can see this old veteran reveled in the night life.


What do you remember of life before the war?”

Uche giggled, his expression was lit. Still smiling in his thoughtful reflection, he quenched his thirst with a cool glass of water I had previously offered. He’s smile ensured me he had nothing but fond memories to tell.”



Uche

Before the war, life was special. My parents were devout Catholics; Father was a successful merchant. His wealth made sure we enjoyed a life of comfort. My brother Emeka was a man after my father’s heart. He had all the characteristics to succeed my father’s business, father once said he had never met a youth whose ambition rivaled Emeka’s. Emeka harnessed so much quality; he was loyal, obedient, intelligent, strong, reserved, calculative and my father’s personal favorite –he was a good hunter. Father enjoyed the outdoor wildlife, hunting with Emeka, he shot down birds, wild pigs, even one time a leopard. I on the other couldn’t stand the outdoors, I was considered weak, judged by my lanky physique –I excelled only on academic intellects but my father couldn’t care, i was the last born of the house – so I was considered a pet for my mother.

“Mommy’s boy” they called me; I never cared, i loved my momma –hell I still do.

Make no mistake, my father might not have been impressed for my outdoor skills but he was damn right a good husband and father. I was born in the north, i knew only Kaduna, and though we were easterners i had never seen our home town of Asaba. For a very longtime Asaba didn’t matter to me, the north was my home –after all, she was all I knew. Her beauty in nature was unparalleled; her high ground rocks and terrain were beauty of green forestry, her soils were so fertile even strange seeds bloomed; Kaduna was second to none I’d ever seen. I loved my school and friends; i was a happy child. Easterners and westerners formed community settlements identical to our homeland; making us the non-indigenes feel a version of home away from home.

It was no secrete a faction of the northerner’s weren’t comfortable with our settlement in their lands; these factions claimed we were invaders who seek nothing but the riches of their lands and people. But so far, the easterners had managed to coexist in peace with then the majority of northerners. My brother and I attended Command Kaduna Military Secondary School; i was in my first year of secondary education while my brother was in his fourth year. We had a lot of northern friends, with the children tribe didn’t seem to matter; we were one on the playing grounds and in our classrooms. My class teacher Hadjiat Nusurat enjoyed reminiscing with her favorite students. With me, it wasn’t just about class positions –it was much more. She was in love with my brain; the questions I asked, my perspective, my definition of subjects outside school textbooks context. She claimed she had never taught a student like me –that made me feel special.


1967

But by 67, the prospect of eastern secession threatened the peace of the land, soon it became obvious war was certain. Mother tried persuading father to have us flee the north while we still could but he chose wealth over precaution and paid the ultimate price. Northern mobs arose, fuelled with passion of eastern hatred; took laws into their hands and assumed a purge of easterners from northern lands. Easterners were dragged out of their homes –beaten and executed. My parents bowed to this fate, forcing my brother and myself to embark on the furthest journey of our lives. Slowly but surely, after what was a perilous journey we found our way back home to Asaba.



The D-Day

Interviewer


What do you remember of the D-Day?”


At this stage of the interview, Uche paused a while in reflection of the past. I could see the horror his face failed to conceal; the ordeal, the trauma all lingered with a memory he now had to share”


Uche

The day hell broke free.

I remember the northern students screaming, shouting for their eastern friends and colleagues to run or hide as a northern violent mob were bound for our school. The confusion was overwhelming, just as my brother appeared to run away with me, my teacher Nusurat convinced him it was the wrong option to take, instead she took us to the school latrine, she opened the lid and indicated this was the best hide out in the entire school. Right then, I fancied my odds taking on the angry mob, but my brother once again made the decision on my behalf. Sensing my hesitance, with zero time to spend –he shoved me into a pool of diluted shit and piss. Nusurat closed the lid and ran off. It was the most disgusting sight i has then seen. Large maggots swarms the length of the pit, while rat’s the bases of the pit fed off the shit they fancied, the smell was far much worse than the sight, it didn’t take time for my to vomit. Emeka gave me his jacket to tie up my nose and reduce the latrine’s stinker that unsettled my tommy.

My first sight of the school fields since my brother and myself concealed ourselves to the schools latrine was a total shock, the field was covered with the corpses of students, teachers; all of eastern heritage. Imagine a 13 year old who had never seen a corpse, regard the bodies of his classmates, friends and teachers. Some decapitated, shot and even burnt. That evening, i saw the face of death and it changed me, I know it did but i didn’t cry, i just stood motionless; stony eyed regarding a green field of blood, sand and death. Chaos roamed the land and it beckoned the blood of easterners. Easterners were dragged out of their homes and executed, their shops and property were looted or destroyed. I begged my brother we should return to check on parents but he made me understand our community had been overrun by the northerners;


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