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Nigeria's Un-Civil War (Hardback)

Memories of a Biafran Child

Military > Pre-WWI

By Dr Philip Effiong
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781399066013
Published: 2nd June 2023

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'The peace had been desecrated. I knew because people spoke in low tones and laughter dried up. Outside, things unfolded without grace or colour, even the harmattan leaves were more skeletal than usual. The sun still shone but didn’t smile; it was as if it could tell that the worst was yet to come. Change should not have been bad, but this one was heavy and stubborn. Months later I learned about the 15 January 1966 coup d’état.'

In Nigeria’s un-Civil War: Memories of a Biafran Child, Philip Effiong reveals the many characters of war: the horror and the chaos, the surrealism and the absurdity and the desperate need to conjure a semblance of normalcy against a backdrop of air raids, starvation and massacre. This is his, and his family’s, story before, during and after the Biafra–Nigeria War of July 1967 to January 1970. He begins in Lagos with the January 1966 coup and describes his high-ranking military father’s narrow assassination escape at the hands of the executors of the second coup six months later. Flight and relocation dog the next three-and-a-half years as his family tries to maintain a sense of stability amid crumbling education, health services and failing infrastructure. Lessons in literacy and numeracy are exchanged for creativity in foraging as food becomes ever scarcer. Death, fear, destitution and the madness in which the family repeatedly finds itself are told obliquely through a child’s eyes and leave the reader gutted by the senselessness and cruelty of war, yet equally buoyed by the resilience of the Biafran people’s inextinguishable hope.

Author interviewed by Punch magazine.
Read the full article here.

Punch magazine

About Dr Philip Effiong

Philip Uko Effiong is the son of Major General Philip Efiong, second in command to the Biafran head of state, Odumegwu Ojukwu, and principle negotiator in the eventual peace proceedings. Philip has taught at tertiary level for over twenty years and holds a PhD in drama from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the United States. He received his Master’s in African Diaspora Literature and a Bachelor’s degree in English, both from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Prior to joining Michigan State University, in the spring of 2017, Philip taught drama, fiction, nonfiction, the oral tradition and writing at various Nigerian, Ghanaian and American universities. In addition to a book on African-American drama, Philip has published several articles that cover a range of topics in the humanities.

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