At the end of the Nigerian Civil War - the government made popular the saying "No Victor, No Vanquished".

It appears to be only in newspapers that the saying holds water. In reality people are counting their losses and some others seem they are getting ready for round two.

But do they really know the cost of the war and the price that those on the battle fields had to pay?

Retired Corporal Samuel Abu fought on the side of the Nigerian Government in the 1967-1970 Civil War.

Abu is now in his early 70s, but he still sees people dying in his dreams and hears their cries loud in clear banging in his head.

In an exclusive chat with Bounce News, Corporal Abu says sudden death by a bullet is actually easier to bear than hear people murmur their growing desire to take Biafra by force again. 

“I joined the army during the Civil War, 1968 to be precise.

"My brother and I went for the recruitment exercise in Ilorin where I was eventually selected. From there, we were taken to Kaduna for a short training, after which some of us were selected and taken to Ikeja Cantonment in Lagos where I trained for six months before my graduation.

The War

Abu was not given time off after completing his training at military school. His services were needed right there on the front line.

12 months after the war began several young men like Abu with promising futures were wasted within seconds of arrival at the front.

“Immediately after graduation, we were taken by air straight to war front. We arrived in Port Harcourt from where we were taken to Abak in Akwa Ibom State where we fought the war.

“The war was so hot when we got there, straight ahead we were deployed to different companies in the battalion. As we landed, we ran into our trenches and some even died during the process, but I thank God for sparing my life."

Close Shave

Painfully, he lost a very close colleague, who was more like a brother to him. Samuel was a few feet away from Abudu.

He will never forget that day, that moment, and everything that transpired on the battlefield in Abak.

“This my friend was called Abudu, we trained together during the recruitment and we were both selected. When they sent us to war front, we were in the same company and the same battalion.

“We were firing, fighting, advancing together, but suddenly I just heard his cry. I turned to look, I just saw him on the ground, the bullet went straight into his head, before he could be taken to the hospital, he died and was buried immediately in the war front. I was so touched and started praying to God to spare my life.”

Days turned to weeks and weeks to months but the war was still getting tougher. Each minute they were alive left like eternity. The Biafrans were quite resistant and their commander were former members of the Nigerian Army.

Similar tactics were deployed by both sides and their strategies cancelled out each other. Soldiers died on either side. Child soldiers were then recruited and the Nigerian Airforce rained bombs on suspected Biafran hideouts.

People died much more than was officially reported.

Agitation for Biafra

Corporal Abu, who has spent the past decades serving God, still wonders how he survived the war.

He got married immediately after the battle and is currently a father of nine children, most of whom are parents themselves. He is also proud to have 15 grandchildren, and their presence brings joy to his heart.

When ever he remembers his friends who were not as lucky, he wonders what will be the fate of his young grandchildren if another episode of the 'senseless war' was to begin again.

“I give glory to God to be alive today, I did not even know I will be alive to marry and have children. By God’s grace I am enjoying my family. I have 15 grandchildren and am so grateful for that."

Abu says he can predict what would happen if another war starts.

"No one will be spared. The outcome will be disastrous to all, innocent and guilty, young and old, citizens and aliens, men and women, children and adult, all tribes, all religions and all cultures."

He advised the agitators to stick to dialogue no matter how long it takes.

“Anything God approves must come to pass, and anything not approved by God will not see the light of the day.

“My suggestion is that lets do it accordingly. Cameroon was part of Nigeria before they got their own country peacefully. In the same process, they should follow the law and if God approve for them to go, then it will surely come to pass.

“But the way the youths are going about it today is not worth it, it will cause another war in Nigeria, which nobody prays for because lots of lives will be lost.

“Secondly, if they take it by force, there will be issues with boundary, but if it is done peacefully, all that will be settled even before the secession."

The real cost of the war is beyond lives and generations lost. It's about the psychological wounds that would never heal. It's about the personalized history and biased tales that each tribes chooses to alter while informing for the next generation.

It's the past lies told on both sides that are fueling the growing discontent and intolerance.