Genbuhari’s Account

I was 3 years old when war broke out and my earliest memory was hiding in animal stables with my mother and sisters.
My memory is very sketchy so I would tell what I can recall. My father who worked in the ministry of workd was in the UK studying when war broke out.

I recall there were many families hundreds of people hiding in the same shelters which I imagine was built for farm animals.

Later I recall being in Umuahia where I we lived in a room where pig /animal food was stored and whilst my mother was out trying to earn some money, we were gorging our selves on the pig /animal feed , a type of flour substance, as there were rarely any food to eat most days and we were lucky if we managed to get one meal a day.

My health was affected and I came down with Kwashakor and my sisters had a common condition known as “standstill” where they can freeze in middle of walking. i think this may have been cause by mental fear of stepping on landmine.

I remembered also that I had my first girlfriend during my time at Umuahia and by the this time I was 6 years old and she was a year older and we became intimate and were caught by some of my older cousins and they would not let me forget the incident for the rest of my childhood smiley

Salt was like gold dust and my mother had to walk miles to her sisters to get some and later started to trade in it.

I remember once when there were some bags of charitable food being distributed in the town centre and there was a mighty scramble; one person was beaten to death for trying to be greedy or stealing.

I remembered that people were discouraged from carrying large white metal pans / containers on their head during day time as it was said to attract bombs from Aircrafts.

I remembered that all the local young boys were pre-occupied by playing soldiers games and we had wooden guns carved out and marched and played at fighting wars.

I remembered that when i was in my home village, the Biafran army were coming and conscripting any males of age usually approx 15years upward and many mothers were disgusing their sons in women’s clothes.

We were in Umauhaia when the war ended and though we were sad we lost the war, the overwhelming emotion was to be reliefed and thankful that the suffering was over.
On the sides of the roads Biafran soldiers dumped their weapons in big heaps.

I recall witnessing the Nigerian Army and some Hausas in their traditional attire driving through the streets of Umuahia on top of army trucks as we watched them from our front yards.