November 8, 2003
Posted to the web November 8, 2003
THE defunct Biafran General who signed the surrender document with Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Phillip Effiong is dead, Radio Nigeria reported yesterday.
Chief Effiong who held the chieftaincy title of Akakang Ibimo Ibom (the people's sword ) was 78.
Details of his death were scanty at press time.
Chief Effiong who was administrator of Biafra after the then Head of State of Biafra Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu had fled to Cote d'Ivoire went on air on January 12, 1970 saying: "I am convinced now that a stop must be put to the bloodshed which is going on as a result of the war. I am also convinced that the suffering of our people must be brought to an immediate end".
He joined the Nigerian Army on July 28, 1945 and rose to the position of ordiance corps member in the colonial army before teaming up with the rebels.
After the war, he was thrown into detention by the then military government of General Yakubu Gowon.
Recounting his experience during the war to Vanguard in a June 1996 interview, he said "I have no regrets whatsoever of my involvement in Biafra or the role I played. The war deprived me of my property, dignity, my name. Yet, I saved so many souls on both sides and by this, I mean Biafra and Nigeria. I'm denied everything; No gratuity no pension. Nothing.
"I felt that I played a role which has kept this country united till today. I never shot anybody, all I did was as a military personnel and officer, I trained soldiers who went to the bush to fight.
"At the end of it all when I saw they (Biafran soldiers) could no longer continue and Ojukwu had fled, I did what was ideal after wide consultation that today Ojukwu is a hero in this country.
"I'm not envious but why am I being persecuted by country I played a significant role in is unity".