NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
18th July, 1967 : Some 2.000 Britons and 800 Americans are fleeing from Biafra in cars and canoes as Nigerian Federal troops step up their two-pronged drive into the break-away Eastern Region, but it is not an easy journey. Fred McKinnon, a British oil-drilling executive, said the his group encountered 31 road-blocks before they reached Onitsha to cross the Niger by canoe. The Nigerian forces, pushing into rebel territory from the north, have captured the university town of Nsukka, and in the south they have taken Ogoja. The Federal leader, Yakubu Gowon, now promoted to general, says the military successes are largely due to skilful use of artillery, baked up by infantry action. Most of Nigeria’s oil is produced in the area held by the Biafran forces under Colonel Ojukwu, and he is insisting that British companies operating the concessions must now pay him the royalties. When Shell-BP was reported to be ready to pay up, the Federal authorities retaliated by blockading all oil exports.