n Africa Insight - Trauma and memory - explaining the longevity of the Biafra secessionist movement in Nigeria

Volume 49 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


The last four decades have witnessed a growing literature on the Biafra question in Nigeria. Still, the trauma of the Nigerian Civil War continues to spill over into contemporary Nigerian politics. No ethnic group feels this trauma more than the Igbo. Although the accounts of the war are well documented, the link between the traumas of the time vis-à-vis the prolonged Biafra secessionism remains underexplored in literature. Building on the theory of trauma as memory retrieval, this article argues that Biafra secessionist agitations persist because the federal government of Nigeria continues to resonate the experiences of the Civil War through some calculated actions. The findings of this article have implications for both the progress of the Igbo people and the stability of the Nigerian state.

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