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Michigan State University

Nigeria’s Un-Civil War

International Center

October 24, 2023

Talks, Panels, and Presentations

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Dr. Philip Effiong introduces his new book; Nigeria’s Un-Civil War, Memories of a Biafran Child

Philip Effiong reveals the many characters of war: the horror and the chaos, the surrealism and the absurdity and the desperate need to conjure a semblance of normalcy against a backdrop of air raids, starvation and massacre. This is his, and his family’s, story before, during and after the Biafra–Nigeria War of July 1967 to January 1970. He begins in Lagos with the January 1966 coup and describes his high-ranking military father’s narrow assassination escape at the hands of the executors of the second coup six months later. Flight and relocation dog the next three-and-a-half years as his family tries to maintain a sense of stability amid crumbling education, health services and failing infrastructure. Lessons in literacy and numeracy are exchanged for creativity in foraging as food becomes ever scarcer. Death, fear, destitution and the madness in which the family repeatedly finds itself are told obliquely through a child’s eyes and leave the reader gutted by the senselessness and cruelty of war, yet equally buoyed by the resilience of the Biafran people’s inextinguishable hope.