My Dear Compatriots:
We have arrived at one of the greatest moments of the
history in our nation. A great moment of victory for
national unity and reconciliation. We have arrived at
the end of a tragic and painful conflict.
Thirty months ago we were obliged to take up arms
against out brothers who were deceived and misled into
armed rebellion against their fatherland by the former
Lieut-Col. Ojukwu. Our objective was to crush the
rebellion; to maintain the territorial integrity of
our nation; to assert the ability of the blackman to
build a strong, progressive and prosperous, modern
state and to ensure respect, dignity and equality in
the comity of nations for our posterity.
I salute you once again for the courage, loyalty and
steadfastness of our fighting troops, and the loyal
support and sacrifice of all Nigerians. I pay tribute
to the courage and resourcefulness of those who have
fought so long against lawful troops, as victims of
Ojukwu's vicious propaganda and the machinations of
certain foreign Governments.
You will have heard the broadcast of Lieut.-Col.
Effiong asking the remnants of the secessionist troops
to lay down their arms. This is in accord with our
appeal. I accept in good faith Lieut.-Colonel
Effiong's declaration accepting the OAU resolutions
supporting the unity and territorial integrity of
Nigeria. I urge all the secessionist troops to act
honorably and lay down their arms in an orderly
manner. Instructions have been issued to all field
commanders of their Nigerian Army to put into
immediate effect to contingency arrangements for the
mass surrender of secessionist forces. The officers
of the secessionist troops are urged to send
emissaries to Federal field commanders at once to work
out detailed arrangements for orderly surrender. All
field commanders will take all necessary measures to
give full protection to surrendering troops. Field
commanders are instructed to push and establish
effective Federal presence in all areas remaining
under secessionist control. Federal troops in
carrying out this directive will be accompanied by
Police units and will exercise all care and shoot only
if they encounter resistance. I appeal to all
remaining secessionist forces to co-operate with
Federal troops to avoid any further loss of life. All
Federal troops must continue to observe the letter and
spirit of the code of conduct issued at the beginning
of the military operations.
We reiterate our promise of a general amnesty for all
those misled into the futile attempt to disintegrate
the country. Federal troops, East-Central State
officials and authorized relief workers in the field
will take adequate care of all civilians in the
liberated areas. We must all demonstrate our will for
honourable reconciliation within a united Nigeria.
Fellow countrymen, with your continued loyalty and
dedication to the national cause, we shall succeed in
healing the nation's wounds. We must all welcome,
with open arms, the people now freed from the tyranny
and deceit of Ojukwu and his gang.
Long live one united Nigeria.
We thank God for His mercies.
(1) Broadcast at midnight on 12 January 1970 (Federal
Ministry of Information Press Release No. 31\1970).