A veteran of the war, who was with the 63 NA, and served with the 3 Marine Commando, retired Warrant Officer Monday Ranse said war is not something anyone should pray for.

A veteran of the war, who was with the 63 NA, and served with the 3 Marine Commando, retired Warrant Officer Monday Ranse said war is not something anyone should pray for.

What do you make of the agitations going on?

People should be careful.  Anyone seeking war today, especially among the younger generation, should  ask their fathers and grandfathers to share with them what the experience of the civil war was like and they will stop agitating for it. What we experienced was worse than the current insecurity situation we are having across the country. It was an all-out war.

 

What was the experience like?

When the war broke out, we were taken from Plateau to Kaduna and then to Lagos State, before flying straight to Port Harcourt, to fight at the front line against the Biafran soldiers.

We were in the forest in Port Harcourt for months, under the sun, in the rain, and in the cold without any shelter or without taking our bath. We wore our military boots for days without taking them off.

And whenever one took his boots off, he would discover that the socks inside has gone bad and he would squeeze out the water from what was left of the socks and wear them back. However, we were given a kind of powder to be applying on our foot, so that they won’t get rotten inside the boots, since we rarely took them off.

We did not have time to sit down in the bush to eat, as we were always eating our meals amidst fighting and firing of guns. Most times, we did not have enough to eat and the only thing that was sustaining us was raw cassava which we dug up to eat.  The opponents understood the terrain more than us and they had locally made explosives that were dangerous, so sometimes we came under fire from some of their soldiers. What helped us was our numbers, which helped us to defeat the opponents.

It is needless to talk about the casualties. In fact, I never thought that I would return alive.  We were paid five pounds monthly, but were promised 19 pounds. We have not received the arrears till date.

 

Despite what you experienced; some Nigerians are still agitating for separation, why?

I think it is due to bad governance. Government should put in place a mechanism to ensure good governance. If we have that, the agitations will die naturally.  No region should feel that it is unfairly treated. The South-south agitation, for instance, was tackled by late President Umaru Yar’adua, as he initiated good empowerment programmes for them, including the amnesty initiative.