I mentioned last year that i have always wanted to visit the National War Museum in Umuahia, Abia State. This January i finally had the opportunity to do that. I came back to Enugu early this January and decided to use the opportunity to visit the museum, from Enugu to Umuahia is about 2 hours plus drive and the journey didn’t pose a challenge what so ever as it is located in the state capital and doesn’t come with hill climbing or forest wandering. The vehicle i boarded brought me to Umuahia and i took a keke(tricycle) which brought me to the museum.
On getting inside the museum premises, i went and optioned a card which cost only 200 naira after which i was directed to the exhibition room. First, i was asked to keep everything on me including my camera and phones with them as its not allowed inside the gallery. I did as i was asked and only went in with my diary and pen, when i asked for a tour guide i was told i don’t need one. The Museum Has Three Galleries which are: 1. Traditional warfare gallery. 2. Armed Forces Gallery. and 3. The Civil War Gallery located in Ojukwu bunker. There is also an Open Air Museum which is in three sections, exhibits heavy military hardware used during the Nigerian Civil War by the Army, the Navy and the Air force.
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The first gallery in the museum is the Traditional warfare gallery where images and objects of war fought in Africa during the colonial and pre colonial era were displayed.
Battles Between Africa and Europe over the years like: The Shaka De Zulu in 1824, The Amazons of Dahomey 1890, Menelik- The Ethiopian Emperor 1833, Ahmed The Egyptian 1841, Mutesa of Buganda and others were all displayed in the gallery. The gallery also has images of Great Historic battles between Europeans, other displays include stones, and other implements of war.
After the tour of the gallery i proceeded to the next gallery which is an extension of the Traditional warfare gallery with focus on Nigeria traditional warfare and technology. This section of the gallery has images and artifacts from different Nigeria tribes, other things in this gallery includes, War musical instrument, war charms and costumes, fire arms and others.
Before heading down the Ojukwu bunker which is the Civil War Gallery, i took a peek at the Armed Forces Gallery showing the evolution of Nigerian Army from 1963 to date, the gallery also has images of casualties of Nigeria January 18th and July 29th coup d-etat.
At the stairway of the Ojukwu Bunker are Images of war generals during the Biafra – Nigeria War, at the left is that of the Biafra and the right are those of Nigeria. The Ojukwu bunker is about 30 feet deep and served as the residence of the Biafra war Lord during the War. In the Bunkers is a living room, bedroom, kitchen and the announcement room for V.O.B The Voice Of Biafra Radio. Currently the bunkers serves as the Civil War Gallery houses images from the Nigeria Biafra war mostly that of the Biafra. Things in display at the bunker are crest of Biafra coat of Arms. Images from scenes from the battle, War Victims, External Aids, End of the War, Re unification, others are the Eastern Nigeria Coat of Arm which was first used as Biafra coat of arm at the initial stage of the war and the Biafra Coat of Arms, both coat of Arms are in display in the announcement room of the Voice Of Biafca Vob. After the tour i made my way out through the back exist of the bunker and continued my tour of the museum.
After i left the bunker i went and took by belongings and proceeded with the outdoor tour of the museum which has displays of warships, military aircrafts, armoured tanks, “Ogbunigwe Launcher” Biafran bomber aircraft, Biafra armoured car, armoured personnel troop carrier, Biafran Grenade Launcher, Biafran mobile artillery machine and many others used by Nigerian Army brought to the museum from Army base in Kaduna. While touring the open Air museum i took some picture but wasn’t able to to inside the warship because it was being renovated. Most of the displays at the museum was built by the Biafrans during the war while some where captured from the Nigeria troops, like the warship captured in bonny, and armoured personel troop carrier nicknamed Oguta boy, captured from the Nigerian troops in Oguta. Most of the military aircrafts in the museum were donated to Nigeria by Egypt and Russia.
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The tour was really educative, had the chance to see some of the things i have read online. After the museum tour i left for Aba.
Photos From the Museum.