Nigeria is paying off her last overseas debt this month -- just two years after the civil war with the former secessionist state of Biafra.
GV & CU Former Biafran children singing (2 shots)
CU Two former Biafran children in clinic
SCU Child's feet and legs PAN UP TO face
SV Uli airstrip PAN ACROSS TO wreckage of plane in bush
GV & LV Wrecked plane
SV Reporter and Cyprian Ekwensi, former chief Biafran propagandist and world famous novelist
SV Ekwensi speaking
GV Flag PAN DOWN TO soldiers on duty
SV & CU Soldier (2 shots)
LV ZOOM INTO CU of war-damaged building
CU & SV Shelled buildings (4 shots)
SV Ibos in market place
SV PAN ALONG goods on market stalls (2 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 7: EKWENSI: "Reconciliation is taking place in that my own people, the Ibos, are able to go practically anywhere in Nigeria if they have the means to go, and to sort of re-activate themselves -- go back to their former businesses, their former professions and so on. It is taking place.
REPORTER: There was great bitterness before and during the war, and some of it, I remember you sharing yourself. How can this be forgotten?
EKWENSI: Well, time is a great healer, you know. And it is actions that help to win confidence over a period of time. Life dramatists itself. And what you see, for instance, that what you would like to happen is taking place -- through not at a speed at which you want it -- your confidence gradually begins to return. But, of course, it is impossible to replace the dead."
Initials OS/1505 OS/1451
This extract from a BBC film looks at the conditions and some of the problems still facing the Ibo people in the East Central State today.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Nigeria is paying off her last overseas debt this month -- just two years after the civil war with the former secessionist state of Biafra.
Finance Commissioner Alhaji Shehu Shagari said the total settlement of GBP250 million sterling was the backlog of import debts. Its repayment -- two months ahead of schedule -- was made possible by the buoyant Nigerian economy and increased earnings from the country's oil boom, he said.
But there has been no boom for the ten million Ibos who launched out into rebellion five years ago -- only to be defeated by the Nigerian army on January 15, 1970.
Hundreds of thousands of Nigerian lives were lost during and after the war -- and when it ended, fear swept across the world that the collapse of Biafra might trigger off a massacre. For the secessionist state's propagandists had always alleged genocide. No such thing happened.
Instead, a nation symbolised by the rising (or setting) sun on its Glag was born, and died. The dead were buried. And the world, it seem, forget.
Today, Biafra has merged into "One Nigeria" as the East Central State. The physical scars can still be seen in the shattered schools and homes -- and in the disabled men and hungry children romancing the towns. The events of the war are still fresh, the bitterness easily recalled. But the federalists and former secessionists have travelled a long way on the difficult path of reconciliation.
SYNOPSIS: Biafra -- now a part of "One Nigeria". These children may be orphans, but they DID survive.
It's two years now since the war ended -- since we saw those pictures of starving babies. Many died. Others are against with their families. And some still need care.
Millions owed their lives to Biafra's only lifeline -- Uli airstrip. Forty flights a night supplied vital food and arms. Now, it's just a monument.
Cyprian Ekwensi, Biafra's chief propagandist, talked about reconciliation:
There are still more than a hundred army battalions in war areas. Many soldiers can't be demobilised because unemployment remains high.
And if reconciliation is working well, reconstruction has scarcely started. The Ibos just don't have enough money.
The vast market in Enugu, the state capital, is full of people. And everybody seems to be selling, very few buying.
But progress HAS been made -- and today, at least, there's enough food for everyone.