The daughter of late Lt. Col Victor Banjo, Mrs. Olayinka Omigbodun, has alleged that Biafran warlord, late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu betrayed and killed his father.
Olayinka, a Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan, recalled how Banjo’s young family was thrown into disarray upon his arrest and detention.
She also lamented what she described as the unjust treatment meted out to her father.
Olayinka made the assertion while explaining why she thinks Ojukwu killed her father, in an interview with The Nation.
The late Lt. Col Victor Banjo was publicly executed reportedly on the orders of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Odumegwu Ojukwu, who was the then Military Head of the defunct Biafra Republic.
Banjo was an Ijebu from Ogun State but died fighting on the Biafran side during the Nigerian civil war.
According to Mrs. Olayinka, “He (Ojukwu) conveniently blamed Banjo and three other men. Lt. Col Ifeajuna, Alele and one other for sabotaging the Biafran efforts.
“He needed to tell the people who were losing faith in him something new as a reason for the defeats. His fear about the imminent fall of Enugu was also driving him to do something.
“So, on trumped up charges, my father and three other men were tried by a Kangaroo court and killed by firing squad in 1967.
“The trial did not reveal any evidence linking Banjo with any act of treason against Ojukwu or the Biafran government.
“In fact, it took a second military tribunal to convict Banjo because the first tribunal stated that the evidence presented to it was insufficient to prove Banjo’s guilt in the case. Unsatisfied and not ready to let my father off the hook, Ojukwu constituted another tribunal speedily.
“Apparently, it was a clear case of sacrificing someone as a scapegoat because while my father was looking forward to assisting Ojukwu further with the Biafran war in spite of the huge risk and sacrifice involved for him as a person, Ojukwu was looking for a way of implicating him for sabotage so as to retain the control of the region. Ojukwu betrayed my father by killing him.
“Well, they were friends and friends disagree. They probably must have disagreed on that before then because my father never hid his patriotism. But again, I was told that hours after the execution, Enugu fell.
“I am a Professor. Human beings are very fickle. We are wont to always look for excuses. For scapegoats; so, my father was simply the sacrifice.
“He knew my father was up for one Nigeria. Even before drafting him into the war on his side, he knew my father was a patriot who wanted one united Nigeria.
“After the war we left Nigeria for Sierra Leone but my mother brought us back because my father, in his letters, had insisted we must be raised as Nigerians. So, his patriotism was never in doubt. Ojukwu merely executed him to cover up his own failures as a leader of the war.”