Denis Ukume, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, has claimed that late Biafra warlord, Odumegwu Ojukwu, wept under his shoulder for forgiveness over role in war.
The 83-year-old said Ojukwu agreed to late Shehu Shagari’s condition to be referred to simply as “Mr” without any military crest if he (Ojukwu) would be granted pardon for his role in the Nigerian Civil War.
Ojukwu had re-entered Nigeria from Ivory Coast on 18 June, 1982 — as a private citizen.
However, he said Ojukwu almost marred his chances of being accorded the amnesty when he flouted the condition a few hours after by referring to himself as “General Odumegwu Ojukwu”, in an appreciation letter he wrote to him following his role in the amnesty deal.
Ukume’s claims were contained in his book, titled: “I believe”, which he published among three others, and recently launched in Abuja.
In the published book, the erstwhile government official said: “Ojukwu was given the condition that he would return to Nigeria as a Mr Odumegwu Ojukwu with no military insignia attached to his name; that his properties or those of his relations that had been confiscated as a result of a decree or edict remained the properties of government; that his properties or those of his relations occupied by government and rents not paid would be fully paid to date and that if those conditions were acceptable to him, the president would consider granting him amnesty.
“Accompanied by the Minister and the Director-General, I took the conditions to a high-profile meeting of the Ivorian governing party which was convened by the president.
“I read the conditions one after the other. Ojukwu accepted all of them. Finally, we then went to a meeting of the Ivorian Executive Council. As the Minister, the DG, and I embraced him in turns, he broke down and wept profusely,” he said.
Late Ojukwu served as the military governor of the Eastern Region of Nigeria