Col. Nwawo: Journalists’ Group Pushes For Befitting Burial

By Akanimo Sampson
Journalists’  in Rivers State under the umbrella of Port Harcourt Press Club, are pressing  for a national hero’s burial for the late Conrad  Dibie Nwawo, a retired Army Colonel.
They are predicating their advocacy on his national and international stature and  scores of his  heroics when he served his country.
The death of Nwawo  a distinguished Nigerian Army officer,  and gallant Biafran war hero  on Saturday February 27, 2016, at his residence in Onicha Olona, Aniocha-North local government area of Delta State, once again is a sad reminder of Nigeria’s ever disappearing clan of pre and post war heroes most who had died unsung.
Born  in 1924 in Onicha Olona , Nwawo joined  the Nigerian Army in 1950  as regula soldier and was commissioned as officer in 1954 with service number 10 which made senior to Philip Effiong and Emeka Ojukwu who were commissioned in 1956 and 1957 respectively
Co-ordinator of the Press Club, Joe Ezuma, said on Wednesday that he was a  stout officer and courageous foot Soldier, Nwawo’s  heroics, both in  the Nigerian Army where he rose to the rank of Colonel and in Biafra where he rose to  a Brigadier –General gained national and international recognition.
He  demonstrated  confounding officerly bravery when he shrewdly  persuaded victorious but rampaging Major Chukwuma  Kaduna Nzeogwu to  Major Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi  after the 1966 coup.
One of the major foreign exploits of Nwawo, according to the club,  was  his gallantry during the United Nations (UN) sponsored intervention in Congo in 1960, which  drew global media attention when the troup he commanded during the Congo campaign were cut off  from supplies and communications. He had to fight his way through the line and reconnected his tropps with the UN forces.
”This earned him British Royal awar  as he one of the only two Nigerians that received the prestigious Royal Military Cross from the Queen of England in the history of the Nigerian Army. Also while fighting in Biafra he found himself in similar situation as that of Congo  when he and his troops were encircled by the federal forces and their supplies and communications lines cut off in Umuahia.
”He fought his way through with virtually nothing during a two-day fierce battle and held the federal forces for 48 hours”, the club said.
They appealed to the Federal Government to accord him a national burial , noting that Nwawa served his country Nigeria and Africa meritoriousl
Continuing, they said, ”we also call on the South-East and South-South state governments to ensure that he is given a befitting burial where the federal government fails to do so.
”Nwawo is among the few Igbos from the defunct Mid-West Region that believed in the Biafran struggle and fought on the side of Biafra during the 30-months civil war.
”We are therefore appealing to the Federal Government to accord this outstanding officer and gentleman a national burial for he served Nigeria, and the African continent meritoriously.’’, the club stated.

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