Fifty years after the end of the Nigerian Civil War, the National War Museum in Umuahia, Abia State, serves as a poignant reminder of a past that should never be repeated while also highlighting the Nigerian people’s ingenuity.
The museum was opened to the public in 1985 by the then Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, (Rtd) Major-General Tunde Idiagbon. It provides a good overview of the Civil War, which lasted from 6 July 1967 to 15 January 1970.
The National War Museum comprises three exhibition galleries — the Traditional Warfare, the Armed Forces, and the Nigerian Civil War weapon galleries, and an open-air museum divided into three sections — the Army, the Navy, and the Airforce.
It houses a 30 feet deep bunker on both sides and the highest collection of traditional and modern warfare relics, including outdoor displays of warships, military aircraft, and armored tanks, which are preserved and maintained by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM). The weapons are from the Nigerian military and the former Republic of Biafra.
Of the serenity and the memories the museum encapsulates, the site has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, with people visiting the place regularly to see the military artifacts, either for research or to relive memories of the time.
Project Nigeria: Famous buildings, structures and people in Nigeria
62 years of Project Nigeria: Episode 1
Project Nigeria Episode 3: The first storey building in Nigeria
The 123-year-old Jaekel House
Episode 5: 3 things to know about the Ancient Kano City Walls
Sir Herbert Macaulay: Nigeria’s first Civil Engineer
Episode 8: History of the Abuja National Mosque
Project Nigeria Episode 9: The First Seaport in Nigeria
An overview of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport
Cocoa House Ibadan: The first skyscraper in West Africa
Episode 12: The story of the River Niger Bridge Anambra