The family of first generation Nigerian Army officer, Colonel Patrick Anwunah, has formally announced his death.
According to the notice by Chike Anwunah on behalf of the family, Colonel Anwunah died on Friday September 16, 2022 at the age of 87.
The message from the family said that the “funeral arrangements will be announced later.”
At the end of the Nigerian civil war, Colonel Anwunah relocated to Enugu and later trained as a lawyer. He was also the Knight of St. Christopher (KSC) of the Anglican Church.
Colonel Anwunah was General Staff Officer 1(Intelligence) of Nigerian Army and Quartermaster General and Chief of Logistics, Biafran Army.
He enlisted in the then Colonial Army in May 1954 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in December 1956.
Anwunah was trained at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, Camberly, England along with General Yakubu Gowon, General Alex Madiebo, and Colonels Nduka Okwechime and Arthur Unegbe.
He was lucky to escape the July 29, 1966 counter-coup mass killing of Southern officers especially Igbos in Lagos because as the General Staff Officer 1 (Intelligence) at Army Headquarters, the then Head of State, General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi sent him to Kaduna to investigate the riots in the North following his ascension to power.
Apart from his military duties, he was a also member of late Head of State, Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi’s advisory team, including Francis Nwokedi, Pius Okigbo.
At the outbreak of the civil war, like most Nigeria Army-trained senior officers from Eastern Region, Colonel Anwunah returned to the Biafra Army where he was the Adjutant General and one of the top Commanders.
He was one of the top Biafran officers who met with then Head of State, General Yakubu Gown, and accepted the authority of Nigeria over Biafran territory.
This fact was accepted by Gowon in his ‘The Dawn of National Reconciliation’speech of January 15, 1970 in which he stated: “It is with a heart full of gratitude to God that I announce to you that today marks the formal end of the civil war. This afternoon at Dodan Barracks, Lt. Col. Phillip Effiong, Lt. Col. David Ogunewe, Lt. Col. Patrick Anwunah, Lt. Col. Patrick Amadi and Commissioner of Police, Chief Patrick Okeke formally proclaimed the end of the attempt at secession and accepted the authority of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria.”
Colonel Anwunah was Gowon’s senior in the Nigerian Army. Anwunah was commissioned as N/18. Gowon became N/20. Madiebo N/21. Like Madiebo and Anwunah wrote a book on the Civil War.
The memoir, titled ‘Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970)’ had the foreword written by late Biafrna leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
Colonel Anwunah maintained cordial ties with the family of Colonel Yakubu Pam who was killed in the January 15, 1966 coup. With an officer like him around, Mrs Elizabeth Pam felt at home when she was sent to the East on national duty by late President Shehu Shagari during the Second Republic.