“Operation Lights Out” – The story of CANAIRELIEF


In 1969, a special group of Canadians risked life and limb to bring food and medicine to millions of dying children and women in the largest non-governmental War Airlift in human history.

Production Date

Currently in production.


The history of Nigeria, as it is taught in Nigerian schools, deliberately excludes details of the controversial Nigerian Civil War aka The Biafran war – the secession of South-East Nigeria (named BIAFRA), following brutal widespread attacks against South-eastern Nigerians; amidst the seeds of intra-ethnic discord planted during the long decades of British colonial rule in Nigeria.

As a result of this, my generation and I have grown up never fully knowing or grasping the sheer scale of the war, or the size and extent of the war relief effort it spawned in its wake.  Conversations with my parents whilst growing up, and more recently, my Father-in-law and his former teacher (a former Canadian Presbyterian missionary to Nigeria), stirred my curiosity about the Canadian effort to relieve human suffering during the war. I realized, as a Newcomer to Canada, that this amazing story of bravery by Canadians has been forgotten or not told at all to my generation, as well as preceding and following ones in the postbellum period – not only in Nigeria but also in Canada.

I want to share my shocking personal discovery of CANAIRELIEF and its herculean effort in saving so many lives – including those of both my parents and parents-in-law; because it is a story that needs to be heard for the first time by younger generations and to be remembered by older ones.

Please, share your Biafran War or War Relief Stories with us:

4-Part Mini Doc series (Part 3)
Rev. E. H. Johnson of the Presbyterian Church pushes for Canada to take leadership of an international intervention program to help hungry, sick and dying Biafrans halfway across the world.

4-Part Mini Doc series (Part 2)
The unbelievable bravery of Canadians in the face of danger. The different types and times of danger that Canadians subjected themselves to during the Biafran Airlift.

4-Part Mini Doc series (Part 1)

What made CANAIRELIEF such an important part of the Biafran Airlift Mission? How did Canadians get involved in this epochal effort? Follow this heartwarming 4-Part Mini Series o the CANAIRELIEF story and what makes Canadians amazing. 

A 2-Minute Documentary Film Trailer for “OPERATION LIGHTS OUT: The story of CANAIRELIEF”

A quick video breakdown and introduction of the Operation Lights Out Film.


Ron & Hazel McGraw (St. Catherines, Ontario) – Former Presbyterian missionaries who risked their lives and remained in Biafra during the war to serve with CANAIRELIEF.

Mr. Stephen Lewis CC (Former Canadian Ambassador to the UN) – Author of Journey To Biafra – A collection of first-hand observations on the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, compiled during a visit to Biafra in October 1968

Dr. Marjorie Ross (Toronto, Ontario) – Former Presbyterian missionary who remained in Nigeria after the war broke out and helped with rehabilitating Biafran refugees behind-the-lines in Nigeria. She tells her family’s amazing story of their beautiful life (in Southeast Nigeria), how they became stranded with their children after War was declared on Biafra and their near-miraculous escape.

Remmelt Hummelen (Toronto, Ontario) – Former Presbyterian National Office staff who worked as a United Nations program advisor and a conflict mitigation specialist for United States Aid for 20 years. Hummelen worked directly with CANAIRELIEF and helped to raise awareness that led to the various humanitarian contributions and staggering funds raised by the mission.

Rev Rick Fee (Toronto, Ontario) – a Former Presbyterian missionary who worked and lived in Southeast Nigeria (the former Biafran enclave) after the war and recounts his experiences, and the devastation that was still visible almost a decade after the war ended.

With support from: