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Republic of Biafra

Biafra Coat of Arms.png
Coat of arms
Motto: "Peace, Unity, and Freedom."
Biafra in its region.svg
Red: Republic of Biafra
Biafra independent state map-en.svg
Republic of Biafra in May 1967
Status Subsumed state
Capital Enugu
Largest city Aba
Common languages English and Igbo (predominant)
French  · Efik  · Ekoi  · Ibibio  · Ijaw
Historical era Cold War
30 May 1967
 Rejoins Federal Nigeria
15 January 1970
196777,306 km2 (29,848 sq mi)
Currency Biafran pound
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Nigeria.svg Nigeria
Nigeria Flag of Nigeria.svg
Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 762. ISBN   978-0-313-32384-3.

Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, was a state in West Africa which existed from 30 May 1967 to January 1970; it was made up of the states in the Eastern Region of Nigeria.

West Africa Westernmost region of the African continent

West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million people as of 2016, and at 381,981,000 as of 2017, of which 189,672,000 are female and 192,309,000 male.

The Eastern Region was an administrative region in Nigeria, dating back originally from the division of the colony Southern Nigeria in 1954. Its first capital was Calabar. The capital was later moved to Enugu and the second capital was Umuahia. The region was officially divided in 1967 into three new states, the East-Central State, Rivers State and South-Eastern State. East-Central State had its capital at Enugu, which is now part of Enugu State.

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.


Biafra's declaration of independence from Nigeria resulted in civil war between Biafra and Nigeria. Biafra was formally recognised by Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Zambia. Other nations, which did not give official recognition but provided support and assistance to Biafra, included Israel, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Rhodesia, South Africa and Vatican City. A Biafra also received aid from non-state actors, including Joint Church Aid, Holy Ghost Fathers of Ireland, [1] and under their direction Caritas International, [2] and U.S. Catholic Relief Services. [3] Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) also originated in response to the suffering.

Nigerian Civil War 1967–1970 civil war in Nigeria

The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War and the Nigerian-Biafran War, was a war fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra. Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Biafran people, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the Northern-dominated federal government. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which preceded Britain's formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included ethno-religious riots in Northern Nigeria, a military coup, a counter-coup and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria. Control over the lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta played a vital strategic role.

Gabon country in Africa

Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. It has an area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 2 million people. Its capital and largest city is Libreville.

Haiti Unitary republic in the Caribbean

Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti and formerly called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola, east of Cuba in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometers (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated 10.8 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole.

Its inhabitants were mostly Igbo, who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. Other ethnic groups that were present were the Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Ejagham, Eket, Ibeno and the Ijaw among others.

Igbo people Ethnic group in south eastern Nigeria

The Igbo people are an ethnic group native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria. There has been much speculation about the origins of the Igbo people, as it is unknown how exactly the group came to form. Geographically, the Igbo homeland is divided into two unequal sections by the Niger River – an eastern and a western section. The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.

The Efik are an ethnic group located primarily in southern Nigeria, in the southern part of Cross River State. The Efik speak the Efik language which is a Benue–Congo language of the Cross River family. Efik oral histories tell of migration down the Cross River from Arochukwu to found numerous settlements in the Calabar and Creek Town area. Creek Town and its environs are often commonly referred to as Calabar, and its people as Calabar people, after the European name Calabar Kingdom given to the state [in present-day Cross River State. Calabar is not to be confused with the Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State which is an Ijaw state to its west. Cross River State with Akwa Ibom State was formerly one of the original twelve states of Nigeria known as the Southeastern State.

Ibibio people ethnic group

The Ibibio people are a coastal people in southern Nigeria. They are mostly found in Akwa Ibom, Cross River,and on the Eastern Part of Abia.They are related to the Anaang Igbo and Efik peoples. During the colonial period in Nigeria, the Ibibio Union asked for recognition by the British as a sovereign nation. The Annang, Efik, Ekid, Oron and Ibeno share personal names, culture, and traditions with the Ibibio, and speak closely related varieties of Ibibio-Efik which are more or less mutually intelligible.

After two-and-a-half years of war, during which almost two million Biafran civilians died from starvation caused by the total blockade of the region by the Nigerian and British governments, Biafran forces under Nigeria's motto of "No-victor, No-vanquished" surrendered to the Nigerian Federal Military Government (FMG). The surrender was facilitated by the Biafran Vice President and Chief of General Staff, Major General Philip Effiong who assumed leadership of the Republic of Biafra after the original President, Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu fled to Ivory Coast. [4] After the surrender of Biafra, some Igbos who had fled the conflict returned back to their properties but were unable to claim them back from new occupants. This became law in the Abandoned Properties Act (September 28th, 1979). [5] It was purported that at the start of the civil war, Igbos withdrew their funds from Nigerian banks and converted it to the Biafran currency. After the war, bank accounts owned by Biafrans were seized and a Nigerian panel resolved to give every Igbo person with an account only 20 pounds. [6] Today, Federal projects in Biafra were also greatly reduced compared to other parts of Nigeria. [7] In an Intersociety study it was found that Nigerian security forces also extorted approximately $100 million per year from illegal roadblocks and other methods from Igboland, a cultural sub-region of Biafra in what is now southern Nigeria. [8]

Blockade effort to cut off supplies from a particular area by force

A blockade is an effort to cut off supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade. It is also distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually directed at an entire country or region, rather than a fortress or city. While most blockades historically took place at sea, blockade is still used on land to prevent someone coming into a certain area.

Nigerian military juntas of 1966–79 and 1983–98

The Nigerian military juntas of 1966–79 and 1983–98 were a pair of military dictatorships in Nigeria that were led by the Nigerian military, having a chairman or president in charge.

Philip Efiong was the first Vice President and the second President of the now defunct Republic of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970.

History and etymology

Map of Africa (Abraham Ortelius, 1584) Atlas Ortelius KB PPN369376781-006av-006br.jpg
Map of Africa (Abraham Ortelius, 1584)
Map of West Africa (Rigobert Bonne (Royal Cartographer of France) 1770) 1770 Bonne Map of West Africa (Guinea, the Bight of Benin, Congo) - Geographicus - WestAfrica-bonne-1770.jpg
Map of West Africa (Rigobert Bonne (Royal Cartographer of France) 1770)
Map of West Africa (1839); Biafra is shown in the region of "Lower Guinea" West Africa 1839 Mitchell map - Kong.jpg
Map of West Africa (1839); Biafra is shown in the region of "Lower Guinea"

Early modern maps of Africa from the 15th–19th centuries, drawn from accounts written by explorers and travellers, show references to Biafra, Biafara, [9] [10] and Biafares. [11] In his personal writings from his travels, a Rev. Charles W. Thomas defined the locations of islands in the Bight of Biafra as "between the parallels of longitude 5° and 9° East and latitude 4° North and 2° South". [12] People in the region have described Biafra as the land directly adjacent to the Bight of Biafra and also an indigenous state, existing before European colonialism created such entities as Nigeria [13] .

Berlin Conference international conference that regulated European colonisation and trade in Africa

The Berlin Conference of 1884–85, also known as the Congo Conference or West Africa Conference, regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period and coincided with Germany's sudden emergence as an imperial power. The conference was organized by Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Germany; its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, can be seen as the formalisation of the Scramble for Africa, although some scholars of history warn against an overemphasis of its role in the colonial partitioning of Africa, drawing attention to bilateral agreements concluded before and after the conference. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity by European powers, which eliminated or overrode most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance.

Events leading to war

In 1960, Nigeria became independent of the United Kingdom. As with many other new African states, the borders of the country did not reflect earlier ethnic, cultural, religious, or political boundaries. Thus, the northern region of the country has a Muslim majority, being primarily made up of territory of the indigenous Sokoto Caliphate. The southern population is predominantly Christian, being primarily made up of territory of the indigenous Yoruba and Biafra kingdoms in the West and East respectively. Following independence, Nigeria was demarcated primarily along ethnic lines: Hausa and Fulani majority in the north, Yoruba majority in the West and Igbo majority in the East. [14]

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in West Africa. The CIA estimates 50% while the BBC estimates slightly over 50% (2007). Muslims in Nigeria are predominantly Sunni of the Maliki school of thought. However, there is a significant Shia minority, primarily in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Sokoto states;. A smaller minority follow the Ahmadiyya, a reformatory sect originating in 19th-century India. In particular Pew Forum on religious diversity identifies 12 percent as Shia Muslims.

Sokoto Caliphate independent Islamic Caliphate, in West Africa from 1804 to 1903

The Sokoto Caliphate was an independent Islamic Sunni Caliphate in West Africa that was founded during the jihad of the Fulani War in 1804 by Usman dan Fodio. It was abolished when the British conquered the area in 1903 and established the Northern Nigeria Protectorate.

It is well known that ethnic tension had simmered in Nigeria during discussions of independence, but in the mid-twentieth century, ethnic and religious riots began to occur. In 1945 an ethnic riot [15] flared up in Jos in which Hausa-Fulani people targeted Igbo people and left many dead and wounded. Police and Army units from Kaduna had to be brought in to restore order. A newspaper article describes the event:

"At Jos in 1945, a sudden and savage attack by Northerners took the Easterners completely by surprise, and before the situation could be brought under control, the bodies of Eastern women, men, and children littered the streets and their property worth thousands of pounds reduced to shambles" [16]

300 Igbo people died in the Jos riot. [17] In 1953 a similar riot occurred in Kano. A decade later in 1964 and during the Western political crisis divided the Western Region as Ladoke Akintola clashed with Obafemi Awolowo. Widespread reports of fraud tarnished the election's legitimacy. Westerners especially resented the political domination of the Northern People's Congress, many of whose candidates ran unopposed in the election. Violence spread throughout the country and some began to flee the North and West, some to Dahomey. The apparent domination of the political system by the North, and the chaos breaking out across the country, motivated elements within the military to consider decisive action.The federal government, dominated by Northern Nigeria, allowed the crisis to unfold with the intention of declaring a state of emergency and placing the Western Region under martial law. This administration of the Nigerian federal government was widely perceived to be corrupt [18] . In January 1966 the situation reached a breaking point. A military coup occurred during which a mixed but predominantly Igbo group of army officers assassinated 30 political leaders including Nigeria's Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and the Northern premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello. The four most senior officers of Northern origin were also killed. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the President, of Igbo extraction, and the favored Western Region politician Obafemi Awolowo were not killed. The commander of the army, General Aguiyi Ironsi seized power to maintain order. [19] [20] [21]

In July 1966 northern officers and army units staged a counter-coup. Muslim officers named a General from a small ethnic group (the Angas) in central Nigeria, General Yakubu "Jack" Gowon, as the head of the Federal Military Government (FMG). The two coups deepened Nigeria's ethnic tensions. In September 1966, approximately 30,000 Igbo were killed in the north, and some Northerners were killed in backlashes in eastern cities. [22]

In January 1967, the military leaders Gowon, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and senior police officials of each region met in Aburi, Ghana and agreed on a less centralized union of regions. The Northerners were at odds with this agreement that was known as the Aburi Accords; Obafemi Awolowo, the leader of the Western Region warned that if the Eastern Region seceded, the Western Region would also, which persuaded the northerners. [22]

Now, therefore, I, Lieutenant-Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, by virtue of the authority, and pursuant to the principles, recited above, do hereby solemnly proclaim that the territory and region known as and called Eastern Nigeria together with her continental shelf and territorial waters shall henceforth be an independent sovereign state of the name and title of "The Republic of Biafra".

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu [23]

After returning to Nigeria, the federal government reneged on the agreement and unilaterally declared the creation of several new states including some that gerrymandered the Igbos in Biafra. On 26 May the Eastern Region voted to secede from Nigeria. Four days later, Ojukwu unilaterally declared the independence of the Republic of Biafra, citing the Easterners killed in the post-coup violence as reasons for secession. [14] [22] [24] It is believed this was one of the major factors that sparked the war. [25] The large amount of oil in the region also created conflict, as oil was already becoming a major component of the Nigerian economy. [26] Biafra was ill-equipped for war, with fewer army personnel and less equipment than the Nigerian military, but had advantages over the Nigerian state as they were fighting in their homeland and had the support of most Biafrans. [27]

The FMG attacked Biafra on 6 July 1967. Nigeria's initial efforts were unsuccessful; the Biafrans successfully launched their own offensive, occupying areas in the mid-Western Region in August 1967. By October 1967, the FMG had regained the land after intense fighting. [22] [28] In September 1968, the federal army planned what Gowon described as the "final offensive". Initially, the final offensive was neutralised by Biafran troops. In the latter stages, a Southern FMG offensive managed to break through the fierce resistance. [22]


Satellite pictures of the former Republic of Biafra Biafra sat.png
Satellite pictures of the former Republic of Biafra

The former Republic of Biafra comprised over 29,848 square miles (77,310 km2) of land, [29] with terrestrial borders shared with Nigeria to the north and west, and with Cameroon to the east. Its coast was on the Gulf of Guinea of the South Atlantic Ocean in the south.

The former country's northeast bordered the Benue Hills and mountains that lead to Cameroon. Three major rivers flow from Biafra into the Gulf of Guinea: the Imo River, the Cross River and the Niger River. [30]

The territory of the former Republic of Biafra is covered nowadays by the reorganized Nigerian states of Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia, and Akwa Ibom. While the Igbo people of the current Nigerian state of Delta were not included in Biafra as per Ojukwu's decree founding Biafra, Igbos in Delta (Anioma) did fight on the Biafran side.


The predominant language of Biafra was Igbo. [31] Along with Igbo, there were a variety of other minority languages, including Efik, Ogoni, Ijaw, Annang, Ibibio, Idoma, Igala, and more. However, English was used as the official language.


An early institution created by the Biafran government was the Bank of Biafra, accomplished under "Decree No. 3 of 1967". [32] The bank carried out all central banking functions including the administration of foreign exchange and the management of the public debt of the Republic. [32] The bank was administered by a governor and four directors; the first governor, who signed on bank notes, was Sylvester Ugoh. [33] A second decree, "Decree No. 4 of 1967", modified the Banking Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the Republic of Biafra. [32]

The bank was first located in Enugu, but due to the ongoing war, it was relocated several times. [32] Biafra attempted to finance the war through foreign exchange. After Nigeria announced its currency would no longer be legal tender (to make way for a new currency), this effort increased. After the announcement, tons of Nigerian bank notes were transported in an effort to acquire foreign exchange. The currency of Biafra had been the Nigerian pound until the Bank of Biafra started printing out its own notes, the Biafran pound. [32] The new currency went public on 28 January 1968, and the Nigerian pound was not accepted as an exchange unit. [32] The first issue of the bank notes included only 5 shillings notes and 1 pound notes. The Bank of Nigeria exchanged only 30 pounds for an individual and 300 pounds for enterprises in the second half of 1968. [32]

In 1969 new notes were introduced: £10, £5, £1, 10/- and 5/-. [32]

It is estimated that a total of £115–140 million Biafran pounds were in circulation by the end of the conflict, with a population of about 14 million, approximately £10 per person. [32] In uncirculated condition these are very inexpensive and readily available for collectors.


Roundel of the Biafran Air Force. Roundel of Biafra (1967-1970).svg
Roundel of the Biafran Air Force.

At the beginning of the war Biafra had 3,000 soldiers, but at the end of the war, the soldiers totalled 30,000. [34] There was no official support for the Biafran Army by any other nation throughout the war, although arms were clandestinely acquired. Because of the lack of official support, the Biafrans manufactured many of their weapons locally. Europeans served in the Biafran cause; German-born Rolf Steiner was a lieutenant colonel assigned to the 4th Commando Brigade and Welshman Taffy Williams served as a Major until the very end of the conflict. [35] A special guerrilla unit, the Biafran Organization of Freedom Fighters, was established, designed to emulate the insurrectionist guerilla forces of the Viet Cong in the American - Vietnamese War, targeting Nigerian Federal Army supply lines and forcing them to shift forces to internal security efforts. [36]

The Biafrans managed to set up a small yet effective air force. The BAF commander was Polish World War II ace Jan Zumbach. Early inventory included four World War II American bombers: two B-25 Mitchells, two B-26 Invaders (Douglas A-26) (one piloted by Zumbach), [37] a converted Douglas DC-3 [38] and one British de Havilland Dove. [39] In 1968 the Swedish pilot Carl Gustaf von Rosen suggested the MiniCOIN project to General Ojukwu. By early 1969, Biafra had assembled five MFI-9Bs in neighbouring Gabon, calling them the "Biafra Babies". They were painted in green camouflage and armed with two Matra Type 122 rocket pods, each being able to carry six 68 mm SNEB anti-armour rockets under each wing and had Swedish WW2 reflex sights from old FFVS J 22's. [40] The six airplanes were flown by three Swedish pilots and three Biafran pilots. In September 1969, Biafra acquired four ex-French North American T-6 Texans (T-6G)s, which were flown to Biafra the following month, with another aircraft lost on the ferry flight. These aircraft flew missions until January 1970 and were flown by Portuguese ex-military pilots. [41]

Biafra also had a small improvised navy, but it never gained the success that their air force did. It was headquartered in Kidney Island, Port Harcourt, and commanded by Winifred Anuku. The Biafran Navy was made up of captured craft, converted tugs, and armor-reinforced civilian vessels armed with machine guns or captured 6-pounder guns. It mainly operated in the Niger River delta and along the Niger River. [36]


A child suffering the effects of severe hunger and malnutrition during the Nigerian blockade Starved girl.jpg
A child suffering the effects of severe hunger and malnutrition during the Nigerian blockade

The international humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières originated in response to the suffering in Biafra. [42] During the crisis, French medical volunteers, in addition to Biafran health workers and hospitals, were subjected to attacks by the Nigerian army and witnessed civilians being murdered and starved by the blockading forces. French doctor Bernard Kouchner also witnessed these events, particularly the huge number of starving children, and, when he returned to France, he publicly criticised the Nigerian government and the Red Cross for their seemingly complicit behaviour. With the help of other French doctors, Kouchner put Biafra in the media spotlight and called for an international response to the situation. These doctors, led by Kouchner, concluded that a new aid organisation was needed that would ignore political/religious boundaries and prioritise the welfare of victims. [43]

In their study, Smallpox and its Eradication, Fenner and colleagues describe how vaccine supply shortages during the Biafra smallpox campaign led to the development of the focal vaccination technique, later adopted worldwide by the World Health Organization of the United Nations, which led to the early and cost-effective interruption of smallpox transmission in West Africa and elsewhere. [44]

In 2010, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and University of Nigeria at Nsukka, showed that Igbos born in Biafra during the years of the famine were of higher risk of suffering from obesity, hypertension and impaired glucose metabolism compared to controls born a short period after the famine had ended in the early 1970s. The findings are in line with the developmental origin of health and disease hypothesis suggesting that malnutrition in early life is a predisposing factor for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes later in life. [45] [46]

A 2017 paper found that Biafran "women exposed to the war in their growing years exhibit reduced adult stature, increased likelihood of being overweight, earlier age at first birth, and lower educational attainment. Exposure to a primary education program mitigates impacts of war exposure on education. War-exposed men marry later and have fewer children. War exposure of mothers (but not fathers) has adverse impacts on child growth, survival, and education. Impacts vary with age of exposure. For mother and child health, the largest impacts stem from adolescent exposure." [47]

Post-war events and nationalist movement

The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) emerged in 1999 as a nonviolent and Biafran nationalist group, associated with Igbo nationalism. The group enacted a "re-launch" of Biafra in Aba, the commercial centre of Abia State and a major commercial centre on Igbo land. [48] MASSOB says it is a peaceful group and advertises a 25-stage plan to achieve its goal peacefully. [49] It has two arms of government, the Biafra Government in Exile and the Biafra Shadow Government. [50] MASSOB accuses Nigeria of marginalising Biafran people. [51] Since August 1999, protests have erupted in cities across Nigeria's south-east. Though peaceful, the protesters have been routinely attacked by the Nigerian police and army, with large numbers of people reportedly killed. Many others have been injured and/or arrested. [52]

On 29 May 2000, the Lagos Guardian newspaper reported that the now ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo commuted to retirement of the dismissal of all military persons, soldiers and officers, who fought for the breakaway Republic of Biafra during Nigeria's 1967–1970 civil war. In a national broadcast, he said the decision was based on the belief that "justice must at all times be tempered with mercy". [53]

In July 2006 the Center for World Indigenous Studies reported that government sanctioned killings were taking place in the southeastern city of Onitsha, because of a shoot-to-kill policy directed toward Biafrans, particularly members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). [54] [55]

The Nigerian federal government accuses MASSOB of violence; MASSOB's leader, Ralph Uwazuruike, was arrested in 2005 and was detained on treason charges. He has since been released and has been rearrested and released more than five times. In 2009, MASSOB leader Chief Uwazuruike launched an unrecognized "Biafran International Passport" and also launched a Biafra Plate Number in 2016 in response to persistent demand by some Biafran sympathizers in the diaspora and at home. [56] On 16 June 2012, a Supreme Council of Elders of the Indigenous People of Biafra, another pro-Biafra organization was formed, the body is made up of some prominent persons in the Biafra region, they sued the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the right to self-determination, Debe Odumegwu Ojukwu, the eldest son of ex-President / General Ojukwu and a Lagos State-based Lawyer was the lead counsel that championed the case. [57]

MASSOB leader Chief Ralph Uwazuruike established Radio Biafra in the United Kingdom in 2009, with Nnamdi Kanu as his radio director; later Kanu was said to have been dismissed from MASSOB because of accusations of supporting violence. [58] [59] The Nigerian Government, through its broadcasting regulators, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigerian (BON) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has sought to clamp down on Radio Biafra with limited success. On 17 November 2015, the Abia state police command seized an Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) radio transmitter in Umuahia. [60] [61] On 23 December 2015, Kanu was detained and charged with charges that amounting to treason against the Nigerian state. He released on bail on 24 April 2017 after spending more than 19 months without trial of his treason charges. [62] [63] Self determination is not a crime in Nigerian law [64] .

According to the South-East Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs), security forces under the directive of the federal government have killed 80 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and their supporters between 30 August 2015 and 9 February 2016 in a renewed clampdown on the campaign. [65] A report by Amnesty International between August 2015 and August 2016, at least 150 pro-Biafran activists overall were killed by Nigerian security forces, with 60 people shot in a period of two days in connection with events marking Biafran Remembrance Day. [66] The Nigerian military killed at least 17 unarmed Biafrans in the city of Onitsha prior to a march on 30 May 2016 commemorating the 49th anniversary of Biafra's 1967 declaration of independence [67] [68] .

The Incorporated Trustees of Bilie Human Rights Initiative, representing the IPOB, have filed suit against the Federal Government of Nigeria and Attorney General of the Federation, seeking the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra by legal means. The Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed February 25, 2019 for hearing the suit. [69]

See also


A. ^ See Nigerian Civil War#International involvement

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Postage stamps and postal history of Biafra

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Biafra.

Ralph Uwazuruike is the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB); a group canvassing for the secession and sovereignty of Eastern Nigeria. He holds degrees in Political Science from Punjab University, India, and Law from Bombay University, India. Uwazuruike adopts the principle of non-violence as propagated by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, as the philosophy of the struggle. He has been detained several times and charged with treason in Nigerian courts. On the 28th of April 2010, he was visited in prison by Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu and his wife, Bianca.

The Fall of Enugu,, was a military conflict between Nigerian and Biafran forces. Enugu was invaded after the Biafran retreat from the Mid-Western Region only 14 days earlier after the Nigerian 2nd and 3rd Marine Division cleared them of the area.

The Operation UNICORD was an offensive launched by the Nigerian Army at the beginning of the Nigerian Civil War. It involved the capture of 6 major Biafran towns near their northern border.

Akpan Utuk was a strategic and successful colonel in the Biafran Army. Utuk is known for his determination and for his military record in which he had never lost a battle that he was commanding.

Nnamdi Kanu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kenny Okwu Kanu is a British-Biafran political activist. He is the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). IPOB is agitating for the "Independence and Restoration of the defunct state of Biafra". Nnamdi Kanu is the director of a UK registered radio station named; Radio Biafra. Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on treason charges in Lagos Nigeria on 14 October 2015 and was detained for more than a year despite various court orders that ruled for his release. When in court, Kanu appeared regularly wearing a Jewish prayer shawl and head covering. He said in court, that he "believes in Judaism" and considers himself a Jew. On 28 April 2017 Kanu was released from prison on bail.

Ogbunigwe also called Ojukwu Bucket was a series of weapons systems including command detonation mines, improvised explosive devices and rocket propelled missiles, mass-produced by the Republic of Biafra and used against Nigeria between 1967 and 1970 in the Biafran War.

Indigenous People of Biafra

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a group that leads the calls for Biafrans freedom from Nigeria. Its main aim is to create an independent state for the people of old Eastern Region of Nigeria through referendum. The group was founded in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu, who has resurfaced the issue of independence of the Indegenious Biafran population from Nigeria. They have issued calls for a peaceful settlement of their grievances through a referendum in the Nigerian states that were part of the old Eastern Region.

The 2015–2016 Killing of Biafran Protesters refers to the killing of demonstrators demanding the restoration of the sovereignty of the Republic of Biafra by Nigerian security forces, especially the Nigerian army, across the southeastern parts of Nigeria. The demonstrations are spearheaded by several secessionist groups. In addition, residents of the above-mentioned region have often been subjected to conditions synonymous with those obtainable in a Police State.

Ogbugo Kalu was a former army officer who served in both the Nigerian Army and Biafran Army. Kalu was also commander of the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in Kaduna following the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état.

Biafran Armed Forces military force of the secessionist state of Biafra, Nigeria

The Biafran Armed Forces (BAF) were the military of the secessionist state of Biafra which existed from 1967 until 1970.


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Coordinates: 6°27′N7°30′E / 6.450°N 7.500°E / 6.450; 7.500