Biafra, officially known as the Republic of Biafra, was an unrecognized state that wanted to secede from Nigeria in West Africa. Biafra existed from May 1967 to January 1970. The Republic of Biafra was made up of the states in the Eastern Region of Nigeria and some others which would be discussed in this article.
The former Republic of Biafra was made up of over 29,848 square miles (77,310 km2) of land. The state shared borders with Nigeria to the north and west, on its east was Cameroon. Its coast was on the Gulf of Guinea of the South Atlantic Ocean in the south.
How the Republic of Biafra came to be
Nigeria was plagued by lots of economic and political instability which also included ethnic friction. In the North, the Hausa people resented the Igbos, this resulted in violence. In September 1966, 10,000 to 30,000 Ibo people were massacred in the Northern region. Following this, Non-Igbos were then expelled from the Eastern Region.
There were several attempts to come to an agreement but deemed unsuccessful. The Republic of Biafra declared its independence and decision to secede from Nigeria in May 1967 by the then head of the Eastern Region, General Odumegwu Ojukwu. The state was majorly inhabited by the Igbo (Ibo) people of the Eastern region. The federal government of Nigeria refused to recognize the Republic of Biafra. Biafra ceased to exist as an independent state in January 1970 after the Biafran forces were finally defeated in a series of engagements between late December 1969 and early January 1970. Ojukwu, the Biafran leader fled to Côte d’Ivoire, and the other Biafran officers surrendered to the federal government on January 15, 1970.
Biafra’s declaration of independence is against the Nigerian constitution which states that no part of Nigeria has any right to secede. Therefore, the result was a civil war between Biafra and Nigeria. The Republic of Biafra was formally recognized by the following countries: Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, and Zambia. According to the original plan, the administrative capital of Biafra will be Owerri. The territory of the former Republic of Biafra is comprised now of the following reorganized Nigerian states:
Although the Igbo people of the present Delta state were not included in Biafra due to Ojukwu’s decree, it is reported that Igbos in Delta (Anioma) fought on the Biafran side during the Nigerian civil war.
Language of Biafra
The predominant language of Biafra was Igbo. Other varieties of minority languages in Niger Delta included: Efik, Ogoni, Ijaw, Annang, Ibibio, Idoma, Igala, and many more. English was recognized as the official language of Biafra. The Republic of Biafra is made up of four main tribes:
If the request to secede is granted, the states which may cease to be in Nigeria include:
Abia state: This is one of the most populated areas in Nigeria. Abia state was created in 1991 and cut out from Imo State. Abia state is one of the constituent states of the Niger Delta region. Abia state is mainly inhabited by the Igbo ethnic group who makes up 95% of the population.
Anambra State: Anambra state is in southeastern Nigeria. The state was created in 1976 from part of East Central State. Anambra state is located in the Igbo-dominated area that seceded as part of the independent Republic of Biafra in 1967. During the Nigerian/Biafran war (1967-1970), Biafran engineers constructed a relief airstrip in the town of Uli/Amorka in Anambra state. This airstrip was the site where American pilots and many others sent relief supplies to the Biafran population during the war.
Akwa Ibom state: In addition to English, the main languages spoken in Akwa Ibom are: Ibibio, Annang, Eket, and Oron. The state also produced the first Vice President and second President of now-defunct Republic of Biafra, Philip Efiong during the civil war of 1967 to 1970.
Bayelsa State: Bayelsa is located in southern Nigeria between Delta State and Rivers State. Its capital is Yenagoa. The main language spoken in Bayelsa state is Ijaw alongside many other dialects. However, the official language is English.
Enugu State: Enugu was created in 1991, cut from the part of the old Anambra State. Enugu state is predominantly inhabited by Igbo people and a few Idoma/Igala people.
Ebonyi State: Ebonyi is located in southeastern Nigeria with the city of Abakaliki as its capital. It is predominantly inhabited by the Igbo people.
Imo state: This is one of the six states created by the then federal military government of General Sani Abacha in 1996. It is referred to as one of the central Niger Delta regions and predominantly populated by Igbo people.
Delta State: Delta State is an oil-producing state in Nigeria. Delta State was created out of the former Bendel state and recognized on 27 August 1991. The state was created following agitations by the peoples of the old Delta Province for a separate distinct state.
Cross River state: Cross River is located in South-South Nigeria. The state was created from the former Eastern Region on 27 May 1967 by the regime of General Yakubu Gowon regime. Its name was changed from the South Eastern state to Cross River State in 1976 during the state creation exercise by the regime of General Murtala Mohammed.
The Igbanke in Edo state: Igbanke people in Edo state are closely related to the Ibo and the Ika people in Delta state who are also of Ibo descent. Igbanke people are in Edo state due to the artificial creation of states.
Igala in Kogi state: Igala is one of the major ethnic groups in Kogi state
The southern part of Benue state (Idoma)
The original idea behind Biafra was to run the place as Provinces and not States.
So, Biafra will have 25 provinces which are,
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