Know More Facts About The Defunct Republic Of Biafra
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Know More Facts About The Defunct Republic Of Biafra

The Republic of Biafra, was a secessionist state of Nigeria. It comprised the East Central State which was later split into South Eastern and Rivers States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Republic of Biafra, was a secessionist state of Nigeria. It comprised the East Central State which was later split into South Eastern and Rivers States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The country took its name from the Bight of Biafra, a branch from the Atlantic Ocean and was predominantly, the Igbo ethnic group of Nigeria with some minorities from the pre-colonial Calabar Kingdom and the Niger Delta inhabitants. The Igbos in particular felt marginalized by the Nigeria republic and opted for a country where they will be recognized. Prominently triggered by the mass killing of the Igbos in the Northern part of Nigeria in September, 1966, the Igbos retreated back to their state in numbers in preparation for a breakaway.

On May 29, 1967 Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the military governor of the eastern region emerged as the leader of Igbo secessionist sentiment, declared the independence of the eastern region as the ‘Republic of Biafra’. The Biafra and Nigeria war broke out in July, 1967 with Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu leading the Biafra with his first Capital in Enugu; later in Owerri, Umuahia and Aba after the Nigerian soldiers had conquered Enugu. The East Central minorities gave themselves over to Nigeria government and was compensated with the Southeastern and Rivers states thus making the battle tough for the East Central Igbos.

The Nigerian forces attacked Biafra from the air, land and the sea with bases from the two new states and subsequently, Biafra was suppressed to a surrender though it was declared a ‘No Victor, No Vanquish’. During its existence Biafra was recognized by only five nations, although other countries and organizations supported them with food and drugs to help the teaming population dying of malnutrition. The war finally ended on July 15, 1970 while the leader fled the country. The Republic of Biafra had a flag of red, black and green (horizontally) with a rising sun from the Coat of Arms in gold placed on the centre; the rays of the sun are eleven depicting the eleven provinces of Biafra. Below was Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s address when he declared the Republic of Biafra.

“Fellow countrymen and women, you, the people of Eastern Nigeria:

Conscious of the supreme authority of Almighty God over all mankind,

of your duty to yourselves and posterity;

Aware that you can no longer be protected in your lives and in your

property by any Government based outside Eastern Nigeria;

Believing that you are born free and have certain inalienable rights

which can best be preserved by yourselves;

Unwilling to be unfree partners in any association of a political or

economical nature;

Rejecting the authority of any person or persons other than the

Military Government of Eastern Nigeria to make any imposition of

whatever kind or nature upon you;

Determined to dissolve all political and other ties between you and

the former Federal Republic of Nigeria;

Prepared to enter into such association, treaty or alliance with any

sovereign state within the former Federal Republic of Nigeria and

elsewhere on such terms and conditions as best to subserve your common

good;

Affirming your trust and confidence in me;

Having mandated me to proclaim on your behalf, and in your name, that

Eastern Nigeria be a sovereign independent Republic,

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". And I do declare that-

i. all political ties between us and the Federal Republic of Nigeria

are hereby totally dissolved;

ii. all subsisting contractual obligations entered into by the

Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or by any person,

authority or organization or government acting on its behalf, with any

person, authority or organization operating, or relating to any matter

or thing, within the Republic of Biafra, shall henceforth be deemed to

be entered into with the Military Governor of the Republic of Biafra

for and on behalf of the Government and people of the republic of

Biafra, and the covenants thereof shall, subject to this Declaration,

be performed by the parties according to their tenor;

iii. all subsisting international treaties and obligations made on

behalf of eastern Nigeria by the Government of the Federal Republic of

Nigeria, shall be honoured and respected;

iv. Eastern Nigeria's due share of all subsisting international debits

and obligations entered into by the Government of the Federal Republic

of Nigeria on behalf of the Federation of Nigeria shall be honoured

and respected;

v. steps will be taken to open discussions of the question of Eastern

Nigeria's due share of the assets of the Federation of Nigeria and

personal properties of the citizens of Biafra throughout the

Federation of Nigeria;

vi. the rights, privileges, pensions, etc. of all personnel of the

Public Services, the Armed Forces and the Police now serving in any

capacity within the Republic of Biafra, are hereby guaranteed;

vii. we shall keep the door open for association with, and would

welcome, any sovereign unit or units in the former Federation of

Nigeria or in any other parts of Africa desirous of association with

us for the purposes of running a common services organization and for

the establishment of economic ties;

viii. we shall protect the lives and property of all foreigners

residing in Biafra; we shall extend the hand of friendship to those

nations who respect our sovereignty, and shall repell any interference

in our internal affairs;

ix. we shall faithfully adhere to the charter of the Organization of

African Unity and of the United Nations Organization;

x. It is our intention to remain a member of the British Commonwealth

of Nations in our right as a sovereign, independent nation.

Long live the Republic of Biafra!

And may God protect all who live in her!”

Godwill A. Paul is a Clergy and Authour based in Lagos.

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