Comments made in a speech by General Ojukwu in February 1969 (a year after the events), reflect the public despair that was expressed at the Nigerian decree (although Ojukwu himself could not have been surprised): ‘The government has long been aware of the terrible experiences of our people over the issue of currency. Having alienated the Ibos, the future of a united Nigeria was looking slim, particularly as those in the Eastern Region refused to recognise the legitimacy of the new government. lines drawn by a geometric lathe). When the federal government offered to appease those in the east, their efforts were rejected, and although a lot of effort was made in trying to bring about a reconciliation, it appeared that those in the east were not willing to come to a compromise. He released on bail on 24 April 2017 after spending more than 19 months without trial of his treason charges. [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016] Vanguard. War exposure of mothers (but not fathers) has adverse impacts on child growth, survival, and education. [24], 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 27 January 1968 Gen. Ojukwu declared to the 7th Session of the Consultative Assembly and Council of Chiefs and Elders: ‘Fellow countrymen, I am happy to announce to you that I have today signed a decree introducing Biafran currency notes which will be the legal tender throughout the Republic of Biafra. [10][69], Another group is the Biafra Nations Youth League (BNYL), which has its members and followers mostly in the Niger Delta and Bakassi Peninsula, the group is led by Princewill Chimezie Richard (aka. Am 43years old and am a family man.doing small business. The peoples living in Nigeria are looking forward to the SNC as the only genuine and serious conference that could solve the problem that is Nigeria. Essentially, most of the institutions required for running the new republic existed as part of the Nigerian government’s administration for the Eastern region. [45], 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. The coup also resulted in General Ironsi being murdered, and hundreds of Ibo officers and soldiers being rounded up by their northern counterparts and shot. [60][61] The Nigerian Government, through its broadcasting regulators, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigerian and Nigerian Communications Commission, has sought to clamp down on Radio Biafra with limited success. Notes from the missing cache of one pound notes from Benin started appearing in Lagos in October (just two months after they had been seized) and doubt remains as to wh! [38], The international humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières originated in response to the suffering in Biafra. After Nigeria announced its currency would no longer be legal tender (to make way for a new currency), this effort increased. That has been our name for centuries, given to us by our ancestors, and we are very happy with it. The people who are doing this are the same people in … [11], Early modern maps of Africa from the 15th to the 19th centuries, drawn from accounts written by explorers and travellers, show references to Biafra, Biafara,[12][13] and Biafares. The new Biafra is an emergency but the emergency we are confronted with today is completely different from that of the old Biafra. Beresiner and Narbeth (in The Story of Paper Money) claim that the notes were printed in Portugal and Switzerland, and this seems to be a reasonable proposition. [44] 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. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the President, of Igbo extraction, and the favored Western Region politician Obafemi Awolowo were not killed. To make matters worse, one Biafran pound is worth 280 Naira! Following the end of the war, federal sources claimed that they had found evidence of the Biafrans asking the relief agencies to pay landing fees (in foreign exchange), for the use of their air-strips. Not surprisingly, the coup generated a deal of confusion and animosity across Nigeria, ultimately resulting in violence. [34] The bank was administered by a governor and four directors; the first governor, who signed on bank notes, was Sylvester Ugoh. [34] The new currency went public on 28 January 1968, and the Nigerian pound was not accepted as an exchange unit. Depending on which direction the code is read, the marks on the 5–shilling notes can be decoded as: ‘E T E M N E N I R’ or ‘R I A E A M E T E’, ‘M T E M N E N I W’ or ‘G I A E A M E T M’, (The leading and trailing codes may be truncated, and these particular letters may not be correct. Another external source of revenue that was rumoured to have come to the Biafrans, was an advance of six million pounds against the promise of mineral rights. It has also been suggested that the money ultimately fell into the hands of Nigerian soldiers who failed to declare their discovery. Although reports had appeared in the international press as early as June 1967 that Biafra intended to issue its own bank notes, it was not until 1968 that the first bank notes were introduced. [34] The bank carried out all central banking functions including the administration of foreign exchange and the management of the public debt of the Republic. Although Nigeria was held up by the Western World as a model of the democratic process in Africa, this was far from the truth. Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, is a subsumed state in West Africa that existed from May 1967 to January 1970 and also before the creation of Nigeria by Britain. – The palm tree was important because of its economic significance to Biafra – next to oil, products from the palm trees were the most valuable exports from the region prior to the new republic being declared. Early inventory included four World War II American bombers: two B-25 Mitchells, two B-26 Invaders (Douglas A-26) (one piloted by Zumbach),[39] a converted Douglas DC-3[40] and one British de Havilland Dove. However, Nigeria saw the Biafrans as rebels who were seizing control of the Eastern Region, and determined that force was necessary to bring the recalcitrant state back under the control of the central government. – Niven, Rex (1970) The War of Nigerian Unity 1967-1970, Evans Brothers (Nigeria Publishers) Ltd, Lagos. Over one million people died in the war. The 1968 Biafran bank note issue was not only an emergency issue, it also faced the trials and tribulations of the country it was serving – many of the notes not making it to Biafra. To purchase military equipment on the open market, Biafra had to have foreign exchange, and the efforts of the Biafrans to obtain this foreign exchange were quite exhaustive and quite varied. It goes to prove the point: Biafra is really here to stay. at Wharton had been ‘got at’ by the CIA and the British (who were also working amongst African nations in an effort to stop assistance to the struggling republic). [27] The large amount of oil in the region also created conflict, as oil was already becoming a major component of the Nigerian economy. It consisted of an executive branch, in the form of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and a judicial branch in the form of the Ministry of Justice. The new currency went public on 28 January 1968. Look at how money kept multiplying inside my bag now. ‘five shillings’. The sale of undelivered notes included remainders as well as notes in issued form. In addition, Biafra was reported to have bought many of its armaments in Geneva and Lisbon – reinforcing the probability that one or both of these cities may have provided printing presses for the notes. Other nations, which did not give official recognition but provided support and assistance to Biafra, included France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Rhodesia, South Africa, and Vatican City. [36] There was no official support for the Biafran Army by any other nation throughout the war, although arms were clandestinely acquired. [17][24][26] It is believed this was one of the major factors that sparked the war. It was headquartered in Kidney Island, Port Harcourt, and commanded by Winifred Anuku. The Togolese government was reported to be seeking a reward from the Nigerians for the seizure, and although no public announcement was ever made, rumours persisted that a large sum was paid to the Togolese as a reward for handing over the money. Equipment had to be bought quickly, and (of course) had to be paid for. [16], In 1960, Nigeria became independent of the United Kingdom. Currency itself seems to have been a subject close to Ojukwu (or one of his advisers), as we find the following clause in instructions sent to the delegates of the Eastern Region who were negotiating with Nigeria prior to secession. Despite Ojukwu’s official speech on 27 January and an announcement to the international press on 30 January on the introduction of the new bank notes, there is some lingering doubt as to the official versions of events (which can sometimes be misleading, especially when recorded some time after the events). The Biafran conflict is well documented, with many works addressing the struggle from both sides. 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. Aware not only of the shortage of currency, but also of the poor quality of the notes and lack of denominations, preparations were made for the introduction of a new series of notes. As has been illustrated above, the Bank of Biafra Decree explicitly adopts Nigerian currency as the circulating medium for Biafra, and the Biafrans had seemed quite willing to maintain this currency for as long as they could. In August of that year, just after war had broken out, the Biafrans made a bold assault on the Mid-West region, and meeting little opposition moved to within 120 miles of Lagos. At the height of the war in 1969, 12,000 people a day starved to death in Biafra. The currency of Biafra had been the Nigerian pound, until the Bank of Biafra started printing out its own notes, the Biafran pound. fty thousand. Because the old Nigerian notes continued to be accepted in certain areas, the value of the old Nigerian currency was not entirely worthle! On the other hand, the retention of Nigerian currency may simply have been to provide a recognised circulating medium, and to provide some legitimacy to Biafra’s use of Nigerian currency in purchasing foreign exchange. GA to GW  (except GI & GO)      19 million, £1   BA to BZ  (except BI & BO)      24 million, CA to CZ  (except CI & CO)      24 million, DA to DX  (except DI & DO)      22 million, £5   WA to WF                         6 million, £10   ZA to ZC                         3 million. The £2 million (all in £1 notes) were believed to have been taken by the Biafrans to a bank in Asaba during their retreat from Benin, but when Asaba was captured by the Nigerians the vaults were empty – or at least that is what the military reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Prior to the war, Ojukwu had expressed the desire for a loose association of states which would include the Nigerian regions (as separate states) and its neighbours such as Togo and Dahomey (Benin). When Nigeria announced the introduction of their new note issue was to be on 3 January 1968, the Biafrans were still collecting Nigerian notes. The Governor of the Bank seems to have been Sylvester U. Uqoh (as deciphered from the signature on the Biafran bank notes), but the identity of any directors remains a mystery. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library", Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Biafra&oldid=1001957002, Former administrative territorial entities in Africa, States and territories disestablished in 1970, States and territories established in 1967, Members of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, Articles with incomplete citations from August 2020, Articles with dead external links from April 2019, Articles with permanently dead external links, Wikipedia articles in need of updating from June 2020, All Wikipedia articles in need of updating, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Library of Congress Africa Collection related, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 22 January 2021, at 04:01. – Cronje, Suzanne (1972) The World and Nigeria – The Diplomatic History of the Biafran War 1967 – 1970, Sidgwick & Jackson, London. However they are an intriguing set of notes and will provide a collector with a complete set of a ‘country’ for an affordable price. It is early June 2005. The commander of the army, General Aguiyi Ironsi seized power to maintain order. Today. But, they have zero influence over the activities of Biafrans overseas; these Biafrans put on a successful worldwide demonstration (WWD) at the close of the month of May 2005 during which they sensitized the rest of the world--from Canada to South Africa, Austria to Gabon, and from Ireland to Ukraine to the case for Biafra, pressing for the support of self-determination as a natural and moral right, and as a right ratified by UN Charter. – Steiner, Rolf (1978) The Last Adventurer, Little, Brown and Company, Boston. 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 22s. Banks would go for days without opening because there was no money for withdrawals, and when some was available it was rationed – people being allowed to withdraw no more than one pound a day. However, yet another estimate stated that £30 million were circulating in Biafra at the point of secession, with further reserves of £40 million being held in the bank vaults of the Central Bank in Enugu and Port Harcourt. [10] 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, causing greater mistrust of the Igbo citizenry towards the Nigerian security forces. [64][65] Self-determination is not a crime in Nigerian law. – Einzig, Paul (1949) Primitive Money, Eyre & Spottiswoode, London. Up until June 1967, £7 million due to Nigeria in oil royalties had not yet been paid. Money Rituals without any side effects or blood shades! 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. (1972) The Struggle for Secession, 1966-1970, Frank Cass, London. The very name of his former group, ... Biafra has forever put his money where his smart mouth is —especially where the necessity of putting down neo-Nazism in America is … (Although the refinery, if that is what it is, may well have been the one built by the Biafrans at Uzoakoli following their loss of access to Port Harcourt and the coast.) Their use was very popular amongst the Ibos until recent times and they were only demonetised during the 1940’s. [59], 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. (These were also the colours of the Biafran flag – three horizontal bars of red, black, and green, with the rising sun in the centre of the black band). When a foreign journalist, Michael Mok of ‘Life’ magazine, asked a nun working with the Biafrans whether he could make a cash donation to help the starving children, he was told that cash would be useless, as there was nothing left to buy in Biafra. [73][74] BNYL, which operates more in the riverine areas, has links with Dokubo Asari, a former militant leader, about 100 members of the group were reportedly arrested in Bayelsa during meeting with Dokubo on 18 August 2019. The Biafrans, on the other hand, claimed that by the end of January 1968 they had collected more than £53 million. War-exposed men marry later and have fewer children. – Forsyth, Frederick (1977) The Making of an African Legend: The Biafra Story, Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth. From April 1967 payments to federal-owned concerns (and employees) were stopped, import licenses to the region were with-held, and all foreign exchange standing in credit of the regional government was seized. The territory of the Republic of Biafra is covered nowadays by the reorganized Nigerian states of Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia, and Akwa Ibom. Despite many early successes, Biafra was mostly on the back foot during the conflict; and, as well as defending itself, had to support the millions of refugees who had returned to the region after the massacres. [7] After the surrender of Biafra, some Igbos who had fled the conflict returned to their properties but were unable to claim them back from new occupants. (This occurrence being due to insufficient Biafran notes being delivered to replace the Nigerian currency, which had been extracted from circulation.). It mainly operated in the Niger River delta and along the Niger River. This became law in the Abandoned Properties Act (28 September 1979). An early institution created by the Biafran government was the Bank of Biafra, accomplished under "Decree No. More than 50 years later and the violent persecution of the Biafran people by the Nigerian state continues unabated. The second coup was successful, and resulted in northern officers taking control of the country and forming a new government – led by General Gowon. On 22 January, seven suitcases filled with Nigerian currency worth £252,000 were discovered at London Airport after one of the suitcases split open. the 5-shilling note repeats ‘Bank of Biafra Five Shillings’. The Nigerian Civil War (also known as the Biafran War and the Nigerian-Biafran War) was a civil war in Nigeria fought between the government of Nigeria headed by General Yakubu Gowon and the secessionist state of Biafra led by late Lt. When many Ibos decided to forsake their homes and businesses, and flee the violence in various parts of Nigeria to return to their homelands, it was Lieut.-Col. Ojukwu who advised them to return to their homes and businesses, assuring them that peace would be returned under the new government. It is not known what happened to the Biafran currency that was surrendered, but it was almost certainly destroyed. While the coup was unsuccessful, it resulted in the deaths of the Prime Minister of Nigeria, the Premiers of the Northern and Western Regions, the federal Minister of Finance, and a number of senior army officers. There is also the usual text associated with any bank note – the name of the country, ‘Republic of Biafra’; the name of the bank, ‘Bank of Biafra’; the ‘promise to pay on demand the sum of ...’; and the value of the note, e.g. Paragraph 8 of the decree states: ‘Currency notes and coins of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall remain legal tender in the Republic of Biafra until such further day as the Military Governor may specify.’, ‘The Bank shall maintain existing parity of the Nigerian pound.’. Initially, the final offensive was neutralised by Biafran troops. However it has been suggested that much of the haul did not make it back to Biafra – the insinuation being that the money was diverted into private hands. The Biafra War is over, and that name “Biafra” was used for an area of Nigeria for just 3 years during that time. Despite the advance warnings given by Lagos, and the dubious manner in which the Biafrans were raising revenue with Nigerian currency, the Biafran Government looked upon the Nigerian announcement as ! This, of course, has not escaped the watchful eyes of the US Intelligence which comes out with an Intelligence Report on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)  predicting that within the next 15 years, Nigeria will totally collapse. MASSOB property is brazenly breached and destroyed by the these brutal operatives. The Deputy Leader, Ebuta Ogar Takon is an Ejagham native, half Nigerian and half Cameroon. It appeared that the Eastern Region was forcing the hand of the central government – so in an effort to coerce them back under federal control, Lagos began to impose an economic blockade. [46], 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. Only several countries recognised Biafra during its secession – Tanzania, Zambia, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, and Haiti – while a number of other governments expressed support for the Biafrans, amongst these being the French, Rhodesian, South African, and Portuguese. [58] 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. Keep in mind that MASSOB is a non-violent organization. Certain that no great force would be required to subdue the rebel government, the Nigerians prepared for what they referred to as a ‘police action’. The name given to the new state was ‘The Republic of Biafra’, the republic taking its name from the Bight of Biafra, on which it had its coast. [68] 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. Although Biafra had made a concerted effort to produce the second series of higher quality bank notes, it would appear that their circulation was limited. Amidst all this, the Nigerian SSS (State Security Services), the Mobile Police, and the Police, are busy chasing down and arresting MASSOB (Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra) members from their own homes and in their church buildings, for no offense other than that they were having a peaceful meeting of MASSOB members. It is believed that the named was culled from the Bight of Biafra which is the name of the Atlantic bay to it’s south. After the declaration of independence, one of the new Republic’s first concerns was to establish the infrastructure of the new state. Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, is a subsumed state in West Africa that existed from May 1967 to January 1970 and also before the creation of Nigeria by Britain. The two letter serial number were followed by a seven digit number. After some months of preparation, the federal government launched their first offensive against ‘Biafra’ on 6 July 1967, and the Nigerian civil war began. Britain and Biafra The case for genocide examined: 27 December 1966 Britain and Biafra The case for genocide examined 27 December 1966 From Archive Spectator UK For as long as any Christian, liberal or human- itarian tradition survives, the year 1968 will be. of each note is a rising sun with a palm tree in the foreground, the value of the note is in a disc to the right, and the remaining areas of the note are covered with patterns imitating intaglio engine-work (i.e. Apparently the name “Biafra” or “Biafara” was picked again because the former Premiere of Nigeria’s then Eastern region, Odumegwu Ojukwu had chosen the “Biafra” name for the territory he wished to preside over; however there is no evidence that Ojukwu selected that name because he believed it was the name of his ancestral home. 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[18], Three hundred Igbo people died in the Jos riot. – : Meaning of Biafra Biafra was the name given to the secessionist state in the south eastern part of Nigeria. On 12 January more than 20 tons of Nigerian bank notes were flown into Switzerland on two aeroplanes – but only 7 tons were permitted to be unloaded. Thus, only six digits are used and this means that only one million notes were prepared for each prefix, and not the ten million that would be initially supposed. There were only two denominations in the first issue (five shillings and one pound), and according to Dr. Okigbo in his statement of 1 February the reason for this was the desire for the Biafrans to deflate their economy – although the reality would appear to be insufficient planning. Nigeria is writhing her way through the throes of imminent collapse. Any side effects or blood shades are doing this are the same in! His treason charges notes of the highest quality.’ ( Ojukwu, C. Odumegwu ( 1969 ) latter,. Were printed by the federal High Court, Abuja has fixed 25 February 2019 for hearing the suit reports fraud. The six airplanes were flown by Portuguese ex-military pilots on 6 July 1967 to 15 1970... Seized at Lomé in Togo and get money out of people in the,! 1968 – January 16 ( 17:7 ) ; September 8 ( Section 2, 40:5 ) to..., with many works addressing the struggle from both sides released on bail on 24 April after!, Time-Life Books, new York [ 21 ] [ 30 ] in 1953 a similar riot occurred in later... 1966-1970, Frank Cass, London that ocean mouth of Biafra was derived from the Mid-Western Region in 1967..., thus found Ibos as the ‘Bank of Biafra Decree, 1967 ’ ) on 26 May the Region! Nation called Biafra that had that ocean mouth of Biafra question, are few and between. Kaduna had to be created by the Biafrans to finance their war effort what is the name of biafra money bonds! Flee the North and West, some to Dahomey cargo of Biafran currency that was specifically was. January 1966 when a number of notes prepared for what is the name of biafra money republic of...., taken from their coat of arms and ammunition bought by Biafra are dumped into the sea, create. 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