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. 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. There have been differing reports as to the amount of Nigerian currency in circulation at the time of secession, but when Nigeria’s Finance Commissioner announced on 30 December 1967 that the new Nigerian notes would replace the current notes in circulation between 3 January and 22 January 1968, he also stated that some £37 million had been seized by the rebels in the east. June 21 2020 | Radio Biafra B ack in the days in high school, we students hardly concentrate on related borrowed culture of adopting a new course like borrowing of courses like anthropology and geography; students always gave one excuse or the other why the course wasn’t necessary. 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. This possibility is further enhanced by the knowledge that the Biafran postage stamps were printed by the Portuguese State Security Printers in Lisbon. Also on the back of the 5-pound note is a picture of a woman weaving on a hand loom. – Ojukwu, C. Odumegwu (1969) Biafra – Selected Speeches and Random Thoughts, Harper & Rowe, New York. 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. Nigeria was for many years a British colony, but in 1960 it became an independent Federation of three regions – Northern, Western, and Eastern. Under a separate decree – ‘Decree No.4 of 1967’ (also known as the ‘Banking Decree, 1967’) – the Banking Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was adapted to suit the requirements of the Republic of Biafra. During the later half of 1968 the Central Bank of Nigeria announced they would exchange up to £30 per person and £500 for commercial enterprises in old Nigerian and Biafran currencies. All details of foreign exchange and currency were handled by Ojukwu and a clique of personal supporters – not by any part of the Biafran Civil Service. The italics in the above quotation is an editorial comment added to the interview for the publication of Ojukwu’s book, and it could not be correct if the Biafran currency was introduced some ten days after the interview. Because of the early support by Portugal and the later connection with ‘Markpress’, one could conjecture that the first series was printed in Portugal and the second in Switzerland. It was generally reported that the notes were being sold at discounts! (After independence, a fourth region – the Mid-west – was created.) These overt actions by the new government precipitated massacres of Ibo civilians throughout Nigeria (but particularly in the Northern region), with estimates of the total killed ranging from thirty to fi! 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. The Republic of Biafra was a unitary republic administered under emergency measures. To the left! Today. On July 6, 1967, civil war broke out in Nigeria , … So, on 30 May 1967, the Eastern Region was declared an independent republic by Lieutenant-Colonel Ojukwu. That has been our name for centuries, given to us by our ancestors, and we are very happy with it. In contrast, the so-called leaders of Nigeria, including General Obasanjo, the president,  whose affluent ways and self-serving power displays depend on Nigeria being seen as virile and together, vigorously deny that there is any problem with Nigeria. [42] The six airplanes were flown by three Swedish pilots and three Biafran pilots. In the Eastern Region, from the time of the massacres, there arose a strong movement amongst the Ibos to break away from the federation. [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016] Vanguard. From January 1968, a Swiss public relations company, ‘Markpress’ of Geneva, looked after various interests of the Biafran government, operating the ‘Biafran Overseas Press Division’ and providing access for journalists to Biafra. 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. In an effort to take firm control of the country, General Ironsi was appointed by the Nigerian cabinet to head a federal military government. [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. [35] A second decree, "Decree No. ether they were brought back to Lagos by Nigerian soldiers, or by speculators in Nigerian currency who may have bought them at a discount from the Biafrans. General Ironsi (an Ibo) managed to stabilize the situation, and one of his first acts was to appoint military governors to the four regions – with the most important appointment being that of Lieutenant-Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to govern the Eastern Region. – Akpan, Ntieyong U. The total value of each series printed, based on the numbers extrapolated above, was £50 million for the first issue and £148.5 million for the second issue, making a total of £198.5 million. In the latter stages, a Southern FMG offensive managed to break through the fierce resistance.[24]. 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. 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. Under the changes put in place immediately after the declaration of independence, the military, the civil service, and the legal system were all altered to report to the new government. My name is Mr Franchise from Edo state Benin around upper mission road . These are boys who want to take people unawares and get money out of people in the name of Biafra. Remainders are available only for the second series (with the apparent exception of the 10-shilling note which has not been positively recorded), and can be recognised by the lack of serial numbers – which are to be found (if present) in the top right and bottom left on the front of the notes. It has also been suggested that the money ultimately fell into the hands of Nigerian soldiers who failed to declare their discovery. The Biafra War is over, and that name “Biafra” was used for an area of Nigeria for just 3 years during that time. The necessary haste which required this to be done precluded the issuing of a Biafran currency in a time frame which would allow the swapping of Biafran notes for Nigerian notes. The currency of Biafra had been the Nigerian pound until the Bank of Biafra started printing out its own notes, the Biafran pound. – Mezu, S. Okechukwu (1971) Behind the Rising Sun, Heinemann, London. [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. 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. [24][30] In September 1968, the federal army planned what Gowon described as the "final offensive". The common features are the rising sun (now a much smaller representation), the palm tree, the names of the Republic and the Bank, a white disc to the right of the note, and patterns imitating engine work surrounding the note. [38], The Biafrans managed to set up a small yet effective air force. [64][65] Self-determination is not a crime in Nigerian law. [56][57], The Nigerian federal government accuses MASSOB of violence; MASSOB's leader, Ralph Uwazuruike, was arrested in 2005 and was detained on treason charges. Just when it seemed they may gain an ascendancy in the conflict, the leader of the Biafran push, Lieut.-Col. Victor Banjo (a Yoruba soldier), changed his allegiances, and was convinced by the federal authorities to withdraw the Biafrans from the Mid-West. One of the more interesting assets of the Central Bank that was specifically seized was its currency. [14] In his personal writings from his travels, a Rev. Power was being concentrated in the hands of a few factions in each region, and nationally there was a great deal of political jockeying between the major ethnic groups – particularly the northern Hausa against the southern Yoruba and Ibo. Its coast was on the Gulf of Guinea of the South Atlantic Ocean in the south. Several years later, in 1963, Nigeria became a republic, but it was being plagued by power struggles; and, like so many modern African nations, these power struggles centred around ethnic groups. With these two decrees the financial framework of the Bank of Biafra was established, but there was still a more important problem to be faced – that of financing the war. New currency was introduced. In a national broadcast, he said the decision was based on the belief that "justice must at all times be tempered with mercy". 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. [53] Since August 1999, protests have erupted in cities across Nigeria's south-east. Did Biafra have a Best Boy or Key Grip as well?”) and the serial number suspiciously high for such a young country. The difference being that the Eastern Region’s arms had supporters of a leopard (on the left) and a man carrying a spear – an ‘Alo’ – (on the right), whereas the Biafran arms had two leopards supporting the shield. [54], 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. Because many of the officers involved in the coup were Ibos, and because the Premiers of the Eastern and Mid-West Region (who were both Ibos) remained unharmed in the coup, it led many to believe that the coup was promoted by the Ibos. 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. Although Nigeria was held up by the Western World as a model of the democratic process in Africa, this was far from the truth. Whatev! Wharton was subsequently fired and a new supply route established. In January 1967 the Eastern Region began impounding the rolling stock of the Nigerian Railways and seizing goods at Port Harcourt that were the property of federal authorities. The four most senior officers of Northern origin were also killed. Brands-Gloria Mary. [9] Federal projects in Biafra were also greatly reduced compared to other parts of Nigeria. [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. Intermittent reports continued to appear in the international press in late 1967 and early 1968 of foreign nationals attempting to smuggle Nigerian currency into Nigeria. How to say Biafra in English? A 1710 map indicates that the region known as "Biafar" (Biafra) was located in present day Cameroon. Gowon vehemently refused to pay and threatened to extend the anti-Biafra blockade to the Bonny Island oil terminal. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the President, of Igbo extraction, and the favored Western Region politician Obafemi Awolowo were not killed. On the left column we have posted some of the relevant newspaper articles. 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. Money rituals within 37mins from the moment you called. Not surprisingly, the coup generated a deal of confusion and animosity across Nigeria, ultimately resulting in violence. 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. 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. Meanwhile, the popularity of the originally planned Sovereign National Conference (SNC) of Ethnic Nations living in Nigeria (which Obasanjo tried now to preempt after initially and all along vigorously and unsuccessfully opposing) is rising. [78], On 31 July 2020, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra / Biafra Independence Movement (BIM-MASSOB) joined the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).[79][80]. [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. Reports exist that the Biafran government approached the Rothschild Bank – either shortly after the outbreak of war, or at least by the end of 1967 – in an effort to transform their holdings of Nigerian currency. ‘The question of central banking and coinage is something which must be very carefully looked into. ), 1967 – October 25 (25g); May 29 (1e); June 9 (7d), 1968 – January 3 (5d); January 23 (1e); January 26 (4g); January 30 (4h); April 17 (10f); June 20 (4h). Another discrepancy in official versions lies in the date of the declaration whereby Nigerian notes were no longer to be legal tender. of over 40% their face value. There is the possibility that the Biafran currency was actually introduced earlier than stated, for in an interview at Umuahia on 18 January 1968, Gen. Ojukwu made the following comment: ‘I understand that some women in the villages said that if this money [during the recall of Nigerian currency for Biafran currency] was wanted for the war they did not mind; the government should take it all.’ (Ojukwu, 1969). – The Secession that Failed Time Magazine, January 26 1970, pages 18-24. It is not known exactly when these notes were introduced, but it was probably around February 1969, as Gen. Ojukwu announced the following in a speech to the Consultative Assembly and Council of Chiefs and Elders on 10 February: ‘I am happy to announce to you that we have now been able to produce real Biafran currency of the highest quality. During Nigeria’s ‘final thrust’ of August 1968 (which proved not so final), Wharton’s planes did not arrive when needed. remembered as the one in which a British government, for the first… The National Political Reform Conference arranged, funded (illegally) and teleguided by Obasanjo himself, is about to wind up,  pretending that it has been successful, although the fragmentation of interests along ethnic and regional lines is the most visible outcome--not surprisingly. Portugal was an early supporter of Biafra, and by October 1967 Biafra had established a private mission in Lisbon. However, most commentators on the war discounted these claims as Nigerian propaganda, seeking to discredit both Ojukwu and the French. Hank Wharton was an American transport operator who had come to an arrangement with the Biafrans to fly arms twice weekly from Lisbon (Portugal) to Biafra. – Forsyth, Frederick (1977) The Making of an African Legend: The Biafra Story, Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth. It is also known that one of Ojukwu’s financial advisers was based in Switzerland at the end of the war. Pronunciation of Biafra with 2 audio pronunciations, 8 translations, 13 sentences and more for Biafra. According to one version, the planes broke down while flying in their cargo, and jettisoned the much needed supply of weapons, and evidently other cargo such as the Biafran bank notes, before returning to Lisbon. Police and Army units from Kaduna had to be brought in to restore order. After the declaration of independence, one of the new Republic’s first concerns was to establish the infrastructure of the new state. These undelivered notes were sold into the collector market once they became unusable, and were sold in such numbers that the market became flooded. However, matters became critical in January 1966 when a number of junior army officers attempted a coup. Three major rivers flow from Biafra into the Gulf of Guinea: the Imo River, the Cross River and the Niger River.[31]. 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! [34] The first issue of the bank notes included only 5 shillings notes and 1 pound notes. 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. 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 ! [67] 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. The massacres, not surprisingly, created much fear amongst the Ibos living outside the Eastern Region, and in the weeks following the massacres (September 1966) some two million Ibos gave up their homes and businesses to seek refuge in their eastern homelands. Bite is like a bay beach, the river mouth, the ocean mouth of Biafra. The Deputy Leader, Ebuta Ogar Takon is an Ejagham native, half Nigerian and half Cameroon. [34] Consequently there were three currencies circulating in Nigeria – new Nigerian notes in the West and North, Biafran notes in the areas controlled by the ‘rebels’ and old Nigerian notes in those areas of the East which had been liberated by the Nigerians. Under the decree, the central office of the Bank of Biafra was to be in Enugu, which was the capital of the Republic. Adverse impacts on child growth, survival, and we are very with. Arms, the final offensive '' was accomplished under `` Decree No in,... 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