The ancient Nation of Biafra

Biafra was an ancient country which appeared first in the map of the world drawn by the Portuguese explorers between 1492 and 1729 located in the African continent. The map is still available today in the British Library and other Libraries of the world and shows Biafra as a large country then spelt variously as “Biafara”, “Biafar” and “Biafares” having boundaries with such ancient empires as Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, Bini, Kamerun, Congo, Gabon, and others. It was in 1843 that the Map of Africa showed the country spelt as “Biafra” having some parts of the modern day Cameroon within its boundary including the disputed Bakassi Peninsula. The original territory of Biafra was not restricted to the present Eastern Nigeria alone. According to the ancient maps, the Portuguese travelers used the word “Biafara” to describe the entire region of the Lower Niger River and eastwards up to the Cameroon Mountain and down to the eastern coastal tribes, thus including parts of the modern day Cameroon and Gabon. The ancient Map of Africa in 1662 shows the three kingdoms in West Africa from where Nigeria was created, namely: The Kingdom of Biafra in the East, The Kingdom of Benin in the West and The Kingdom of Zamfara in the North. Every indigenous person inhabiting the country now called Nigeria has his or her ancestral root from one of these three ancient kingdoms.

From the records of history, Biafra had existed on the Map of Africa for more than 400 years before Nigeria was created in 1914. The British had diplomatic dealings with Biafrans before the new country called Nigeria was created. John Beecroft was the British Consul of the Bight of Biafra from 30th June 1849 to 10th June 1854 with his headquarters in Fernando Po in the Bight of Biafra. The city of Fernando Po is now called Bioko in Equatorial Guinea. It was from the Bight of Biafra that John Beecroft, eager to control the trade in the west and supported by Christian missionaries at Badagry, bombarded Lagos which became a British colony in 1851 and was formally ceded to Queen Victoria, the Queen of England in 1861, in whose honour Victoria Island Lagos was named. Thus, the British had established their presence in Biafraland before they annexed Lagos in 1861. The left part of the Gulf of Guinea opposite the Bight of Biafra was designated on the Map of Africa as Bight of Benin. The word “Bight” is an ancient English word for “Bay”. The ancient Kingdom of Biafra in the East had its western neighbour as the Kingdom of Benin. Therefore, Biafra was a sovereign entity with its own geographical territory clearly shown on the Map of Africa before the coming of the Europeans just like the ancient nations of Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, etc. The Biafra Nation practised autonomous democracies among its clans as practised among the Ibos today. Actually, the Republic of Biafra which was declared in 3 1967 by General Odumegwu Ojukwu was not a new country but an attempt to restore the ancient Biafra Nation that existed before Nigeria was created by the British.
the-biafra-map-v4The map of Biafra was deleted in 1884 – 1885 in the Berlin Conference in Germany when the Europeans and Americans placed the map of Africa on a table and shared the lands of Africa among themselves as colonies which act is known in history as the Scramble for Africa. They colonized the lands of Africa and created some new countries and redrew the maps. Unfortunately, in dividing the lands of Africa among themselves, they deleted the Map of Biafra and other ancient maps on the African Continent and merged different peoples together to create new countries without knowing the native tribal boundaries. One of the new countries they created was Nigeria. This arbitrary sharing of the lands of Africa and creating artificial boundaries to merge incompatible tribes into one nation has caused much spilling of blood in Africa. Some of the indigenous people of Biafra were carved into Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, etc. Most of the descendants of the ancestors of Biafraland have lost their ancestral root but only the Ibos are still boldly upholding their ancestral identity as descendants of indigenous people of Biafra. I have underlined the word, boldly, because there are some Biafrans in the South-South and Middle Belt who are afraid to declare their identity in public because of the fear of persecution. Only the Ibos are being persecuted for their Biafranness and their gospel of Biafranism. It is very clear that within Nigeria, some clans have renounced their Biafran identity. The fear of persecution associated with the name of BIAFRA is the factor that has caused many Biafrans to deny their identity as the law appears too weak to protect them. — paper presented by Emeka Adolphus Chigozie Emekesri

1 comment: