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THE NAME “BIAFRA” IS A STOLEN NAME BY ALL THE IGBOS THAT CLAIMS TO BE PART OF IT. The continued use of the controversial name "Biafra" as conceived by leaders of the defunct secessionists empire, has become a constant source of embarrassment and is seen as a "torn in the flesh" to the rightful owners of the name to which historical treaties were signed to establish what later became known as the Bight of Biafra. It is reported that a Biafran embassy has since been commissioned in New York and in other parts of Europe. The MASSOB campaign to actualize and showcase the crumbled empire has reached an advanced stage. The name "Biafra" as originally conceived has inflicted a great deal of damage to the security and cultural identity of the non-Igbo people of the former Eastern region of Nigeria who still suffer the painful consequences of the unfortunate tragic war. It is on this score and in the interest of the growing readership of our magazine that we felt we should repeat below the eye-opening article written by a cultural historian and first published in this magazine which was issued July 2004. The Dutch were the first European merchants to visit the West Coast of Africa who traded with the Rivers people as far back as the 1300s. After the disengagement of the Dutch, then came in the Portuguese for the same trade purposes such as slaves, palm oil, palm kernels and ivory tusks and later they signed commercial treaty with the Rivers people at FRIA TORU (RIVER FRIA) which was named BAY OF FRIA and the same was reflected in the map of Africa and later Nigeria. When eventually the Portuguese left, then came the British merchants who renewed the same commercial treaty as BIGHT OF BIAFRA. This commercial agreement was signed by King 👑 Perekule 1 on behalf of Grand Bonny and Chief Odum Barboy 1, on behalf of King 👑 Amachree for the Kalabari Kingdom in the year AD 1775. Consequent upon this commercial treaty which established the BIGHT OF BIAFRA in the year AD 1775, and coupled with several other subsequent legal and or commercial treaties signed between the Kings 👑 and Chiefs of Rivers people and European merchants. The British granted Independence to the Rivers people in London GAZETTE No. 22 as BRITISH OIL RIVERS PROTECTORATE in particular before the existence of Nigeria. The Igbos' were not at all signatories to any of these legal or commercial treaties for which they could anchor any legitimate claim to the Bight of Biafra. The writer would like 👍 to remind the reading public, particular people of Rivers and Bayelsa origins of the local name for BIAFRA were in is ODOYE-FRIA and the slogan in our daily 📰 parlance, AKUKU FRIA BEM, KELE IGBEMA which when translated to the English language, reads "AKUKU TOLD FRIA TO SHIFT A BIT." The Bight of Biafra was an international trading post established by law between the Rivers people and the European merchants after the abolition of the slave trade by William Wilberforce of Great Britain. The British later introduced and established the UNITED AFRICAN COMPANY LIMITED OF NIGERIA (UAC). And built the BIAFRA HOUSE 🏠 where the M.D.S (A DIVISION OF U.A.C.) premises' is presently located at its HEAD OFFICE 🏢 IN PORT HARCOURT before the session of the Igbos on the 30th of May, 1967. The fleeing Igbo soldiers at the approach of the Nigerian military forces burnt the said BIAFRA HOUSE to ashes during the ill-fated civil war. The Bight of Biafra, otherwise known as and called "FRIA TORU" are the collective estuaries, which flows in and end ebb into the Atlantic ocean continually throughout the ages of the time. This natural phenomenon does not extend to anywhere in the Igbo land for them to lay claim to any part of it. more so, as the natural boundary between the Rivers and Bayelsa states and the Igbo states is the IMO RIVER. The Federal military government headed by Yakubu Gowon at the time was wrong to have erased from the map of Nigeria, "the BIGHT OF BIAFRA" by a degree and insert " BIGHT OF BONNY in its stead because the commercial treaty which established the " BIGHT OF BIAFRA was signed by the Bonny and Kalabari monarchs on one side and the British merchants representing their monarchs on the other side. The war-time general might have been misinformed and misdirected at that time. Similarly, as he did in the case of BAKASSI peninsula which was signed away to Cameroon. However, the coastal states of both Rivers and Bayelsa of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should ENDEAVOUR BY ALL MEANS POSSIBLE to make a very passionate appeal to the present democratic government to kindly REVERT THE POSITION OF THE BIGHT OF BIAFRA ON THE MAP OF NIGERIA TO STATUS QUO. This will enable the rightful people to establish ownership of the Bight of Biafra. Thus, stopping further embarrassment by the continued misuse of "BIAFRA." The governments of Rivers and Bayelsa states should make an endless effort towards rebuilding the "BIAFRA HOUSE." in PORT HARCOURT or RENAME the "SUPABOD" building as "BIAFRA HOUSE" in order to retain the international historical strides achieved centuries ago by our forebear for future generations to relish. Again if I may ask, who will still argue that the Bight of Biafra is for Rivers and the present Bayelsa coastal people while the Bight of Benin is the for the Benis. The Igbos who are hinterland people living in hinterland communities cannot be called "BIAFRA" at all. courtesy: Hon. Benebo-Harry, a cultural historian. - Amonia... Facebook user name: Ajen-alamonia Tamunoemi.


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