Since the civil war in Nigeria between 1967 and 1970, the agitation for Biafra has continued to be a major issue in Nigeria.
The southeastern people comprising mostly of the Igbo nation, feel marginalized, hence the continued agitation for the Republic of Biafra.
In 1967 when Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu declared the Republic of Biafra, which led to a civil war, some countries pulled their weight behind the seceding nation of Biafra.
These countries showed their displeasure and tried to support them during the civil war by providing food and weapons.
So in this blog post, we will look at the civil war that occurred in Nigeria and the countries that showed support at that critical time in one way or the other.
The Nation Nigeria And The Issues Leading Up To The Biafran War
The British colonized Nigeria in 1884, but in 1914, there was the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates which gave rise to Nigeria. The country gained independence in 1960 and, within seven years of gaining independence, experienced a civil war.
After the country gained its independence, oil was discovered in Oloibiri, Bayelsa, which became the country’s main source of income. During this time, the military, mostly northerners, were in power.
But instead of using the proceeds from the region for development and betterment of the region, it was being squandered and used to enrich only a few. Thereby neglecting the region and the people who owned the oil.
As a result, the eastern region of Nigeria, led by Odumegwu Ojukwu, declared independence from the rest of Nigeria to become the Republic of Biafra in an attempt to secede.
This didn’t go down well with the Nigerian government at the time, which was led by Yakubu Gowon, and it led to the civil war.
This war lasted for three years and ended in 1970, with Nigeria winning the war. After the civil war, many states were created to weaken the movement.
After many decades have passed, many groups like the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have risen to demand the Republic of Biafra.
This is because they want more freedom for their territories and control over the natural resources in their area, which the northerners are in charge of.
Countries That Supported Biafra During The Civil War
It shouldn’t surprise you that many countries supported the Nigerian government to maintain the country’s unity.
Yet others supported the Biafran movement. These countries are Spain, China, France, Portugal, Israel, and South Africa. They supported the Biafran struggle for independence.
During the war, these countries helped by giving Biafrans food and sometimes weapons. Ojukwu made it possible to get enough oil to buy weapons and established a network of offices where mercenaries could be hired.
It is unfortunate that power balance has never favored the Igbos or the south-south. This is shown by the refusal of the United Nations to recognize the Republic of Biafra.
And in December 1968, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), told Biafra to give up on the idea of independence.
Why The Biafran Struggle May Not Be Stopped
Most war veterans don’t think the Republic of Biafra can break away from Nigeria. Even though the people who lived through the civil war are getting older, the war’s wounds can’t be healed. This is because many people lost beloved ones, and this story has been passed on to generations.
Also, the reason for the war has not been solved. That feeling of marginalization still lingers in the region, and they are still aggrieved that their natural resources are being used mostly to develop other regions.
Yet the region is relegated to the background, just like in the past. And most people in the region live below the poverty line.
That is why you will see issues like militancy, and the push for Biafra is very strong. And most of these militant groups caused the federal government a lot of trouble by bombing oil pipelines to hurt the economy.
In the past, the idea that militants start a “full-scale war” in the country and target mostly foreign oil companies in the Niger Delta region was one of the reasons that caused the price of black gold to reach a record high of $50 per barrel in December 2004.
From this blog post, the civil war resulted from the marginalization of the oil-producing region in the country. And they wanted to secede to be able to manage the natural resources gotten from their own land.
And during the period of this civil war, only five countries supported the Republic of Biafra. And they include Spain, China, France, Portugal, Israel, and South Africa.