Map of Biafra
A published map of the proposed Biafra Republic include states that are recognized as Niger Delta whose inhabitants are mostly smaller Ethnic tribes different cultural and historically from the Ibos tribe who are the dominant tribes in the eastern heartland of Nigeria. An area associated with the agitations for the emergence of a Biafra nation out of Nigeria.
These tribes and their states are mostly the Niger Deltas who are neighbours to the Ibos and have been interrelating with them culturally, socially and economically. The states include Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Cross River. Apart from having close proximity to the proposed Biafra, these Niger Delta states are blessed with enormous mineral resources of crude oil and huge gas deposits which is valued in hundreds of billions of dollars thus making them a suitable bride to any rebel suitor.
The Niger Delta states apart from crude oil are blessed with a favourable location as some of them are bordered by the sea and ocean hence they accessible to ports. They have also very large land mass which is suitable for growth and sustenance of agriculture. In addition, there also boast of a large population and a big market for goods and services. Little wonder that the progenitors of the Biafra Nation eye the Niger Delta region as a suitable partner or area which if annex will add much value to their nation and help to sustain its economic well-being.
However, the desire to include Niger delta states in the Proposed Biafra has been rebuffed by many Niger Delta people made up of both elders and the youths of the region. Though the Niger Delta sympathises with the Ibo people quest for a separate nation of Biafra they, however, would not want to be part and parcel of the proposed nation.
The big question then arises as to whether Biafra Nation can survive economically without her wealthy neighbor the Niger Delta region. There is a line of thought that the Igbos who are predominantly business people and traders would not be able to survive on its own as a nation without the Niger Delta’s petrodollars and even without the other tribes in Nigeria because they depend on these tribes to sell their goods and make money.
In the event of separation, it is argued that the Biafra nation will be too small and compacted and the population inadequate for the Internal trading and achieve progress and prosperity. Though belonging to a different country do not stop one ordinarily from doing business with a foreign or neighbouring countries but again this is subject to the external trade and import restrictions which can be imposed by such country on another from time to time.
A Biafra Nation without the Niger Delta will lose billions of petro dollars which are accruable from Niger Delta’s enormous crude oil and gas deposits. The loss of such revenue will impact negatively on their external foreign reserves and imposed restrictions on their use of foreign currency. The scarcity of the dollars in a Biafra nation will rubbish the value of their national currency and lead to inflation and scarcity of essential items. The crude oil deposits in Abia and Imo State are not substantial to support the import bill of the new nation for one month. The coal deposit in Enugu has been abandoned for years and will require significant investments over the years to become commercially viable.
A Biafra nation without the Niger Delta will have a small land mass which will not be sufficient for agriculture especially food production. This may force the new nation to depend entirely on imported food from foreign nations and such importation will put a serious pressure on their foreign reserves which they obviously do not have in large supply.
A Biafra nation without the Niger Delta region is a land locked country without any access to the sea or ocean. The only port of discharge they can boast of is the river port in Onitsha and Owerrinta. Their location will disqualify them of a sea port for the import and export of their goods. Depending upon a neighbor’s sea port put one in a dangerous position as your security and economy will be seriously compromised.
A Biafra nation without the Niger Delta will cost them a huge reduction in population as they will miss the advantage of adding over 22 million more people to their estimated 30 Million. This in effect means less demand for goods and services, less revenue from taxation as well as fewer work forces to be engaged in companies and industries.
A Biafra Nation without the Niger Delta will also rob the Ibos of available suitors and maidens for marriage as it is common knowledge that the Ibos are very comfortable in marrying people of the Niger Delta as compared to the other tribes in Nigeria. The loss of Niger Delta will mean that citizens of Biafra will have to marry a foreigner with its attendant foreign toga and expenses whenever such occasion arises.
Despite these disadvantages which the Biafra Nation might face without their wealthy neighbor, the Niger Delta, many believers in the cause of Biafra have refused to see any disadvantage. Rather what they see are advantages and their ability and faith in God to turn every disadvantage into an advantage.
They argued that Biafra can and will survive without the Niger Delta or any other part of Nigeria despite its small land mass. The application of technology in agriculture will enable the new nation to get an optimal result in food production with enough excess for exports. They point to the nation of Israel which is small in land mass yet can feed a very big country like Nigeria.
Biafra Nation can survive without the Niger Delta crude oil and gas deposits because the Ibos currently are not benefitting from the crude oil resources anyway hence they will miss nothing. Also, Biafra nation does have crude oil and gas deposits which are largely unexplored. There are other mineral deposits in the proposed nation such as coal and gold. Cash crops like palm oil, palm kernel, rubber and cashew nut among others are produced in commercial quantity. Biafra will depend also on foreign remittances sent by its large foreign national’s residents in foreign countries. It is estimated that the foreign remittances presently stands at over 5 billion dollars annually.
Biafra nation is not afraid of not having access to a sea port to export or import goods from abroad as they can make use of the surrounding ports of their neighbours. Countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda are all land locked countries but today there are better economically than Nigeria with over five seaports.
The Biafra nation with a small land mass and even with a small population will perform better than countries with big populations. Its small population and land if efficiently trained and managed will produce better outputs and development. Countries such as Switzerland, Israel, Singapore, Netherlands, Qatar, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Oman and Kuwait have smaller land mass and population but are better than Nigeria economically and in living standards.
The arguments continue depending on which side of the coin you are but seriously and sincerely speaking can a new Biafra nation survive without the Niger Delta Region?