The Republic of Biafra was a secessionist state that declared independence from Nigeria, causing the Nigerian Civil War in May 1967. Haiti, Gabon, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, and Zambia recognize the short-lived state’s independence. Biafra, no longer exists as of January 1970. It is now the southern and southeastern regions of Nigeria, Igbo people mostly settle the area. Read along to learn about it’s currency, the Biafra Pound.
Nnamdi KanuIn establishes the Indigenous People of Biafra in 2012 under his leadership. The separatist organization, which is the prominent force of the Igbo community unfortunately carries the label of a terrorist group, it aims to regain Biafra’s independence. In October 2015, Kanu authorities arrest him due to a treasonable felony and violations of human rights. However in 2017, he flees Nigeria and in 2021, authorities arrest him once again.
As the separatist group perseveres in making Biafra an independent state as well as calling for the release of their leader, the Indigenous People of Biafra have enforced their community to stay at home on Mondays as their form of protest. Aside from the lockdown, the region has faced violence.
The Biafra Pound
The Biafra Pound was the breakaway state’s currency. The first Biafra Pound banknote was introduced on January 29, 1968, in denominations of 5 shillings and also 1 pound. These notes share the same design on the obverse which reflects a palm tree and a large rising sun. The reverse of the lower denomination shows four Igbo girls while the 1 pound banknote depicts the coat of arms represented by an eagle and leopards.
Another set of banknotes begins to circulate on February 1969 in 5 and 10 Shillings, and 1, 5, and 10 Pounds. These notes also depict a palm tree on the obverse. However, unlike the 1968 issues, these notes show a small rising sun.
The rest of the world didn’t recognize the Biafran pound as a currency. However, following the state’s surrender to the Nigerian Federal Military Government, Biafran banknotes are now only collector money with a tale to tell.