in ,

The Mystery Behind this Shortlived African Country that Existed for Only 12 Hours

You may not have heard of this country as it did not even last for a day.

Known as the Republic of Benin, this country was created as a puppet state of Biafra in 1967 amid the Nigerian Civil War, following the occupation of Nigeria’s Mid-Western Region.

The Nigerian Civil War, otherwise known as the Biafran War began in 1967 and ended in 1970 following the desire of the Igbo people to separate from Nigerian and form the independent Republic of Biafra in the east of the country. The violent and bloody conflict killed over 3 million people and displaced many.

The Nigerian Civil War — Pinterest

The Igbo people of South East Nigeria at the time felt that they were being marginalized by the federal government that was Northern-dominated.

In the lead up to the war, residents of the ethnically diverse Mid-Western Region tried to stay neutral since it was a home to both the Igbo and non-Igbo population.

But some weeks after the war, the Biafran forces occupied the Mid-Western Region and took control of the regional government.

American-educated doctor, Albert Okonkwo was appointed as the head of the occupied area. The Igbo people accepted the Biafran control, but the non-Igbos were not excited, especially when Okonkwo started broadcasting Biafran propaganda in the media.

These media campaigns ruined any sort of sympathy the non-Igbos would have for the pro-Biafran secessionist cause and eventually, they adopted a neutral position.


The Biafra War displaced many people

At the same time, Nigerian federal forces had begun invading the Mid-Western region, and Okonkwo started harbouring fears that the non-Igbo population would take sides with them and overthrow him.

He, therefore, took a desperate move; on September 19, 1967, he rebranded the region by declaring it as the Republic of Benin.

Named after the Nigerian coastal city of Benin, the action was intended to court the support of the non-Igbo people.

Flag of the Republic of Benin

Although the Republic of Benin was supposed to stand on its own, separate from Biafra and Nigeria, Okonkwo still declared that the new country would support Biafra in all its causes and would participate in organisations such as the Commonwealth of Nations and the Organisation of African Unity.

However, Okonkwo’s proposals did not materialize as about 12 hours after declaring the Republic of Benin as a new republic, the Nigerian federal forces aided by British forces invaded Benin City, the Republic of Benin’s capital city, and overthrew the newly established republic to the joy of many people.



Written by How Africa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Ethiopia’s PM, Abiy Says ‘New Year’ Will be Celebrated in Eritrea, Ethiopian Airlines to Resume Flights

World Cup 2018: Nigeria’s Super Eagles Eliminated by Late Argentina Strike