NIGER Delta Peoples Salvation Force (NDPSF) leader Mujahid Asari-Dokubo has lashed out at the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) for trying to claim the name Biafra as Igbo property revealing that it was originally coined by an Ijaw man.
Over recent years, Ipob has been campaigning for secession, hoping to recreate the breakaway Republic of Biafra that existed briefly between July 1967 and 1970. At the time, Biafra was made up the entire former Eastern Region, which is made up of today southeast and south-south geo-political zones, with only the former being Igbo.
When Biafra was declared, the non-Igbos in the old Eastern Region like the Ijaw, Ogoni, Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Ekoi, Ogoni were not keen on the breakaway republic and fought with the federal side to keep Nigeria one. Today, the south-south is made up of Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Edo States and several of their leaders have distanced themselves from the Biafra agitation.
Adding his voice to the debate, Mr Asari-Dokubo said Biafra is an Ijaw name and has nothing to do with Ipob led by Nnamdi Kanu. He recalled that an Ijaw man called Frank Opigo, came up with the name Biafra and it was subsequently adopted by the Eastern Region and used when the republic was declared.
Mr Asari-Dokubo added: “Ijaws are divided between the Bight of Benin and Bight of Biafra. We are the owners of Biafra and Biafra is an Ijaw name, while the territory identified as Ijaw is Biafra with parts of Ibiobio and Oron.”
“On the 30th of May, the Republic of Biafra was declared which included the eastern region within our territory, so Biafra has nothing with Igbo.”
He further revealed that the real geographical location of Biafra is Ijaw stressing that in 1967, the Eastern Consultative Assembly was convened in Enugu and then Frank Opigo, an Ijaw man, moved the motion that Biafra should be adopted as the name and it was accepted. Mr Asari-Dokubo, who was recently involved in a face-off with the embattled Ipob leader over the mismanagement of funds, said the history is contained in a book authored by an Ijaw revolutionary, Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro.