One of the pro-Biafran groups, the Biafra Zionist Federation, on Monday, in Enugu, declared the secession of the ‘Republic of Biafra’ from Nigeria.
Biafra takes off as an independent country today, August 1, 2017, according to BZM leader, Mr. Benjamin Onwuka, who declared himself the ‘Interim President’ of the new nation at a press briefing at the Enugu secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists.
He did not name a Vice-President.
Onwuka, who was detained, and charged with treason after leading some members of the BZF to invade the studios of the Enugu State Broadcasting Service in a failed bid to announce the secession of Biafra on June 5, 2014, also named ministers and other top government officials of Biafra.
The officials named by Onwuka are prominent personalities drawn from different areas, which the BZF leader said were Biafran territories.
Eminent economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, was named the foreign minister while a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has been appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank of Biafra.
In the same vein, a former boss of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh, has been named the finance minister.
The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, was named as the Ambassador of the Republic of Biafra to the United States while a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, from Niger State, was appointed the transport minister.
Another former information minister and former deputy governor of Nasarawa State, Mr. Labaran Maku, has been named as the minister of aviation.
Other key appointments, as announced by Onwuka, include Amarachi Ubani, information; Mrs. Mary Okafor, trade and industry; Benny Lar, from Plateau State, Secretary to the Government of the Republic of Biafra; Gabriel Oluwole Osagie, education; and Philip Effiong Jnr, health.
Prof. Barth Nnaji, a former power minister, was named as energy minister in the ‘cabinet’ assembled by Onwuka.
It was not clear whether Onwuka consulted the ‘appointees’ before naming them as part of his ‘government.’
Journalists, who were bewildered as Onwuka unexpectedly declared the secession of Biafra, laughed when he reeled out the names.
But with a stern expression on his face, Onwuka glared at the journalists and retorted, “This is not a laughing matter.”
The BZF leader explained that the nascent Biafran government was an interim one, claiming that he had the backing of the US.
According to Onwuka, the alleged recognition of the independence of Biafra was part of US foreign policy, having been endorsed by former President Barack Obama before he left office.