The Efik nation, a traditional monarchy in the southeastern corner of Nigeria which dates to pre-colonial times, has said that it intends to secede from Nigeria, mostly because of anger over last year’s cession of the Bakassi Peninsula to neighboring Cameroon, where Efiks also live.
High Chief Eyo Bassey Eyo-Cobham, chairman of the Eburutu Royal Fraternity Forum, made the announcement at a press conference in Calabar, Nigeria, on June 23rd. He also cited “undue government interference in Efik kingship,” in the words of one press report, and suspicions that the central government in Abuja is planning on handing even more Efik land to Cameroon. The current obong (prince or traditional ruler, sometimes translated king) of the Efik city-state at Akwa Akpa (“Old Calabar,” in Nigeria) is Basso Ekpo Bassey II (a.k.a. Ekpo Abasi Otu), who took the throne in 2008. The larger Calabar (a.k.a. Kalabari) Kingdom, which includes Efiks but is dominated by the Ijaw ethnic group, is headed by Theophilus J. T. Princewill, who became King Amachree XI in 2002 (though Amachree’s rule has been in recent years troubled by competing claims).
|Basso Ekpo Bassey II’s coronation in 2008|
|This map shows the Efik ethnolinguistic group (included here with Ibibio)|
in relation to the Igbo (here “Ibo”) and Ijaw peoples.
|Amachree XI, king of Calabar: is he as separatist as the Efik obong?|
The Bakassi Peninsula, in the words of the statement, “was an integral part of Efik Eburutu Kingdom as shown in all available records” and “was secretly and heartlessly expunged from Nigerian map in October 1960, filed in United Nations and African Union (A.U.) secretariats and ceded in 1975 to Cameroun without the consent and knowledge of its owners—the kings and chiefs of Efiks of Calabar and Bakassi. This action has demonstrated that our people are not wanted in Nigeria, and as a people, we do not want to belong to Cameroun. The effect of this ceding has brought untold pain and sufferings to Efik Eburutu people. With this, the spirit of our ancestors who were, as it were, buried in the now ceded territory are roaming, refusing to be appeased.”
It is not clear if King Amachree XI has taken a position on this latest statement—i.e., whether this latest move is an Efik initiative only or if it has the support of the larger Calabar Kingdom of which, in a sense, it is traditionally a part. But it comes at a time of increasing fragility for Nigerian unity. The Igbo-dominated Biafra separatist movement, which includes Cross River State and other traditional Calabar territories in its claim, has remained active in recent years, the Adamawa monarchy in east-central Nigeria—which also straddles today’s border with Cameroon, but farther north—agitated for separatism earlier this year (as reported at the time in this blog), and the radical Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has been waging a brutal insurgency for years, killing thousands, in Nigeria’s north and has in recent weeks managed to control a large part of Borno State.
[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with my forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. The book, which contains dozens of maps and over 500 flags, is now in the layout phase and should be on shelves, and available on Amazon, by early fall 2014. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news. Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even though you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook.]
Related posts from this blog:
|Efik protesters angry about the Bakassi cession|
|A proposed flag for “Bakassi Free State”|
Related posts from this blog:
- “Nigeria’s Adamawa Kingdom Invokes Sovereignty, Hints at Unification with Kindred in Cameroon” (March 2014)
- “Biafra Bikers Rejoice: Igbo May Not Have Their Own Nation, but They Have License Plates” (Feb. 2014)
- “Nigeria’s Boko Haram Warlord Abubakar Shekau Reported Dead from Gun Battle” (Aug. 2013)
- “Bakassian Border Survey Team Scatters; More Boko Haram Carnage: Nigeria Update” (Nov. 2012)
- “Nigerian Troops Massacre Civilians, Boko Haram Church Suicide Bombing, Kalabari-Bayelsa Border Row, Biafra Abductions: Nigeria Separatism Update” (Nov. 2012)
- “Hundreds Arrested as Biafra Zionists Declare Independence, Former Dictator Nixes Boko Haram Negotiations, More Northern Carnage” (Nov. 2012)
- “Senator Ensnared in Boko Haram Scandal; Open Civil War in Potiskum; More Bakassi Fallout: Nigeria Separatism Update” (Oct. 2012)
- “Jonathan Lets Bakassi Appeal Window Close; Efik King Joins Cause with Ambazonian Separatists” (Oct. 2012)
- “Abuja Rallies, Cameroon Crackdown in Run-Up to Anniversary of Bakassi Cession; Ogoni Trials in Washington, Johannesburg; Achebe on Biafra: Nigeria Separatism Update” (Oct. 2012)
- “Southern Nigeria Splitting Apart Too as the Muslim North Burns” (Aug. 2012)
- “Ambazonian Separatists Focus on Bakassi Peninsula in New Push to Split Cameroon” (Aug. 2012)
- “10 Separatist Movements to Watch in 2012” (Dec. 2011)
- “Remembering Odumegwu Ojukwu: On Biafra and on an African Continent Riven by European Borders” (Nov. 2011)