Biafra Pound worth N368 in Nigeria currency, trading currently in West Africa – Currency experts

A Biafra pound is N368 (Naira) trading currently in West Africa–International currency experts New York West Africa–International traders in West Africa, especially French-speaking West Africans said, that Biafran currency is their favourite in trade and commerce. According to a “Togolese employee of the Fan Milk Company, a Nigerian international dairy firm, who could speak some.

Biafra

A Biafra pound is N368 (Naira) trading currently in West Africa–International currency experts

New York[RR]West Africa–International traders in West Africa, especially French-speaking West Africans said, that Biafran currency is their favourite in trade and commerce. According to a “Togolese employee of the Fan Milk Company, a Nigerian international dairy firm, who could speak some pidgin English and good French. He was obviously a well-travelled West African, who had probably worked in Nigeria and lived in Ghana. I needed to find out more about his Biafran Pound.”

“Mon ami”, I politely called him, “avez-vous dit que vous acceptez Livre du Biafra”? (Did you say you accept Biafran currency here? “Oui”, he quipped, adding, “i lest legal ici au Togo et d’autres pays Francophones. Elle est belle et precieuse. Il est notre monnaie preferee” (It is a legal tender here in Togo and some other French-speaking countries in West Africa. It is beautiful. It is our favourite currency).

I probed further: “S’il vous plait, pius je le voir? Quelle est la valeur a Naira? (Please, let me see it. What’s its value compared to Naira?) The response dazed me: “It is currently N368 Naira to a Biafran Pound!!!” This was the most explosive part. N368 Naira to an illegal currency of a non-existent state? Who could be behind this mint and which Central Bank is regulating and standardizing it to the extent of giving it such a global value?

Read full text:

“Produits Fanmilk a vendre…des produits de Fanmilk a vendre. Nous acceptions Naira, Cedi, CFA, Dollars, et meme du Biafra Pound…Fanmilk products e dey for sale…fanmilk products e dey for sale….we dey accept am for Naira, Cedi, CFA, Dollar, and even Biafran Pound”, the dairy products’ vendor shouted to the hearing of everyone, in apparent attempt to get persons to patronize him. This was at Ilacondji, at the very frontiers of Benin-Togo. The vendor, a Togolese employee of the Fan Milk Company, a Nigerian international dairy firm, could speak some pidgin English and good French. He was obviously a well-travelled West African, who had probably worked in Nigeria and lived in Ghana. I needed to find out more about his Biafran Pound.

“Mon ami”, I politely called him, “avez-vous dit que vous acceptez Livre du Biafra”? (Did you say you accept Biafran currency here? “Oui”, he quipped, adding, “i lest legal ici au Togo et d’autres pays Francophones. Elle est belle et precieuse. Il est notre monnaie preferee” (It is a legal tender here in Togo and some other French-speaking countries in West Africa. It is beautiful. It is our favourite currency).

I probed further: “S’il vous plait, pius je le voir? Quelle est la valeur a Naira? (Please, let me see it. What’s its value compared to Naira?) The response dazed me: “It is currently N368 Naira to a Biafran Pound!!!” This was the most explosive part. N368 Naira to an illegal currency of a non-existent state? Who could be behind this mint and which Central Bank is regulating and standardizing it to the extent of giving it such a global value?

I took a snapshot of the money and handed it over to the Fanmilk vendor. I bought two products from him in Naira and looked around me to find out that a startled crowd was looking at me, JJC, who was just finding out for the first time that Biafran Pound was a major means of exchange in the Francophone frontiers in West Africa. The persons crossing the border like me were just wondering what drama I was putting up and soon took their eyes away from my spectacle the moment I bought my Yoghurt and allowed the poor vendor to be.

For me, it was a moment of rare discovery. I was lost in thought, perturbed, worried at the deeper implications of the seemingly interesting finding I just made. Who is behind the Biafran Pound? Which Central Bank is printing and regulating it? Why is it a legal tender outside Nigeria? Why are Francophone countries, our so-called good neighbours and co-members of ECOWAS the ones recognizing and accepting it as a means of transaction? How come it has so much value, even higher than the British Pound and other western currencies? Who and what is Biafra in present-day Nigeria?

The journey to Aflao was characterised by mind puzzles. Could France, Nigeria’s biggest threat in West Africa be behind this pantomime? Could the Togolese government and its counterparts in Ivory Coast and other Francophone countries be boldly supporting the re-emergence of Biafra in order to break Nigeria?

My discovery at Aflao was more worrisome. Ghana also recognizes and accepts the use of the Biafran Pound as a means of exchange! However, most Ghanaians and Nigerians of Igbo origin, I learnt, use the currency discretely. They are not as brazen about it as the Togolese, Beninoise and Ivorians. But the Biafran Pound is the most popular currency in Ghana. My take on the Ghana episode is that the “friendly” government of that country cannot say it does not have any security report about a Biafran Pound-business that is said to be as old in Ghana (Aflao in particular) as immediately after the Civil War.

On return to Nigeria, I approached some senior Igbo colleagues in academia, narrating my encounters and expressed my worries. Concerned but not new to them, they explained that it had been an old development, which has however gained momentum in more recent times. I was made to realize that the Igbos have not yet given up on “Biafra” and that there are grand plans to “regain” their independence. I gathered that the Pound had been a collectors’ item, which, ipso facto, would give it a lot of value, but explained that the tenability of the currency along the West African coastline is the machination of some powerful and unrepentant “Biafran leaders”, whose international goodwill and connections have pervaded West Africa and beyond.

%d bloggers like this: