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The short-lived Republic of Benin
, in Nigeria's coastal Bight of Benin
The Bight of Benin is a bight on the western African coast that extends eastward for about 400 miles from Cape St. Paul to the Nun outlet of the Niger River. To the east it is continued by the Bight of Bonny . The bight is part of the Gulf of Guinea...
, was named after its capital Benin City
Benin City, is a city and the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria. It is a city approximately twenty-five miles north of the Benin River. It is situated 200 miles by road east of Lagos...
. It was known as Mid-Western state in Nigeria until August 1967 when it was occupied by Biafra
Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, was a secessionist state in south-eastern Nigeria that existed from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, taking its name from the Bight of Biafra . The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious...
as its forces advanced towards Lagos. Albert Nwazu Okonkwo, a Mid-Western Igbo
Igbo people, also referred to as the Ibo, Ebo, Eboans or Heebo are an ethnic group living chiefly in southeastern Nigeria. They speak Igbo, which includes various Igboid languages and dialects; today, a majority of them speak English alongside Igbo as a result of British colonialism...
medical officer, was installed by Ojukwu as Biafran Military Administrator of the territory (17 August 1967 - 19 September 1967). As Nigerian forces were to retake the Mid-West, the Republic of Benin was unilaterally declared at 07:00 on 19 September 1967. Okonkwo also ruled it as "Governor".
The republic lasted a little more than a day. On 20 September 1967, it was terminated as Nigerian forces recaptured the province. It was not recognised, not even by its "parent" country, Biafra, mainly because of the brevity of its existence. Most of the government officials, as well some Igbo civilians, followed Biafran troops across the Niger River
The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea...