Ralph Uwazuruike, leader of Biafra Independent Movement, (BIM) – a faction of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) – says he handed over Radio Biafra to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but Kanu disappointed him.
Uwazuruike said this on Monday in Kaduna during a meeting with Hamza Al-Mustapha, former chief security officer to the late Sani Abacha, former head of state.
The meeting was aimed at brokering peace over the quit notice issued to the Igbo in the north by a coalition of northern youth groups.
Uwazuruike said he founded MASSOB in 1999 as a peaceful platform through which “issues of perceived marginalisation of the Igbo in Nigeria could be discussed and tackled”.
He said he was disappointed that the radio station “has become something else” other than what it was created for.
“I handed over Radio Biafra which I created to Nnamdi Kanu in London as the managing director and was hoping it would serve the purpose for which it was created, but I was disappointed that politicians hijacked it and it became something else,” he said.
He further said that the ethnic crisis currently faced in the country was being “manipulated and caused by politicians.”
He said the country “must” continue to exist as one nation although “issues of marginalisation can be disscussed”.
He said though it is right for any part of the country to seek for self-determination it is however wrong to pursue same through violent means.
“I want to assure northerners that your people in the south-east are safe and nobody will harass them and I’m happy that my friend Al-Mustapha has also given same assurance of the safety of our people in the north.”
Al-Mustapha urged the Igbo to wear their thinking caps and shun acts that are detrimental to the unity of the country.
He said it would not be surprising if some countries that were envious of Nigeria’s progress may be the sponsors of the tension in the country.
He condemned the quit notice issued to the Igbos, but said, the action of the aggrieved youth “may be borne out of frustration as a result of the upleasant comments coming from Kanu”.
“We are appealing that our younger ones who have been declared wanted should be set free, and the order of arrest should be rescinded because it is not the solution,” he added.
This is not the first time that Uwazuruike would attack Kanu openly.
In January, he described the IPOB leader as a “fraudster” who has no genuine interest in the Biafran struggle.
He said this in Owerri, Imo state capital, while responding to the allegation that the federal government had contracted him to testify against Kanu in secret.
“When I started nobody gave me a chance, I went through the hurdles alone. So Nnamdi Kanu is not the first Igbo to be tried for treason, I also stood before the same judge handling his case for the same charge of treason. He should face his trial like a freedom fighter and if need be die for the cause,” he said.
“Kanu was a nobody whom I picked up in London while he was practising internet fraud as his only means of livelihood.
“I made Kanu the director of Radio Biafra London, but Kanu later claimed that he established the station.
“Kanu was homeless when I met him in London. I gave him the first money to rent an apartment after he was thrown out by the Ghanaian woman he was living with.
“When I met him (Kanu) in London he had no job and no certificate; he was into internet crime. So who is Nnamdi Kanu? It is you the journalists that are flaming him up as somebody; if not, he is a nobody.
“The struggle continues to be alive as long as I agree. Even if Nnamdi Kanu dies today, the struggle continues. I cannot travel to Abuja to give evidence against Kanu masked. If I want to do that, I will testify against him in an open court but I can’t do that, what do I stand to gain?”