There was a mixture of excitement and confusion in Nigeria security circles Sunday morning when the controversial Radio Biafra, the mouthpiece of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), again hit the airwaves about 6am-7am.
But instead of the fiery rhetoric with which it was associated with the radio announced the sack of Nnamdi Kanu, as director and leader of IPOB.
Initial response in some quarters was that the move may have been orchestrated by security operatives to further dampen morale of members of the group.
That explanation was, however, dropped when it became obvious that the announcement itself took security operatives by surprise.
Indeed the sack of Kanu, it was learnt, kept the security agencies worried, as it could only suggest a mutation, perhaps to a more dangerous group.
It would be recalled that IPOB was a splinter group from Ralph Uwazuruike’s Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
According to top security sources, the development is a source of concern.
All had been quiet on the IPOB front until on Friday in Anambra when IPOB members despite ban demonstrated and vowed to stop the state’s November 18 gubernatorial election.
The organisation has been receding from the public consciousness as many Igbos began to openly talk against the separation and disunity agenda of IPOB.
The Federal Government has been reaching out to the South East and their state governors have taken a hard stance against IPOB, accusing the organization of pursuing the anti-Igbo interest. Now comes this totally new and unexpected development.
At the height of the IPOB controversy the national unity was greatly challenged when Northern youths issued Igbos resident in the North a quit notice.
The Radio Biafra’s programme started with the lady announcer, who gave her name as Ifeoma Okorafor, stating that the radio was back on air and that IPOB was restructuring.
Then the shocking announcement that “Mazi Nnamdi Nwanekaenyi Kanu, the former Director of Radio Biafra is hereby dismissed and removed as Director of Radio Biafra following extensive and intensive consultations”.
The announcer named one “Mazi Ezenwachukwu Sampson Okwudili as Kanu’s replacement.”
The announcer reeled out reasons why Kanu was removed to include:
“Personalisation of the Biafran struggle and derailing from the core objectives of IPOB as a grassroots movement.
“Kanu’s actions and his decisions to incite members of IPOB towards violence leading to the death of many innocent young people in Onitsha, Aba and Umuahia is totally unacceptable and grossly irresponsible.
“Kanu privately collected £14 million and another $22 million to purchase landed properties abroad in his name and that of his father, Igwe Israel Kanu, in a clear case of ‘monkey dey work baboon dey chop’.
“Kanu turned our collective struggle into a money-making enterprise for himself and his father. Thus the monies contributed by enterprising and hard-working Igbo youths across the world are being collected and converted by one man and his father while pretending to be sacrificing for the cause.
“Upon his release from detention in April 2017, one expected Kanu to drum up support for the release of his colleagues and co-detainees such as Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi. These are our brothers who were arrested at the same time with him and they should not be forgotten. We hereby demand their release. Kanu, since his release, has never spoken about them or appealed for the release of these our freedom fighters. Instead, he has been going about collecting chieftaincy titles and having a messianic swagger that even allowed full-blooded Igbo men to kneel down and kiss his feet.
“Kanu threw away the original meaning of our collective struggle for personal gain and vain glorification. IPOB believes in democracy as a solid base of any modern state, the rule of law, and will always reject violence in all its ramifications.”
The security agencies do not as yet know what to make of this new development in IPOB.
The sack of Kanu is only the latest change in the checkered history of Radio Biafra, which began as the mouthpiece of MASSOB.