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UK, France indicts Nigeria over Radio Biafra, separatist funding

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The United Kingdom has blamed Nigeria for the continued operation of pirate Radio Biafra which the Indigenous People of Biafra (POB)uses to preach hate against the country.

The radio station domiciled in the UK was established by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Soverign State of Biafra (MASSOB) with Mr. Nnamdi Kanu as Director.

Kanu, also a British citizen, operated the radio on behalf of MASSOB and later took over the radio as a megaphone of IPOB.

France and the United Kingdom have been accused of having links with IPOB, according to news reports.

Various media quote the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as stating that “the financial headquarters” of the separatist group “is in France”.

The Minister says this is a “fact”, while faulting the UK for not doing something to stop Biafra radio from airing over there.

The radio station had been Nnamdi Kanu’s medium of communicating his ideas from London, on the push for Biafra, before he came back to Nigeria in 2015.

The Biafra radio programmes were aired in Nigeria also, and was found engaging by some audience who have now taken up Kanu’s cause with IPOB.

But the British government seems not happy with reports credited to Nigerian information and culture minister Lai Mohammed, who insinuated that the UK had not shut the radio station.

A terse statement released on Thursday by Mr. Joe Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission in Nigeria, said the “The UK is not aware of any representation from Nigerian government about Radio Biafra.’’

“Were we to receive any such request, we would, of course, consider it carefully on the basis of the available evidence, recognising that freedom of speech and expression carries responsibilities.’’

The Embassy of France also said it was surprised by the statement made yesterday by the Minister of Information and Culture indicating that the “financial headquarters” of IPOB were in France”.

“We don’t have any knowledge of a particular presence of IPOB in France and the Nigerian authorities never got in touch with the Embassy on this point.

“We stand ready to examine any information which could support this statement.

“Furthermore, we would like to reiterate that France actively cooperates with Nigeria in the field of security and that we strongly support the unity of the country”, the statement said.      

The minister recently accused some people in France and United Kingdom of having links with the proscribed IPOB.

According to reports, Mohammed was quoted that that “the financial headquarters” of the separatist group “is in France”.

He said this is a “fact”, while faulting the UK for not doing something to stop Biafra radio from airing over there.

As the Minister pointed out, the Biafra Radio was probably not taken down by the UK authorities being that the radio is a free channel of communication available to any law-abiding person.

Very much like the internet and social media, anyone who has the license to operate a radio can always air whatever they want to.

The Nigerian Government has made moves to project the view that IPOB is a terrorist organisation trading in hate speech.

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