The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday, denied alleged involvement in the seizing and threat to blow up a merchant ship carrying foreigners.
IPOB Media and Publicity Officer, Mr. Emma Powerful said IPOB is a non violent group with responsible men in the society in Nigeria and in diaspora as members and therefore, cannot involve in any violent activity that may possibly harm or take the life of anybody from within and outside Nigeria.
He said: “Many people are sympathetic to the Biafran actualization cause because of the treatment meted to the entire Biafran land comprising the former Eastern Region. Many groups are also rising up to speak against the treatment meted to the IPOB leader and Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu who at present is being incarcerated in Kuje prison, and they can use any style to make their demand felt by the Federal Government but no IPOB member has a hand in it.”
An online medium had yesterday, reported that Biafra agitators have allegedly hijacked a merchant ship and threatened to blow it up with its foreign crew if government authorities do not release its detained leader agitating for a breakaway state of Biafra.
The medium claimed that a Defence Ministry source has allegedly confirmed that the hijacking occurred on Friday and called it “an act of sabotage.” The publication did not mention the name of the ship or where it happened.
The publication also alleged that the Defence Ministry source spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue is sensitive, saying the hijackers have given the government 31 days to free Kanu or they will blow up the ship along with its crew.
But the leader of MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu, said that the group has no hand in the alleged hijacking of any merchant ship or any threat to blow up the alleged ship, because they are non violent and have no weapon to hold any ship hostage, let alone seizing and threatening to blow it with its passengers.
He said: “I am aware that a militant group sometime gave the Federal Government twenty one-day ultimatum to release Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, failing which they threatened that they will do what will surprise the Nigerian government. May be it is the group, I do not even remember their name but I heard or read about that threat.
“You know that a lot of groups are springing up from the old Eastern Region to agitate for the actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra and as far as they are fighting for Biafra, we cannot disown them, but they have their own style which I think the Federal Government of Nigeria understands easily. If you are not violent, they will not understand and they will ignore you. So, we support the group if that is what they have actually done.
“We in MASSOB are not involved in violence, that is why they do not take us serious. They believe we are illiterate job seekers that are frustrated in life and decided to demand for Biafra. They think that our own is to demonstrate peacefully and they will shoot and kill us and go into jubilation that they have dealt with us, but now, they have seen their match. We support the people if they have actually done that."
He further stated that “any method applied by any Biafra agitating group to ensure that the Federal Government of Nigeria respects its law and court orders is approved by MASSOB, but we in MASSOB have chosen the path of non-violence and we will maintain it until Biafra is achieved.
Meantime, military authorities in Nigeria have debunked reports in foreign media that Nigerian militant group with sympathy to Biafra and IPOB hijacked a ship and are demanding the release of Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government before the ship will be released.
Speaking with Vanguard on the development, Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig-General Rabe Abubakar said: “It is not true. The story about the hijack has happened but not within our waters and it is not under any particular group.