As if Nigeria did not have enough headaches already, a radio station subscribing to the ill-fated Republic of Biafra has started airing broadcasts, 56 days after the funeral of the secessionist state’s leader, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Listeners across Nigeria have been greeted by fiery broadcasts from the re-launched Radio Biafra, the rebel broadcast station that first hit the airwaves during the 1967-70 civil war that claimed some three million lives.
Emotions ranged from shock to excitement with curious Nigerians fiddling with their transistor radios as word of the broadcasts spread through phone calls and text messages.
Radio Biafra, broadcasting from London, hit the airwaves at 8pm Saturday on 11870 kHz frequency on the shortwave band.
According to the station director, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the station will broadcast twice weekly “for now”.
A statement on the station’s website informs listeners in the Greater London area to tune into 94.3FM at the same Nigerian local time, while anyone outside London and elsewhere may follow the programmes online by visiting www.radiobiafralondon.com.
Mr Kanu said Radio Biafra would give voice to the Igbo community who he described as a marginalised lot in Nigeria.
“The Nigeria-Biafra war ended in 1970, but that is only in theory; in practice, the Nigerian state has continued to wage political and economic war on the Igbo people, many of whom have been forced to flee Nigeria by migrating to other countries,” he argued.
Radio Biafra staged a comeback in 2009 as an independent broadcast outfit. However, it went off air following what the founders described as “financial and logistical hiccups”.
This time round the station says its daily programmes “aim to enlighten and inform Biafrans” as well as [spearhead] “the effort to free Biafra from oppression and subjugation”.
The station further cited what it called “the twin evils of tyrannical rule and sectarian killings directed against Christian southerners living in northern Nigeria by terrorists operating in the name of Islam”.
Mr Ifeanyi Akachi, an Igbo commodity trader in Lagos described Radio Biafra as a tribute to Ojukwu, meant to keep the Igbo dream alive.
“All the injustices that Ojukwu fought for are still much with us in today’s Nigeria,” he said.
“My father was a Biafran soldier and when Ojukwu died, many old men shed tears openly; at Ojukwu’s grave, they vowed that the struggle must not die with Ojukwu.”
A water engineer with the Anambra River Basin Authority, Mr Eugene Iheanachor, said Radio Biafra would comfort millions of marginalised Igbos.
“I am happy because we Igbos are not ready to fight another war; the radio will help us fight our war in a different way,” he said.
He added: “After the war in 1970, the Nigerian Government came up with the famous 3Rs (rehabilitation, reconciliation and reconstruction) but none of these has happened after 42 years. The radio will help heal our wounds by telling the world the truth about Igbos.”
Source: Africa Review