A source close to Ralph Uwazuruike has revealed to Naijiant how the founder of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), a group advocating for the secession from Nigeria and sovereignty of southeastern Nigeria, pocketed funds raised by the group from members.
The source alleged that Uwazuruike recruited many traders from the southeast, especially Onitsha, and charged them membership fees. The MASSOB leader claimed that registration meant that they were full “citizens” of Biafra and entitled to benefits such as jobs, once the new state came into being.
He allegedly deceived prospective members by claiming that Biafran independence was imminent and that countries like Gabon and Ivory Coat had recognised the new state, and will be providing funds for those that had paid the registration fees.
Much of the money raised, according to the source, was diverted for Uwazuruike’s personal use.
Uwazuruike has been struggling to remain at the forefront of Biafran agitation as his group has in recent times been relegated to the background by Nnamdi Kanu, a former member of MASSOB and his Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group.
Earlier this month, Uwazuruike announced that MASSOB would now be known as Biafra Independence Movement (BIM). He explained the rationale for the change: “The change in name became absolutely necessary because of the sad introduction of violence by the disgruntled dissidents and this is at variance with the non-violence stance of MASSOB over the years. I recruited Nnamdi Kanu in 1989, when I established Radio Biafra and appointed him the director of the establishment. He started preaching hatred and brainwashing the youths. MASSOB sacked him.”
There are also allegations from Kanu’s Radio Biafra and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that Uwazuruike received a lot of money to support the reelection of former president Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).