Are Claims That the Nigerian Government Assassinated Wilfred Machage Legitimate?

By Thomas Mukhwana

This tweet shared by IPOB Akwaibom State on the 20th of February 2022 claims that the late Ambassador Wilfred Machage was assassinated by the Nigerian Government after testifying in a case against a prominent Nigerian political activist.

Background 

Ambassador Machage’s death was announced on February 19, 2022.

Wilfred Machage was appointed Kenya’s High Commissioner to Nigeria after a successful political career spanning decades where he served in many capacities, most notably as Kuria Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2013 before clinching the Migori Senatorial seat in 2013.

He was appointed Kenya’s envoy to the larger Central and Western Africa by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January 2018. That included Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Togo, Niger, Ghana, Benin, Equatorial Guinea and six other countries.  

In late June 2021, the Kenyan Government was accused of arresting Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in Kenya and handing him over to Nigerian authorities. The accusations fielded by Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyers and family were vehemently denied by the Kenyan Government which denied any involvement in the arrest.

On July 2, 2021 Mr Machage issued an official Press Statement denying Kenya’s involvement in the alleged arrest and extradition of the IPOB leader, terming the allegations “ridiculous” and ones with the intention to antagonize relations between Kenya and Nigeria.

IPOB  is a movement that was formed by Nnamdi Kanu in 2014 in favor of the restoration of the Biafran State as independent from Nigeria. The origin of this movement dates back to 1967 when Igbo states in the South East of Nigeria declared independence, plunging Nigeria into a brutal civil war that ended in 1970 when Biafra agreed to a ceasefire. 

Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in 2015 on terrorism and treason charges alongside charges of running an illegal company and publishing defamatory material.

He skipped bail in 2017 and fled Nigeria after the army reportedly raided his home in Abia State, South Eastern Nigeria. Kanu resurfaced in Israel in late 2018 and is quoted to have said, “I will be back soon in the land of Biafra and will bring hell with me.” Following his arrest in June last year, he is presently facing the aforementioned charges in Nigeria and his case is ongoing. 

Verification

Wilfred Machage is reported to have died in the presence of his family in his Abuja residence. According to the Late Machage’s family, he succumbed to illness shortly after collapsing.

The Foreign Ministry of Kenya confirmed that the Late Wilfred Machage had collapsed and passed on in the presence of his wife after a short illness.

The account that shared this post; ‘IPOB AKWAIBOM STATE’ is politically motivated and has continued to share more unverified radical news with the aim of spreading misinformation against the Nigerian Government hence fuelling ethnic tension. 

More recently, here’s a post on the same account alleging that Fulani herdsmen were selling ‘sexually defiled cows’ in ‘Biafraland’ and that the Biafran land will be ‘purified’ starting April 27, 2022. These accusations are completely unsubstantiated and false with the aim of fuelling tension between the Fulani and Biafran communities, who have a bloody history of violence against each other. 

Verdict

Claims that the Nigerian government assassinated Kenya’s High Commissioner to Nigeria Amb. Wilfred Machage, is FALSE.

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