By Olisemeka Obeche &UzohUgwueze
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday gave reasons for its members’ attack on Senator Ike Ekeremadu while he was attending a New Yam festival in Nuremberg, Germany last Saturday, vowing to picket other prominent Igbo political leaders found anywhere outside Nigeria.
IPOB, in a statement issued through its national publicity secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, disclosed that its leadership had ordered its members in 100 countries across the world to attack selected Igbo leaders any time they were sighted in any part of the world, according to IPOB, for supporting the controversial ‘Operation Python Dance’ launched by the Nigerian Army in the South East in the wake of protests by IPOB members in 2016.
It listed other leaders marked for such attacks to include Governors David Umahi of Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Willie Obiano of Anambra state. The president general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, NniaNwodo, was also included in the ‘attack-list’.
The statement read in parts: “Despite repeated warnings to the organisers of these jamborees that Enugu, Ebonyi and other parts of Biafraland is under siege by Fulani caliphate and their collaborators within, they went ahead to invite a known traitor, co-conspirator and one of those that worked with Igbo governors to proscribe and tag IPOB a terror organisation while they never raised any voice against murderous Fulani herdsmen.
“This should serve as a warning to NniaNwodo, Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Willie Obiano and Co that any day we find them in a public event abroad, they will be humiliated. IPOB is strategically located in over 100 countries around the world. Anywhere we find them, they will be dealt with,” Powerful said.
IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, also on Sunday described the attack on Ekweremadu as a ‘courageous act’ and a polite warning. “The courageous act by IPOB at Nürnberg Germany is a polite warning to those engaged in selling our collective interest to Fulani caliphate. Nwodo, Igbo governors are warned,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, angry reactions and outrage have greeted the attack on Ekweremadu by IPOB members.
The senator representing Enugu West senatorial zone under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was a guest speaker at the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by Igbo resident in Germany. There, he was confronted by some Biafra agitators.
A video clip of the incident, now viral on the social media, hasEkweremadu being pelted by IPOB members. He was later whisked away in a car.
According to a statement issued by Mr, Uche Anichukwu, media aide to Ekweremadu via his social media handle, @iamekweremdu, things took a dramatic twist when IPOB members stormed the venue and began to complain about the killings in the South East and vowing to disrupt the event. “I tried to engage them, but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue. The organisers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.
Ekweremadu, was quick to express his disappointment with the treatment by the Biafra agitators but insists he held no grudges. Hear him: “Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency as well as rallied the South East Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator EnyinnayaAbaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East, I nevertheless do not hold this to heart against them, for they know not what they do.
FG, South-east Govs condemn attack
Expectedly, Senator Ekeremadu’s assault has drawn wide condemnations from major political leaders and stakeholders across the south east and Nigeria.
Leading the condemnation was the federal government which described the assault on the lawmaker as “an embarrassment to the country.”
According to a statement by the chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. AbikeDabiri-Erewa, federal government was exploring options to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice. “According to reliable sources, some of the culprits who perpetrated the act have been apprehended and we call on the German government and law enforcement agencies to ensure that there are consequences for their actions,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
The South-East Governors Forum not only condemned the assault on Ekweremadu but also described IPOB’s order to attack the governors as an empty threat.
The chairman of the forum and governor of Ebonyi state, David Umahi, in a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Emmanuel Uzo, said that attacking the governors would not solve the problem of Biafra agitation being championed by IPOB.
“They have no such spread and powers to track down South-East governors for attack anywhere in the world. They are too small. I don’t want to say they sound so cowardly, but they can’t see the governors to attack,” he said.
The governors warned the members of the proscribed body not to allow political opportunists to use them to destroy the South-east, imploring them to“work with the governors and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to achieve the Igbo Presidency come 2023.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, also described the attack on Ekweremadu as disappointing and shameful. The president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief JohnNniaNwodo, said in a statement that the development was “grotesque and dangerous for Igbo solidarity.”
Nwodo said “This violent, rude, impertinent, divisive and discourteous style of IPOB or IPOB instigated miscreants is damaging to our cause. It strengthens the case of those who describe them as terrorists and weakens our case against the infringement of our fundamental human rights.
“Ekweremadu negotiated the sureties and securities for Nnamdi Kanu‘s release on bail. He does not deserve this picketing and disgrace. A disgrace to him is a disgrace to Igbo race.
“Whilst I condemn the attack on our revered son and leader, I call on the law enforcement agencies in Germany to bring to book the perpetrators of this despicable act. It is un-Igbo. It is disgraceful.”
Similarly, the director of information of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Comrade Edeson Samuel, also condemned the attack “in its totality,” saying it was “disheartening that some groups have turned the non-violence struggle for the actualisation of Biafra state into an abusive and systematic gestapo against the supposed citizens of Biafra.”
“If Ike Ekweremadu is sabotaging or has sabotaged Biafra struggle as alleged by IPOB, what meaningful and acceptable steps has IPOB taken to draw the attention of Ike Ekweremadu to the alleged degradation?
He said that non-cohesion among the agitating groups was the hindrance. “The tendency of superiority complex on ideology and the spirit of lordship over others are the detrimental tendencies grossly affecting the freedom of Biafrans.
“MASSOB also apologises to Chief Ike Ekweremadu for the physical assault on his person. We admonish Senator Ike Ekweremadu to absolve the assault as a family affair between a father and his children.
“MASSOB calls and extends a hand of fellowship to IPOB led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, BIM led by Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, BNC led Alhaji DokuboAsari and other pro Biafra groups to rally together in the true spirit of Biafra and defend Biafra land from the Fulani invaders and marauders.
“Let’s unite and confront our common enemy. Though our governors and other leaders are not assisting the Biafra struggle, we can engage them traditionally, not insulting them,” Edeson further stated.