Members of IPOB attack Ike Ekweremadu in Germany. Image via Youtube
… puts Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Anambra govs on notice
… attacks Ekweremadu in Germany with stones, yams
My ordeal in the hands of Biafra activists –Ex-DSP
We’re not moved by empty threats, says Umahi
BY SUNDAY ABORISADE, ADELANI ADEPEGBA, MUDIAGA AFFE, JESUSEGUN ALAGBE, IHUOMA CHIEDOZIE, ALEXANDER OKERE, RAPHAEL EDE AND EDWARD NNACHI
PUNCH, SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 2019
The Indigenous People of Biafra has ordered its members in 100 countries across the world to attack the governors of Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia and Anambra states if they are seen in any of the countries.
The group also put on notice Ndigbo leaders such as the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who it accused of supporting the Operation Python Dance in the South-East.
Operation Python Dance was launched by the Nigerian Army in the South-East in 2016 in the wake of protests by IPOB members who were demanding secession from the country.
The group had cited historical events such as the victory of President Donald Trump in the 2016 United States elections and Brexit as proof of international support for self-determination.
During the Operation Python Dance, the army raided Umuahia, Abia State, the home town of the leader of the secessionist group, Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts have been unknown since then.
Ultimately, the Federal Government designated IPOB as a terrorist organisation on September 18, 2017, under the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013.
Speaking to one of our correspondents on Saturday, IPOB spokesperson, Mr Emma Powerful, noted that South-East governors and some Ndigbo leaders had been marked as enemies to be attacked if they were seen in any of the 100 countries their members were residing.
He said the directive was given by Kanu and that in obedience to the IPOB leader’s order, its members were the ones who attacked a former Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu, in Nuremberg, Germany on Saturday.
Powerful said the lawmaker was “disgraced by the IPOB Nuremberg Family as an Operation Python Dance instigator.”
The IPOB spokesman described Ekweremadu as a “traitor,” accusing him of being among those that got the pro-Biafra group proscribed, alongside the South-East governors.
Powerful vowed that IPOB would take similar action against the South-East governors and Ndigbo leaders, if they dared to attend any public event abroad.
He said, “Today (Saturday), the Nuremberg IPOB family in Germany, in keeping with the long-standing directive from our leader to hound all instigators of the Operation Python Dance, is glad to report that Ike Ekweremadu was confronted and duly hounded out of a so-called New Yam Festival event in Germany.
“Despite repeated warnings to the organisers of this jamboree that Enugu, Ebonyi and other parts of ‘Biafraland’ is under siege by the Fulani caliphate and their collaborators within, they went ahead to invite a known traitor, co-conspirator and one of those who worked with Igbo governors to proscribe and tag IPOB a terror organisation while they never raised any voice against the murderous Fulani herdsmen.
“This should serve as a warning to Nnia Nwodo, Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Willie Obiano and others 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.”
How Ekweremadu was attacked with stones, yam
In apparent obedience to the IPOB’s directive to its members, there was commotion on Saturday when Ekweremadu was attacked in Nuremberg, Germany.
The lawmaker, who has served in the Senate since 2003, was seen being pelted with stones, yam, sticks and water packs in short video clips which had gone viral on the social media.
Decked in isiagu, a pullover shirt worn by the Igbo people on special occasions, Ekweremadu was said to have been attacked at Löwensaal am Tier Garten, Nuremberg, venue for the annual New Yam Festival of the Igbo.
The New Yam Festival holds at the end of the rainy season in August and symbolises the conclusion of the harvest and the beginning of a new planting season.
The age-long festival is celebrated across Nigeria and the world wherever the Igbo people live.
While attending the event at Nuremberg, Ekweremadu was seen being attacked by a mob who tore his cloth and dragged him out of the event.
In the video clips, the angry mob was seen preventing the lawmaker from escaping, but he was later whisked away in a Mercedes-Benz car, even as the mob continued to beat him.
As the scene played out, some onlookers, dressed in traditional Igbo attire, were heard condemning the assault meted to the former deputy senate president.
One of the onlookers was heard saying, “This is wicked; why now? It’s not good.”
Despite the commotion, the event went on as planned, according to the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar.
In a tweet via his handle @YusufTuggar on Saturday, the diplomat who was at the event wrote, “The Nuremberg yam festival organised by the Ndigbo Germany still took place and I was in attendance. There is no stopping Nigeria. It opened with the Nigerian and German anthems and I addressed the crowd.”
My ordeal in the hands of Biafra activists –Ex-DSP
Confirming the incident on Saturday, Ekweremadu, in a statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, described it as unfortunate. He, however, said he was safe.
He said he was invited to the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by the Ndigbo Germany in Nuremberg and billed to give a keynote address alongside the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however, could not make it.
The lawmaker said he was welcomed by the Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members, stormed the venue.
He said, “They began to complain about the killings in the South-East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue.
“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.
“I am disappointed with their (IPOB members’) conduct, especially as I am one of the persons who have spoken up on justice for the Ndigbo and against the judicial killings in Igboland and elsewhere.”
Ekweremadu said he had defended IPOB on the floor of the Senate, with the Presidency and the media.
He said, “I had as well rallied the South-East Senate Caucus to secure Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, taking him on bail to douse tension in the South-East.
“I nevertheless do not hold this to the heart against them, for they know not what they did.
“I have received thousands of solidarity calls and messages from well-meaning Ndigbo. I want to assure them that I am hale and hearty.”
In the meantime, investigations by one of our correspondents showed that Kanu visited Nuremberg recently to protest against holding the New Yam Festival because of the killings in Igboland.
It was also gathered that the IPOB members who attacked Ekweremadu on Saturday actually targeted Nwodo.
They reportedly descended on Ekweremadu when it was obvious that their main ‘target’ was conspicuously absent.
FG, CACOL, Ohanaeze, Ndume condemn attack on lawmaker
Following the attack on Ekweremadu, the Federal Government has condemned the IPOB members’ action.
The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement on Saturday described the incident as an embarrassment to the country.
She stated that some of the culprits who perpetrated the act had been apprehended and called on the German government and law enforcement agencies to ensure they faced the consequences of their actions.
She said, “It is also shamefully pathetic that an event which was nobly put together by the Ndigbo community in Germany, whose members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, to amongst other things, provide a forum for the Diaspora and various stakeholders to network and facilitate a better cooperation between German and Nigerian businesses, ended up in such a disgraceful manner.”
Dabiri-Erewa appealed to Nigerians to be of good behaviour wherever they found themselves “because such incidents tarnish the image of the country.”
Also condemning the attack, the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, condemned IPOB’s action, saying it was an act of brigandage.
He said, “These people ought not to have gone to such place to display brigandage because IPOB has been banned in Nigeria.
“However, our leaders should take heed because that is an example of what will happen, granted that it was a different ball game. They might have reacted that way because they possibly perceived that Ekweremadu had not been with them in terms of support.
“Be that as it may, the action of the IPOB members was highly condemnable in faraway Germany where the image of the country should have been jealously guided.”
Also describing the attack as barbaric, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo accused Kanu of sponsoring “miscreants” to trample on Ekweremadu’s fundamental human rights.
Nwodo told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that Kanu’s action reflected his disregard for the former deputy senate president, who was instrumental in securing the release of the IPOB leader.
Nwodo said, “In every 12, there is a Judas. Senator Ekweremadu and I were supposed to be in Germany but because my visa was not out, Senator Ekweremadu went on our behalf.
“The attack on him was unruly, uncivilised, a vitiation of his fundamental human rights and a sad story of where we are. I’m shocked that any true Igbo man could do this to Senator Ekweremadu.
“Without Senator Ekweremadu, Nnamdi Kanu would not have got bail. He (Ekweremadu) was the one who networked with senators who went ahead to sign on his (Kanu) behalf.”
Nwodo called on the German government to take appropriate actions against the perpetrators.
“I condemn it in its entirety. I think it is disrespectful, discourteous; I think it is a fundamental dent on our solidarity. I think that those who did it are not worthy to be called Igbo,” he said.
A former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, also condemned the attack on Ekweremadu.
Speaking to one of our correspondents on Saturday, he said the IPOB members attacked one of the “greatest heroes” in Nigeria.
“Ekweremadu is not the person they ought to attack and indeed they have to stop such attack on anybody for that matter,” Ndume said.
Assaulting us abroad not solution to agitation –S’East govs
Meanwhile, the South-East Governors Forum on Saturday said the IPOB order directing its members to attack them anywhere abroad would not solve the problem of their agitation for Biafra.
The chairman of the forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Emma Uzo, said that the governors had no problem with the members of the outlawed group to warrant such an order, adding that the insecurity in the South-East was a nationwide challenge which was squarely under the Federal Government’s command and control.
Condemning the attack on Ekweremadu, Umahi said, “If there is any issue IPOB holds against the governors, they should come home to settle it in Igboland instead of a foreign land.
“What happened was a security issue which was within the purview of the Federal Government. Attacking governors in a foreign land is a wild goose chase. We love them because they are our children.
“IPOB cannot achieve Biafra alone, except with the collaboration of all stakeholders including the governors. They don’t need to attack the governors to achieve Biafra.”
The governors’ forum warned the members of the proscribed body not to allow political opportunists to use them to destroy the South-East.
“They should come together and work with the governors and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to achieve the Igbo Presidency come 2023 instead of fighting the governors. We want them to be close to us instead of taking the struggle to the international arena,” it said.
Furthermore, Umahi’s aide described the IPOB’s threats as empty, saying the group lacked the powers to track down any South-East governor anywhere in the world.
“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 added.
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