The attack on Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu in Germany on Saturday by people suspected to be members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), has been condemned as unacceptable by President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Nnia Nwodo; President of Igbo think tank group, Aka Ikenga, Bar Oscar Onwudiwe; leader, South East All Progressive Congress (APC) Forum, Lagos, Chief Anselm Njoku, as well as the Federal Government among others.
Ekweremadu who was in Nuremberg, Germany to attend an Annual Cultural Convention organised by the Igbo community to mark this year’s New Yam Festival, was attacked by men suspected to be members of the IPOB as captured in a video that has since gone viral.
But the leaders who expressed their displeasure over the incident in interactions with Business Hallmark, said it would be unfortunate if the pro Biafra group, which was in 2017, proscribed by the President Muhammadu Buhari government under circumstances that many consider unjustifiable, begins to justify such proscription by becoming violent.
“The attack is wrong. We cannot condone such act. It means that they are now trying to justify their proscription as a terrorist organisation, which is not good,” Chief Njoku said.
“They (IPOB) have people’s sympathy because they have not been violent. They should not go by violence at all. It will be very wrong on their part.”
Njoku advised members of the group to shun violence and proceed with peaceful approach as according to him, it was the best way to go.
“They should keep making their demands peacefully, and I believe that one day, the government will listen to them and meet some of their demands. But if they bring violence, especially by attacking somebody like Ike Ekweremadu, it will be very unfortunate. They will be justifying what people who never liked their activities are saying about them.”
On his part, Onwudiwe, a Legal Attorney pointed out that the reported attack on the senator was poor judgment on the part of IPOB.
Onwudiwe regretted that the group appear more sentimental than logical in their quest and wondered why it should be a problem for people to disagree with their methods.
“It was poor judgement on their part. Part of it is that IPOB seems to be a bit more sentimental than logical. What they are struggling for is not bad. But it is not what you do but how you do it; it is not what you say but how you say it,” he said.
“As far as I am concerned, the attack doesn’t make sense. First of all, if we are all thinking about going to belong to one country according to the IPOB, should we get there by being extremely divided? Should we get there by some people say it’s either our method or you are a saboteur? Should we go there by being extremely judgemental? Is there any family where everybody behaves the same way?” he wondered.
“I understand their sentiments but I don’t understand their logic, and I don’t understand their method.”
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Nnia Nwodo in his own reaction, described the attack as “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.”
The Ohanaeze leader who was scheduled to attend the event alongside Ekweremadu, but could not make and was said to be the main target of the attackers, reminded the IPOB that “without Senator Ekweremadu, Nnamdi Kanu would not have got bail.”
He pointed out that that it was Ekweremadu “who networked with senators who went ahead to sign on his (Kanu) behalf,”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has also condemned the incident, describing it as an embarrassment to the country.
Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who said this in a statement on Saturday, disclosed that 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.
“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.
Similarly, former Kaduna Central senator, Shehu Sani condemned the attack, noting that violence cannot lead his attackers to success in whatever quest they are pursuing.
“The attack on Senator Ike Ekweremadu in Germany stands unreservedly condemned,” Sani wrote via his twitter handle, @ShehuSani.
“Whatever is the political or philosophical agenda of the people that attacked him,the strategy of physical assault or violence cannot lead them to success.”
In the meantime, Ekweremadu has reacted to the incident in a statement on Saturday, saying that although the attack came to him as a surprise, given that he has continued to fight for the interest of the Igbo, including speaking out against Operation Python Dance and killing in Igbo land, he does not hold any grudge against the attackers.
He said the event, which he was invited to speak on, alongside the president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Nnia Nwodo, was going smoothly until a group identified as IPOB disrupted it to protest about killings in the South East.