The leadership of Nigeria’s National Assembly has reacted to the attack on former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Germany.
In separate statements, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Senate Minority Leade Enyinnaya Abaribe and Toby Okechukwu, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, condemned the attack on the Enugu West Senator.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Ekweremadu was attacked by a mob while he attempted to enter the venue of the event in Nuremberg, Germany.
In the one-minute video, the mob chanted ‘go back’ while trying to deny Mr Ekweremadu entry.
The lawmaker had initially retreated but later turned back towards the entrance of the venue. In reaction, the men furiously dragged Mr Ekweremadu out of the venue, ripping his cloth.
The senator has since identified his attackers to be members of the proscribed IPOB.
Reacting to the attack, IPOB said it has ordered its members in 100 countries across the world to attack Igbo leaders anytime they see them.
Lawan, Omo-Agege condemn attack
In a statement by his media aide, Ola Awoniyi, Senate President Ahmad Lawan described the attack as ‘shameful.’
“It is incredibly absurd for anybody to blame the distinguished Senator for the violent criminal activities in his home base, the purported reason cited by the mob for the bewildering attack.
“Senator Ekweremadu, like all his distinguished colleagues in the Ninth Assembly of the Senate, is concerned about the insecurity and other challenges in that area and other parts of Nigeria. Senator Ekweremadu has also been at the forefront of the patriotic efforts to find lasting solutions to the challenges.
“The barbaric attack on Senator Ekweremadu at a forum to which he was invited to contribute to charting a course for the progress and happiness of Ndigbo debase our values as civilised people. It is most reprehensible and should be condemned by all right-thinking Nigerians,” Mr Lawan was quoted as saying.
He urged the German authorities to identify those involved in the act so that the law can take its course against them.
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, said the attack “is not only dastardly exportation of irrationality but an aggressive international affront against the image of Igbos and Nigeria.”
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga, on Sunday, Mr Omo-Agege expressed shock over the undeserved assault and called on law enforcement agencies in Germany to investigate and bring to book all those involved in the vicious attack.
“What they did is not only a violent assault against the good image of the Igbo race across the world but an aggressive attack against the traditional norms of a people known to be hardworking and respectful of meaningful contributions by leaders such as Senator Ekweremadu.
“Such disappointing physical abuse also grossly disregards Senator Ekweremadu’s democratic antecedents and his long-standing commitment to the cause of his people. But, as he has said out of the usual largeness of his forgiving heart, these people know not what they do.
“Such criminal attack, along with other anti-social attempts to accuse, condemn and lynch anyone remains utterly condemnable and illegal, notwithstanding whether it takes place on Nigerian or foreign soil as it is the easiest invitation to anomie,” Mr Omo-Agege was quoted as saying.
Ekweremadu has done enough for IPOB – Abaribe
Similarly, Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, described as ‘reprehensible and utterly sacrilegious’ the attack on Mr Ekweremadu.
Mr Abaribe said the act smacks of utter ignorance of the prevailing situation at home with regards to what the leaders are doing in the circumstance.
“It is a brazen show of ingratitude to a man who has been at the forefront in the struggle for all that is good for the Igbo race”.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, the Minority Leader said he and the entire minority caucus in the Senate are appalled on the ‘very nauseating attack’ on Mr Ekweremadu.
Mr Ekweremadu, he said, has given his all in standing for the Igbo race, particularly when “we stuck out our neck to arrange and stand for surety for the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Obviously this is not how to repay a man, an outstanding leader of men, an unpretentious Igbo leader who has given his all even going as far as deploying his means to arrange for the bail of Nnamdi Kanu, not minding the repercussions to his illustrious political career.
“It is unfortunate. The perpetrators of the attack should know that as Igbos, we respect elders and reverence our leaders. The unwarranted attack is not the character of the Igbo. This is un-Igbo. It is most worrisome and even inconceivable that the attackers will choose an auspicious occasion where our people are celebrating and showcasing our rich culture to exhibit such unbecoming and condemnable conduct in the name of agitation.
“No, that was not agitation, no right-thinking human will identify with such behaviour. Yes, Nigeria is going through a horrendous phase, which is a fault line that her leaders, particularly we the Igbo leaders are engaging others to find a lasting solution to.
“Resorting to mob mentality and venting the spleen on our leaders rather creates a vacuum that will leave our people helpless and confused in the circumstance”, he said.
Mr Abaribe urged the aggrieved to abide by peaceful rules of engagement to vent their dissatisfaction.
Witness lawmaker condemns attack
The Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Toby Okechukwu, said the attack is a show of shame and ingratitude.
In a statement, which he released from Germany, Mr Okechukwu, who accompanied Mr Ekweremadu to the event, said he was particularly saddened that such magnitude of indiscretion was meted out to “a humble, but rugged fighter, who has practically stock out his neck in defence of Ndigbo and was very instrumental to securing the release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu”.
“The claim by IPOB that they attacked Ekweremadu for instigating Python Dance flies in the face of logic as the Distinguished Senator was one of the vocal voices against military siege to the South East as well as the extrajudicial crackdown on unarmed IPOB protesters. This is a man whose official guest house was raided by security agents in 2017 in purported search for phantom IPOB arms and ammunitions.
“IPOB’s conduct is ingratitude of the highest degree, especially given the roles which even IPOB admitted in a statement of gratitude back then that Ekweremadu played in securing the release of Nnamdi Kanu in”, the lawmaker was quoted as saying.