The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Sunday gave reasons why its members attacked former deputy senate president, Ike Ekeremadu, in Germany.
The senator was attacked in Nuremberg, Germany where he was attending the New Yam Festival of Igbo community in that country.
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 in any part of the world
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 group also put on notice Ndigbo leaders such as the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, whom it accused of supporting a military operation 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.
During the Operation Python Dance, the army raided Umuahia, Abia State, the hometown of the leader of the secessionist group, Nnamdi Kanu.
Mr Kanu, who was then on bail for his treason trial, escaped from Nigeria during the army operation.
The federal government designated IPOB as a terrorist organisation on September 18, 2017, under the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013.
IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful, in a statement, said the directive to attack Igbo leaders was given by the IPOB leader and the attack on Mr Ekweremadu, in Nuremberg, Germany on Saturday was in obedience to the order.
The statement reads,
“Yesterday, being the 17th day of August 2019 the Nuremberg IPOB family in Germany in keeping with the long-standing directive from our leader to hound all instigators of Operation Python Dance, IPOB 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 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 Nnia Nwodo, 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,” Mr Powerful said.
FG, South-east leaders condemn attack
Meanwhile, the attack on Mr Ekeremadu by IPOB has drawn wide condemnations from major stakeholders.
The federal government described the attack as “an embarrassment to the country.”
“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,” the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said.
In separate reactions on Sunday, the South-East Governors Forum, the Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Southeast zone of the main opposition party, PDP, all condemned the attack on the Enugu senator.
They noted that Mr Ekweremadu has been at the forefront of championing the Igbo cause for emancipation.
The South-East Governors Forum said the IPOB order to attack the governors was an empty threat.
It also argued that attacking the governors would not solve the problem of their agitation for Biafra.
The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, stated this in a reaction through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzo.
“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.
Mr Umahi said that the governors had no problem with the members of the outlawed group to warrant such an order.
According to him, the insecurity in the South-east was a nationwide challenge which could only be tackled by the federal government.
“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 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.”
‘Attack dangerous for Igbo solidarity’-Ohaneze
In its reaction, the Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, condemned the attack on the former deputy senate president.
A statement by the president-general of the organization, John Nwodo, described the attack as divisive and dangerous for Igbo solidarity.
“The assault on Ekweremadu by Igbos in Germany, described as IPOB, is disappointing, grotesque and dangerous for Igbo solidarity.
“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 weaken our case against the infringement of our fundamental human rights,” Mr Nwodo said.
While noting that Mr Ekweremadu negotiated the sureties and securities for Nnamdi Kanu’s release on bail, Mr Nwodo said the senator does not deserve the violence.
“A disgrace to him is a disgrace to Igbo race,” he added.
“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,” he said.
Southeast PDP condenms attack on Ekweremadu
The National Vice Chairman of the PDP in the South-east, Austin Umahi, also condemned the attack.
In a statement from his media office, Mr Umahi frowned at the action of the group against Mr Ekweremadu who he said has been at the forefront of the struggle against the marginalisation of Ndi-Igbo.
Mr Umahi urged Mr Ekweremadu not to be discouraged by the attack but to see it as one of the many sacrifices he has to pay in pursuit for justice and better treatment for Ndi-Igbo within and outside the country.
He also called for the arrest and prosecution of the pepertrators of the attack.
He advised any individual or group that has any genuine reason to agitate, to do so, through the Southeast Governors Forum, the Ohanaeze Ndi-igbo and through other legitimate means within Nigeria; rather than resorting to self help.