The unfortunate attack on Senator Ekweremadu has clearly demonstrated once again that Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora are angry with the state of affairs in the country. It behooves on the government to take measures urgently to address the challenges facing the people before they turn into some form of misplaced aggression against it.
By Goddy Ikeh
RECENTLY, Nigerians are monthly if not weekly presented with a comic relief to sooth their anger over the unimaginable misrule in a country that is richly blessed with abundant natural resources and intellectuals. There is hardly a month that Nigerians are not engaged in reacting to one policy or actions taken by the government and its agencies.
While the debate on the N30, 000 minimum wage was about to be taken off the “Issues Chart”, the protest against rape by a pastor was thrown up. This was quickly followed by the Cattle Colony or RUGA saga that has remained on the chart even after the federal government said that it had been suspended. Then the Revolution protest campaign came up and was swiftly crushed and the convener detained. And while the issue of the caliber of persons nominated as ministers and their shoddy screening was about hitting the chart, the Ekweremadu assault in Germany came up. This attack on Ekweremadu denied the return of El Zakzaky and his wife their rightful position on the chart.
As usual in our country, reactions started pouring in from all quarters to condemn the attack and demand that the persons involved in the attacks should be tried by the German Government in accordance with their laws.
When the news first broke, some Nigerians were quick to dismiss it as one of those fake news until Ekweremadu confirmed the physical assault on him
by some members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra in Nuremberg, Germany.
Ekweremadu, who confirmed the attack in a statement released by his Media Assistant, Uche Anichukwu, after the 64-second video about the attack had earlier gone viral on the social media, assured that he was safe and that he had reported the attack to the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar.
The Senator explained that he attended the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nuremberg where he was billed to give a keynote address along with the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, who could not make the trip eventually.
“I was given a resounding welcome by Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members, stormed the venue and 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,” he said.
According to his attackers, Ekweremadu’s crime was his actions or inactions in the proscription of the IPOB in the South East and the killing of several of its followers.
But unfortunately, Ekweremadu was made the sacrificial lamb in this misplaced aggression. Ekweremadu said in his account of what transpired that “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 and the media as well as rallied the South East Senate Caucus to secure Mazi 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 heart against them, for they know not what they do.”
After the attack, the Nigerian government as well as several groups and individuals reacted to the attack.
The Germany-based Igbo group in their apology to Ekweremadu said that words could not describe their shock, consternation and their sadness at the inexcusable, shameful and senseless attack.
The group described the incident as an embarrassment to the entire Igbo race and Nigeria and that those involved in the attack would face the wrath of the law. In her reaction, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Abike Dabiri-Erewa condemned the attack. Dabiri-Erewa said that the incident was an embarrassment to “It is also shamefully pathetic that an event, which was nobly put together by the Ndi-Igbo community whose members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, ended up in such a disgraceful manner,” she said.
Dabiri-Erewa noted that the event was to provide a forum for the Diasporans and various stakeholders to network and facilitate a better cooperation between German and Nigerian businesses. She disclosed that some of the culprits, who perpetrated the act, had been apprehended.
Dabiri-Erewa called on the German government and law enforcement agencies to ensure that there are consequences for the actions of the culprits.
In the same vein, Sen. Orji Kalu, the Senate Chief Whip, condemned the attack on Ekweremadu by some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in Germany.
Kalu, a former Abia State governor, described the act as uncivilized, unacceptable and barbaric.
In a statement signed by his media office, Kalu urged the people of the South-East to respect leaders at all levels.
Kalu appealed to the Embassy of Nigeria in Germany and the German government to ensure that those behind the act were made to face the law.
But despite the condemnation of the attacks and the appeal for the arrest and prosecution of the attackers, the German police said that no arrests had been made.
According to local media reports, the German police authorities, in Nuremberg, Germany disclosed that no arrest had been made and would be made in connection with the attack on Ike Ekweremadu.
The police authorities said that the attack was “just a protest” and that no arrest was made and didn’t have plans of making any future arrest.
“There was nothing much about this senator from Nigeria that came. About 30 persons demonstrated against him and the police were called and they called the situation down and the senator drove away in his car.
“Nothing happened, so there is not going to be any arrests. No arrests were made, nothing. No police investigation will be carried out in relations to the chaos,” a police press officer in Nüremberg said.
As the attack on Ekweremadu is about to leave the top position on the chart, Nigerians should not easily brush aside the fact that Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora are angry with the state of affairs in the country. The daily killings, insecurity, sluggish economy, poverty, lack of electricity and unemployment are serious national issues that cannot be easily wished away by any “conspiracy theory”.
Fortunately, after years of playing the ostrich, the government has finally admitted that “many Nigerians are poor and are anxiously hoping for a better life”. Speaking at the retreat for ministers in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari said: “Nigerians want a country in which they do not have to worry about what they will eat, where they will live or if they can afford to pay for their children’s education or healthcare. Our responsibility as leaders of this great country is to meet these basic needs for our people.”
Aug. 24, 2019 @ 15:25 GMT