The attackers of former Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Saturday, appear to have bitten more than they can chew with information coming in from Germany they are billed for deportation out of that country for assaulting a prominent Nigerian on its soil.
Ekweremadu was still in Germany as at 5.00 p.m. on Sunday, Nigeria Everyday gathered.
It is not clear how many of the attackers are pencilled for deportation, but it was gathered that the German police went to work and rounded up not less than 10 of the Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra (IPOB) members who were directly involved.
The Chairman of the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri Erewa, said on phone, late afternoon on Sunday, she needed to speak with Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, to confirm the information that has been making the rounds. She has been unable to do so because it is not an official working day.
Recall that the German government previously planned to deport some other Nigerians before Saturday’s attack on Ekweremadu.
There are reports that some Nigerians are billed for deportation on Monday. It was not clear on Sunday whether the attackers will be included in the batch being flown back to Nigeria this week.
Shortly after the attack on Ekweremadu, Dabiri-Erewa said on Twitter: “I condemn in its entirety the attack on former DSP Ike Ekeremadu at an event in Nuremberg, Germany, nobly put together by Ndi Igbo Germany. where he was attacked. I hope the culprits, some of whom have been arrested, will face consequences for their shamefully pathetic actions.”
Meawhile, IPOB has been gloating over the attack on one of its most prominent supporters in government. The other is Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who has described the attack on his colleague as reprehensible.
IPOB told The Punch that it 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.
Its boast coincides with the release of a letter in Abuja written by Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President in September 2017, advising against the military exercise in the South-East, about the same time the Federal Government designated IPOB as a terrorist organisation on September 18, 2017, under the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013.
Speaking to The Punch 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.”
In a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, regarding Operation Python Dance, titled, ‘RISING TENSION IN THE SOUTH EAST. RE: APPEAL TO CALL OFF OPERATION EGWU EKE, Ekweremadu wrote:
“It is with profound gratitude to God for His mercies and healing that I join other well-meaning Nigerians to welcome you back home from your overseas medical trip. I am happy that you are back in sound health and have since taken over the steering of the ship of state.
“Let me apologise for having to add to your workload by way of drawing your attention to the rising tension in the South East occasioned by Operation Egwu Eke (Python Dance) currently going on in the region. However, given the dangers to our nationhood inherent in the rising tension in the South East, I have no option than appeal to you to take immediate steps to avert another civil war in Nigeria.
“The peace of Nigeria has never been this fragile since the end of the civil war and as leaders we must do everything humanly possible and legitimate to hold the nation together in peace and prosperity. As President and Commander-in-Chief, you would agree with me that there is need for caution.
“Recall, Your Excellency, that the South East Caucus of the Senate met with you on November 9, 2016. We had a heart-to-heart discussion on pressing issues affecting the South East. Recall that on the issue of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who was then in detention, we pleaded for your intervention and strongly advised against his continued detention. We were of the view that his continued detention would only further popularize him.
“Furthermore, we informed you that when the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, was detained during the administration of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, we approached the former President and appealed to him to immediately release Chief Uwazuruike to avoid creating a mountain out of a molehill. He heeded the advice and Chief Uwazuruike and MASSOB have never posed any threat to the peace and sovereignty of Nigeria.
“I recall, however, that on the appeal for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, you told us to allow the judicial process to run its cause. But, in retrospect, it proved to be a big mistake on the side of government as his continued detention made him a hero among a cross-section of the people.
“I am afraid, Your Excellency, that the government is embarking on yet another huge misjudgment today by adopting a military option to the Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB challenge. Therefore, I most respectfully appeal to you to order the immediate withdrawal of the military from the South East as their presence can only and is indeed already amplifying tension in the region.
“As things stand, the reaction of the youth in the region is unpredictable. It is also possible that their reactions and actions of the military may be misrepresented or exaggerated on the social media and trigger a chain of other actions in other parts of the country also. Not even Your Excellency or anyone else for that matter can certainly foretell the outcome of such chain of actions, reactions, and reprisals. But at least, you are in a position to imagine the number of the avoidable casualties and deaths.
“Meanwhile, I am aware that the Vice President, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, met with South East leaders- the Governors, members of the National Assembly, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, clergy, traditional rulers, civil society, elder statesmen, and political leaders – in his capacity as the Acting President. As a quick win, the position of these leaders was that the Federal Government should, in the meantime, do more in giving the South East a sense of belonging by addressing the palpable marginalization and exclusion of the South East to diffuse the growing disenchantment with the Nigerian project and sentiments for Nnamdi Kanu’s position and message.
“Your Excellency would recall that it was exactly the same suggestion earlier adduced by the South East Senate Caucus during the November 2016 meeting with you. We especially appealed to you to address the total exclusion of the entire South East region in the headship and commanding heights of nation’s security agencies and organs. Although you promised to address this anomaly, this, regrettably, has not happened.
“Furthermore, I have it on good authority that the security chiefs also advised along the line of giving the South East a sense of belonging by way of appointments and infrastructural development. Regrettably, that advice is yet to be implemented.
“Your Excellency, you were an active participant in the civil war. With the benefits of your age, experience, exposure and present position as the President of this great nation, I know you would not wish any part of Nigeria to go through that experience again. I appeal to you to use these benefits to avert any descent into the 1967 – 1970 experience. It is obvious to all of us that the wounds of that war are yet to heal. Therefore, as President, duty calls on you to not only ensure that the wounds fully heal, but also that they do not reoccur.
“By the provisions of Section 215 (3) of the 1999 Constitution on the powers of the President to deploy the police for the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order as well as Section 217 (2)(c) on the deployment of the armed forces to quell insurrection, I do not believe that the IPOB issue, as it is today, deserves military solution. We must objectively differentiate civil disobedience, displeasing as it is, from insurrection or mutiny. As a General, you would agree with me that the armed forces are not trained to contain civil disobedience or civil protest. Therefore, deploying soldiers in the present circumstance is like using fuel to quench candlelight. I am very worried that our armed forces that are already heavily stretched are being saddled with the responsibilities outside their primary constitutional duties. As a lawyer, let me most respectfully point out that the courts have severally frowned at the deployment of soldiers in circumstances as we presently have in the South East, describing it as totally unconstitutional.
“Besides, let us be mindful that it was the mishandling of the Boko Haram sect, especially the elimination of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf that escalated into the full-blown insurgency we have in the North East for many years now. That singular misadventure has led to wanton destruction of lives and property, Nigerians and foreigners alike, in the North East in particular and other parts of the country as well. It has affected both the Federal Government and the international community financially, with monumental resources that should have gone into development now channeled into containing the Boko Haram menace.
“Military option did not work in the Niger Delta. It will certainly not work in the South East. As was the case in the Niger Delta, dialogue is the best option.
“With the benefit of the hindsight, therefore, it is my hope that you will heed my humble advice to withdraw the troops lest we unwittingly find ourselves in the same circumstance as we have in the North East.
“Your Excellency, between 1967 and now is well over 50 years. As a seasoned soldier, you would agree with me that the character of war has changed dramatically. Therefore, the outcome of another war in any part of Nigeria, God forbid, will be unpredictable.
“By God’s grace, you are back and fully recovered now. I would like to advise that you meet with the leaders of the South East to continue with the dialogue as soon as you get the military deployed to the South East to return to their barracks. I speak for myself and other leaders of the South East that we will make ourselves available towards finding political solutions to the agitations in the region. In the meantime, be assured that the South East leaders are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the situation does not escalate.
“May God guide you as you reflect on the concerns raised.
“While wishing you the best in all your endeavours, accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest regards.”