The physical assault on the person of Senator Ike Ekweremadu at the Second Annual Igbo Cultural Day on 17 August in the German city of Nuremberg has been attracting different reactions from Nigerians in the diaspora. The attack is suspected to have been carried out by members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), an organisation agitating for a separate independent state for the people of the old Eastern Region of Nigeria but which has been outlawed in the country.
Ekweremadu, a serving senator and former deputy president of the Senate, was one of the dignitaries who attended the event, organised by Ndi-Igbo Germany (N.I.G), the umbrella body of all Igbo organisations in Germany, to showcase the culture of the Igbos, one of Nigeria’s major ethno-national groups, and promote better Nigerian-German relations.
In a press statement, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDO Europe), condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” while N.I.G described the embarrassment of the Nigerian senator as “unprovoked, unwarranted and senseless”.
“We apologise from the depths of our hearts that you had to experience such a horrible thing here in our midst. This is not how we are here,” the Igbo organisation said.
NIDO Germany while dissociating “the body of Nigerians in Germany from the despicable and uncivilised behaviour” said the incident was “a sad commentary on the level of education and political literacy of some of our compatriots who live in, and enjoy the benefits of, a liberal democratic society and should know the limits of their right to protest”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Embassy in Germany has called on German authorities to unmask the identity of and try the attackers of Senator Ekweremadu. Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, attended the event as special guest.
The Nigerian embassy, which said that investigating the perpetrators would discourage any individual or group from carrying out acts of violence against Nigerian government officials on German soil, cited the threat by IPOB to carry out similar attacks on Nigerian dignitaries especially from the Eastern part of the country that would travel abroad.
IPOB has owned up to the attack which, it said, was carried out to protest the killing of its members in Nigeria without Igbo political leaders coming to their support and, worse still, supporting the federal government’s ban of the organisation.
To avoid a repeat of the unfortunate incident in the future, NIDO Europe and NIDO Germany, being umbrella organisations, called for their involvement in the planning and implementation of such events at the Igbo Cultural Day.