Former Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, has advised South East leaders to feel free to travel abroad, saying his attack on Saturday by members of the outlawed IPOB did not represent the behaviour of the larger Igbo people in the diaspora.
Ekweremadu said he had “moved on” and cared less about what authorities in Nigeria and in Germany where he was assaulted planned to do about the incident.
The senator, representing Enugu West, said he had left the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, “to his conscience.”
“What we will do in this circumstance is to leave him to his conscience, the verdict of history, and possibly the repercussions of ingratitude. But I hope he won’t go to the extent of attacking any of the South East leaders anywhere,” he said on Monday after returning to Nigeria.
The lawmaker was reacting to a threat by Kanu, who in a live broadcast on Radio Biafra on Sunday, offered N1 million reward for information on overseas travel itinerary of Southeast governors.
“So if you are working in any Government House in Southeast and you know which city in the world your governor is going to be, inform us so that we will mobilise for him and you will be rewarded with N1 million,” Kanu said.
His threat came a day after some members of the group attacked and denied Ekweremadu entrance into a venue of the annual Igbo Cultural Festival held in Nuremberg, Germany.
In a statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, shortly after his return, Ekweremadu advised Nigerians, including Igbo leaders, to feel free to travel to any part of the world they wished to.
He maintained that the attitude of his assailants did not represent the dispositions and behaviour of Nigerians in the diaspora.
“I think they were just people who were misdirected and misguided. I had the feeling they were under the influence of alcohol. They don’t represent the feelings of our people. There is nothing to worry about.
“The organisers, the Igbo in Germany, have written a letter apologising for what happened. Everybody is free to go anywhere because those ones don’t represent the behaviour of Nigerians abroad.
“For me, I have moved on. The government and authorities of Germany are free to do whatever they wish about it,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
On his threat to attack more Igbo leaders, especially the governors of the South East, Mr Ekweremadu said he would leave the IPOB leader to his conscience.
“Let me just say that the leaders he (Kanu) was mentioning were responsible for getting him out of jail in the first place.
“What we will do in this circumstance is to leave him to his conscience, the verdict of history, and possibly the repercussions of ingratitude. But I hope he won’t go to the extent of attacking any of the South East leaders anywhere.”
The lawmaker said he had no regrets speaking for justice for the Igbo tribe and helping to facilitate Kanu’s release, saying he believed in justice for all irrespective of tribe, religion or region.
“First of all, I am a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My job is to speak out when there is injustice anywhere. We have problem in the North East. I have visited the North East. I visited the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps there. I donated money. I sent relief materials. We had problem in the South-South, I visited the creeks and saw the environmental challenges there for myself.
“I was one of the few people the late President Musa Yar’Adua consulted before he decided on the issue of amnesty. I was the person who advised him that he needed to call a meeting of the Council of State. So, he had to invite the then Attorney General to discuss that issue with me and I advised them on the constitutional implications of amnesty.
“So, I have always spoken out on matters that concern Nigerians no matter where they come from. I believe in justice for all. It had nothing to do with IPOB,” he was quoted as saying.