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Ekweremadu feels IPOB attackers were drunk, high on drugs

Ekweremadu believes the action of the IPOB members does not represent the true feelings of Igbo people.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu was mobbed by IPOB members last weekend, an attack that has been widely condemned [Punch]

Members of IPOB, a southeast-based secessionist group, harassed and physically assaulted the former deputy senate president while he was attending the New Yam Festival of the Igbo community in Nuremberg on Saturday, August 17, 2019.

The group's anger stemmed from the proscription of its activities by southeast governors in 2017, an action it claimed Ekweremadu supported, as well as the crackdown on its members by the Federal Government.

In a broadcast following the attack, IPOB's leader, Nnamdi Kanu, a wanted fugitive who jumped bail two years ago, offered a N1 million reward for credible information on overseas travel itinerary of southeast governors.

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However, in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Uche Anichukwu, shortly after he returned to Nigeria on Monday, August 19, Ekweremadu said the action of the IPOB members does not represent the true feelings of Igbo people.

"I think they were just people who were misdirected and misguided. I had the feeling they were under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

"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.

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"For me, I have moved on. The government and authorities of Germany are free to do whatever they wish about it," he said.

Ekweremadu further described Kanu as ungrateful especially since southeast governors, he claimed, were instrumental to getting him out of prison in 2017.

Kanu was arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) in 2015 and charged with treasonable felony, inciting violence and hate speech, among other charges, for his secessionist activities.

He spent two years in custody until he was granted bail on health grounds in April 2017.

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In the ensuing months, he constantly violated his bail conditions and eventually disappeared in September 2017 after a week of high-profile clashes between his group and Nigerian Army troops on "Operation Python Dance" which was believed to be targeted at the group.

IPOB was also designated a terrorist organisation that same month by the Federal Government and had its activities proscribed.

Speaking on Monday, Ekweremadu dismissed the IPOB leader's allegations, noting that he has always spoken out on matters that concern Nigerians no matter where they come from.

The lawmaker said Kanu will be left "to his conscience" as long as he doesn't launch more attacks on political leaders.

"I hope he won’t go to the extent of attacking any of the southeast leaders anywhere," he said.

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However, Kanu, a controversial figure in Nigeria, has promised more attacks on the southeast region's leaders who venture abroad.

Other than the southeast governors, leaders on Kanu's 'hit list' include Ohaneze Ndigbo President-General, John Nwodo, and the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.

"We have nominated five persons each in every country of the world who are ready to be arrested and be jailed for this purpose.

"Many of us have been killed so what is there in going to jail," he said in a broadcast on Sunday, August 18.

The attack on Ekweremadu has been widely condemned by all including the Federal Government.

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