GERMANY’S government has written the Nigeria’s former deputy senate president Senator Ike Ekweremadu assuring him that it will deal the recent assault he suffered in Nuremberg when he was attacked by members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (Ipob).
In Saturday, August 18, Senator Ekweremadu, the lawmaker representing Enugu West Senatorial District, was due to be the guest speaker at the New Yam Festival of the Igbo community in Nuremburg in Germany. However, he was physically assaulted by Ipob members, with his top torn to shreds, as the separatist group vented their anger on him, forcing the senator to flee the venue.
Following the incident, Nigerian officials have asked the German police to arrest and prosecute the Ipob members responsible but the police in the state of Bavaria where the incident took place see it as just a protest. Although the Bavarian police have not indicated they intend to take the matter further, it is believed that have identified at least four of the protesters.
Yesterday, however, the German government write to Senator Ekweremadu expressing deep concern over what it described as ugly attack and assured him that competent authorities were dealing with the matter. According to Senator Ekweremadu’s spokesman Uche Anichukwu, the letter was handed over to the former deputy senate leader by Regine Hess, the acting German ambassador to Nigeria, who also doubles as chargé d’affairs of the mission in Abuja.
Her letter read: “I learnt with great concern about the events in Nuremberg during the second Annual Igbo Cultural Festival. In the name of the German embassy, I want to express my heartfelt regret and my sincere hope that you are in good health.
“The Foreign Office is taking this incident very seriously. Right away, our protocol got in contact with the police in Nuremberg who is investigating the matter. Please rest assured that the matter will be dealt with by the competent authorities according to the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Robert Sandmann, the first chief commissioner of police at headquarters in Mittelfranken, said they were exploring political leads in the Ekweremadu assault. This has led to the involvement of the Polizeilicher Staatschutz, a German police department that covers politically-motivated crime.
Mr Sandmann added: “On Monday after the incident, the prosecutor’s office was informed; they subpoenaed the investigation file for the next day and then decided their next steps. Witnesses were also heard, and also the available video material was secured and investigated.
“Through this, already, four suspects were identified and they are now being investigated for coercion. Furthermore, the criminal police is tasked with identifying more suspects and prove their participation based on the available evidence.
“Generally, I can say that the free expression of your opinion is guaranteed in Germany, by our constitution. This right, of course, has its limits, where the behaviour violates laws or the rights of others.”