Barrister Vincent Obetta, a human rights activist and former lawyer to the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has said that he regretted the violent attack on the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, by IPOB members in Germany as he was the one that practically dragged the Senator into the IPOB saga.
Obetta, who condemned the assault on Ekweremadu also said that when it became extremely difficult for him alone to secure the release of Kanu, he had to reach out to prominent Igbo leaders, even though most of them never wanted to get involved.
He noted that when he made a passionate appeal to Ekweremadu to assist in securing bail for the IPOB leader, the politician quickly intervened and mobilized other key Igbo political leaders who also moved into the matter to ensure Kanu’s freedom.
The former IPOB lawyer spoke at the Christ Redemption Church, inside Enugu Campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), where a thanksgiving service was held for Ekweremadu.
He said he needed to explain the real situation so that the generality of people would understand the vital role that Ekweremadu played during the struggle for Kanu’s release.
Obetta said: “I feel so guilty at what is happening to Ekweremadu, especially the Nuremberg, Germany attack, because I was the one that went to him and dragged him into the matter. So, I contributed to subjecting him to the unfortunate embarrassment.
“We know what Ekweremadu has been doing for Ndigbo; most of our leaders at Ohanaeze Ndigbo and South East Governors Forum, appreciate that he has done quite a lot for Ndigbo.”
According to him, the moment he got the two bails at the Magistrate and High Courts for the release of Kanu, but it became certain that the Federal Government was not going to release the detained IPOB leader or even to obey the court judgement in that respect.
Obetta further said: “I became very frustrated and I had to resort to Igbo leaders. All the while, I was doing it alone. But unfortunately, most of the persons I reached out to did not listen to me until I contacted Ekweremadu and Orji Uzor Kalu. That was when Ekweremadu threw caution to the wind and graciously agreed to help.
“He quickly called a meeting of South East National Assembly Committee, which precipitated to the bail.
“I decided to say this in this church because, I do not want to be seen as the ostrich, and moreover, we have a cache of people here who, I felt, needed to know what really happened at the time.
“I was always in touch with him and I know all that happened at the time. I have documents on all that happened, and a copy of Ekweremadu’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari. I also have a copy of his second letter which brought a lot of envy and attack on him, the former DSP. Yet, rather than appreciate him, we turned around to attack him.”
Obetta, who teaches law at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), however, appealed to all Igbo leaders, youth groups and movements to rally support for Ekweremadu and unite under one umbrella, stressing that, “even though Ekweremadu has said he has forgiven his attackers, but we need to continue to reassure him that he is not alone.”