According to a report by SaharaReporters, some Nigerians who are living in Canada have been physically attacked by Nigerian Speakers of State Houses of Assembly who were led by their Chairman, Rt Hon Abubakar Suleiman, while on a study visit.
SaharaReporters learnt that the Speakers of state legislative houses travelled to Canada on a seven-day study of legislative processes in government and capacity-building programmes to further enhance and strengthen their capacity as lawmakers.
However, some Nigerians approached them during the visit to deliver a protest message to President Muhammadu Buhari, a request which made the speakers to lose their cool and throw caution to the wind.
SaharaReporters was told that the Speakers reportedly manhandled some of the Nigerians and it took the intervention of the police in Canada to restore normalcy.
Narrating the incident, one of those assaulted said, “The visitation of the Nigerian government officials had been published in the newspapers and spread around Nigerian community forums in Canada. Pictures and videos of their meetings were also published on social media.
“I had expected a meet-and-greet with the Nigerian community but there was none planned, according to their published itinerary.
“I found out that they were leaving for Niagara falls on the morning of Friday, 23rd September, 2022. So I called out to a couple of our comrades to join me in delivering a protest message to the Nigerian government through the visiting officials.
“Unfortunately because of the impromptu nature of the information about the departure point of the officials and the timing, most could not make it. I was however accompanied by Mr Jerry Okoro.
“On reaching the lobby of the hotel venue, we greeted the officials and requested to speak with the leader of the team. I told them we were here on behalf of Nigerians living in Canada to deliver a protest message to the Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari.
“They pointed to someone as the leader of the group and I proceeded to introduce myself and address him with the message we came to deliver, which bordered on our displeasure with the happenings in our country Nigeria and especially the fact that students were out of school for seven months.
“The man representing Cross River State Rt Hon Joseph Bassey listened to me calmly but another colleague of his kept insisting that he should not listen nor respond to us.”
The Nigerian narrated that the Speakers of the state assemblies also manhandled the citizens until the police in Canada intervened.
The victim said, “Another Speaker started pushing him (Joseph Bassey) away and blocking the camera. It was at this point that everything escalated quickly and the hotel manager pleaded with us to leave because of the scene that was being created. I told him we were done and were leaving.
“We started to leave and I felt someone grab my hands. I turned and it was the leader of the team Speaker Abubakar Y Suleiman. Other colleagues of his gathered around me and were threatening to beat me up. I requested that he leave my hand and reminded them that they were in Canada.
“When I broke free of his grip, we left the scene and called the police. They too had called the police. The police dispatch operator asked us to please go back to the hotel where a team had been dispatched to meet us, but to stay away from the point of the altercation.
“When the police arrived, we approached them and they took a report of what happened. The organiser of the event Abi Goodman came out and was using profanity on me and was threatening to deal with me. She also said we will meet me in court.
“Jim Karyjianis who was also a co organiser of the event tried to attack me but was prevented by the police after he had pocked his finger at my face. All these happenings were captured live and can be previewed on social media.”