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Simon Ekpa, pro-Biafra Agitator, Arrested In Finland

Simon Ekpa was arrested Thursday by Finnish police and taken to their facility for questioning.

Finnish authorities have arrested a controversial Biafra agitator, Simon Ekpa, who has threatened to use violence to disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general election in Nigeria’s south-east.

Mr Ekpa was arrested Thursday by Finnish police and taken to their facility for questioning, sources told reporters.

“Simon Ekpa has just been arrested because of the sit-at-home in the South-east. The (Finnish) police just took him away from his house now,” a member of Igbo Community in Finland, who asked not to be named, told this newspaper.

A photograph of the pro-Biafra agitator being led out of his residence by a team of Finnish police has been circulating on social media.

When contacted on Thursday, Finland’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvänäinen, confirmed Mr Ekpa’s arrest.

“Yes, it is our understanding, based on the news report by Helsingin Sanomat, that Mr Ekpa was taken in for questioning earlier today from his home in Lahti,” Mrs Pylvänäinen said in response to an enquiry by this newspaper

The ambassador said although the Finnish police do not, as a matter of principle, give out information on the identities of persons being questioned, the viral photograph of Mr Ekpa being led by a team of Finnish police has been verified by Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish media outfit.

 

Meeting with Nigerian govt

The arrest of Mr Ekpa comes less than two weeks after the Nigerian government summoned the Finnish ambassador over threats by Mr Ekpa to stop the general election in Nigeria’s south-east.

Mr Ekpa, a factional leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has repeatedly declared sit-at-home orders across the South-east, insisting that there would be no election in the region in 2023.

He recently declared a sit-at-home from 23 to 28 February, apparently to stop the conduct of the 2023 general elections in the region.

The presidential and national assembly elections are slated to be held this Saturday, 25 February.

Mr Ekpa, a lawyer, said the sit-at-home orders and stopping the 2023 elections in the region would help his faction of IPOB to achieve the sovereign state of Biafra for Igbo-speaking people in the south-east and south-south Nigeria.

Mr Ekpa, a Finnish-Nigerian citizen, hails from Ngbo, a community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, south-east Nigeria. He lives in Finland.

 

Worry over Ekpa’s threats

PREMIUM TIMES reported that at the meeting with the Finnish ambassador, Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, expressed displeasure over the recent sit-at-home orders issued by Mr Ekpa to his followers, who he said, consequently embark on killings, maiming, burning and other destructive activities.

Mr Onyeama, represented by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, said Mr Ekpa’s action was fast becoming a threat to the forthcoming election, and that the Nigerian government would not take it “lightly” with him and the Finland government if nothing “drastic” is not done about his threats.

“It’s important to get to know that the 2023 elections are being threatened by the actions of someone and that something needs to be done immediately, to address the situation.

“This in essence is why we thought it was important for us to have this discussion with you, so as to let you know our concerns and the displeasure of the Government of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria on this very unhealthy development,” the minister told Mrs Pylvanainen.

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