Simon Ekpa’s Threat: Ohanaeze Insists Elections Must Hold In South-East
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has insisted that the 2023 elections must hold in the southeast at all costs.
The group’s stand is against the backdrop of threats by self-acclaimed IPOB factional leader, Simon Ekpa that elections won’t be allowed to hold in the region.
Claims and threats of Ekpa, who is Finland-based have risen tension in the region as elections are just days away.
However, the Igbo apex organisation has called on the federal government to expedite action in its plan to arrest Ekpa.
Naija News reports that Ohanaeze in a statement issued by its Secretary-General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro on Thursday said urgent action must be taken to stop Ekpa from carrying out his threats.
Isiguzoro declared that Ekpa’s case had gone beyond dialogue, and adding the federal government would not take things lightly with him and the Finland governments if something drastic was not done during the polls.
Ohanaeze scribe submitted that Ndigbo would collaborate with other Nigerians to apprehend and hand over to security agencies those enforcing the Ekpa’s sit-at-home from the 23rd to 28th of February 2023 in an attempt to disrupt the 2023 Presidential elections which are to hold on February 25.
Isiguzoro advanced that “One Simon Ifeanyi Njoku Ekpa has by his utterances and actions ascended the height of a global terrorist and sponsor of terrorism in Nigeria and particularly in the South-East.
“Simon Ekpa is liable for the violence, and killing of Igbos and Nigerians in the Eastern part of the country and should be arraigned by the Finnish Government and the Nigerian government without further delay before he escapes from Finland.
“Ndigbo have assembled all documents to prove that Simon Ekpa is sponsoring the killing of the Igbo and other Nigerians, especially the security agents, burning of public properties (INEC and court buildings), as well as disruption of economic and social activities in the South-East for the last six months.
“Elections must be held in the South-East as Simon Ekpa is working with Igbo adversaries to suppressing Igbo votes.
“This must be resisted; local vigilantes and community-based security outfits should join hands in the efforts to stamp out terrorism and banditry in the South-East.”
Speaking further, the Igbo apex group appealed to the federal government “To mount fierce pressure on the Finnish Government to surrender Simon Ekpa to face prosecution in Nigeria.
“Finnish authorities should stop shielding a global terrorist who is responsible for the killing over of 2000 Nigerians in the South-East.
“In our commitment to ensure that Ekpa is arrested, the $50,000 bounty on him has been increased to 100,000 dollars for anyone in Finland and Europe who has useful information on his new location.”
Meanwhile, Naija News reported on Wednesday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday summoned the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen, over “hate speech and incitive comments” by a Nigerian-Finnish lawyer and Biafra agitator, Ekpa.
he ministry claimed that the Ekpa-led faction of the IPOB had reportedly declared that elections will not be allowed to hold in the South-East and had ordered sit-at-home during elections.
At the meeting with Pylvanainen, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said Ekpa’s action was fast becoming a threat to the forthcoming polls and if the Finland government would do nothing about it, nothing the federal government would not take it lightly and would take drastic measures.
However, the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Pylvanainen, made a case for Ekpa over his threat to disrupt elections in the South East region of the country.
As it was gathered that the Finnish envoy, who was summoned by the Federal Government said Ekpa’s rights must be considered in the matter at hand.
According to him, as a citizen of both Nigeria and Finland, he has rights from both countries and even though the government of Finland is concerned about his “hate speech and incitive comments,” he has freedom of speech which the Finnish legislation, strongly protects.
Pylvanainen said the Finnish government would watch and see where the request from the federal government fits into its legal framework.