A leader of a section within the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Mr. Simon Ekpa, has frequently ordered residents in the South-east to stay at home and has insisted that there will be no elections in the area in 2023.
The IPOB agitator recently announced a sit-at-home protest from February 23 to 28 in an apparent attempt to halt the holding of the general elections in the area in 2023. February 25 is the scheduled date for the presidential election.
He said that the instructions to stay at home and the postponement of the local elections in 2023 would benefit his IPOB faction in achieving the sovereign state of Biafra for Igbo-speaking citizens of South-East and South-South Nigeria.
This, however, has not gone down well with the Nigerian Government.
To discuss the threats made by the IPOB factional head, Geoffrey Onyeama met with Mrs. Pylvanainen, the Finnish ambassador to Nigeria.
At the meeting, Mr. Onyeama expressed his anger over the recent orders to stay at home given by Mr. Ekpa to his throngs of followers, which, in his opinion, led to their engaging in murder, maiming, burning, and other harmful crimes.
According to Mr. Onyeama, who was represented by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zubairu Dada, Mr. Ekpa’s actions were quickly becoming a threat to the upcoming election, and the Nigerian Government would not treat him or the Finnish government “lightly” if nothing “drastic” were done about his threats.
In response, Mrs. Pylvanainen stated that the Finnish Government was already looking into the threats to ascertain how they fit into Finnish legal precedent, given that Mr. Ekpa is a dual citizen of Finland and Nigeria. However, the Finnish ambassador emphasized that his rights should be considered. Therefore, she explained, “all must certainly be done by Finnish law.”
Mrs. Pylvanainen, however, called Mr. Ekpa’s threat “an irritation” in Finland’s relations with Nigeria.
With 60 years of “great collaboration” between the two nations, the Finnish envoy claimed, the Finnish Government would not “trade with anything” that might endanger its connection with Nigeria. She claimed that the Finnish Government was highly concerned about the threat to halt the Nigerian election.