Simon Ekpa News: FG summons Finnish ambassador over Simon Ekpa’s threats to stop 2023 elections
Mr. Simon Ekpa, a factional leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been issuing sit-at-home orders across the South-east region of Nigeria, repeatedly insisting that the region will not participate in the 2023 general election. This has caused great concern for the Nigerian government, which has summoned the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen, to express their concerns over Mr. Ekpa’s threats to disrupt the election.
The IPOB agitator recently declared a sit-at-home order from 23 to 28 February with the intention of halting the conduct of the 2023 general elections in the region, including the presidential election, which is scheduled for February 25. Mr. Ekpa claims that such actions are necessary for his faction of IPOB to achieve the sovereign state of Biafra for Igbo-speaking people in South-east and South-south Nigeria.
The government’s concern is that the disruption of the election in the region could potentially undermine the democratic process in the country and lead to further violence and instability. The government has urged Mr. Ekpa and IPOB to reconsider their approach and engage in dialogue to resolve any issues or concerns they may have.
Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, met with the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Pylvanainen, to discuss the threats by the factional IPOB leader, according to a report by Business Day newspaper.
Mr Onyeama, at the meeting, expressed displeasure over the recent sit-at-home orders given by Mr Ekpa to his teeming followers, who he said, consequently embarked 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” was not done about his threats.
“We thought it was important for us to have this chat with you to let you know that, of course, he’s living in the comfort of his home there in Finland and we know that we have been in touch with your good self,” Mr Onyeama stated.
“We’ve had some time to ensure that we arrest this situation but it appears the situation is getting out of hand. And we’re saying enough is enough. We should let you know, in very strong terms that it’s high time you really meant and backed Nigeria with the quest that something be done immediately because he threatens the forthcoming election,” he added.
The foreign affairs minister lamented that the factional IPOB leader has huge followership on social media.
“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.