Breaking: IPOB Leader Simon Ekpa Has Been Arrested In Finland

IPOB leader Simon Ekpa has been arrested in Finland today, just few days after threatening to frustrate Nigeria’s general election, Finnish Daily Sanoma reported. The news outlet said Simon Ekpa was taken into custody by plain clothes. He was arrested by police officers shortly before he was due to be interviewed by a filmmaker at his residence in Lahti, southern Finland.

It was not immediately clear why Simon Ekpa was arrested or when he would be released, but the newspaper said the Biafra agitator was likely to face prolonged interrogations, with officers saying they were only doing their job on the matter.

The arrest comes as Simon Ekpa intensifies an attempt to frustrate the Nigerian presidential elections scheduled for February 25, 2023.

Simon Ekpa, who is currently 37 years old, was shot into prominence following the abduction of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu by Nigerian authorities in June 2021 automatically becoming the de facto leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra. He had declared a so-called sit-at-home order for residents across the country’s South-East to stay away from polling centers or suffer violent consequences.

Nigerian authorities had also urged the Finland government to intervene and check Simon Ekpa’s inciting broadcasts from the safety of the European country. It was unclear whether the police acted on Nigeria’s request or the widespread online clamour for the separatist agitator’s arrest by people of Igbo extraction, especially supporters of Peter Obi, an Igbo politician with a rising popularity and likely to emerge as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A spokesman for the Nigerian foreign ministry did not immediately return a request seeking comments on why Simon Ekpa was arrested. The Finnish embassy in Abuja was not available for comments.

Finnish authorities on Thursday said they have arrested popular pro-Biafra agitator, Simon Ekpa. According to a Finland news outlet, the police escorted the Biafra agitator out of his apartment in Lahti to their station for interrogation and detention.

The newspaper also claimed they had gone to Simon Ekpa’s residence for an interview but to their surprise, the Finnish police answered the door when Finnish news outlet HS team rang the bell at the resident of Simon Ekpa. The HS team said the Finnish police prevented their team from entering Simon Ekpa’s apartment and said that the interview would be moved “to the future”.

When contacted, an official of the Finnish Embassy in Abuja who craves anonymity confirmed Simon Ekpa’s arrest on Thursday.

“It is our understanding that he is currently in police custody in Finland,” the official who is not authorized to speak to the press told journalists.

Simon Ekpa was born on 21st March 1985 in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state in the south eastern part of Nigeria. He is a Nigerian-Finnish lawyer, a political activist and former athlete. Prior to his activism, he won a silver medal for Nigeria in 100 meters in the 2003 African Junior Athletics Championships in Cameroon. Simo Ekpa has lived in Lahti, Finland since 2007. He is a member of the National Coalition Party in Finland, and was a candidate in the 2022 Finnish County elections.

According to reports Simon Ekpa’s political activism started to gather mainstream attention in February 2023, with calls to investigate his activities and to determine if his alleged incitement, fills the legal definitions for incitement against people or group. The local Kokoomus parti in Lahti stated that they have started an internal investigation of these claims.

Orji Anya Odim, representing the association Igbo Union in Finland, stated in the same interview, “He should stop inciting hatred and provoking. Simon Ekpa does not represent the Igbo people of Finland”, The Nigerian government has also demanded Finland to stop Simon Ekpa’s activities. Many live in fear in south east Nigeria just because of Simon Ekpa.

Simon Ekpa issued a sit at home order, trying to deprive the Igbos from exercising their franchise in the upcoming presidential election. Many in Enugu seem to heed to this order, but some insisted that they would go out and exercise their franchise despite the stay at home orders.

Simon Ekpa is a Nigerian/Finnish based lawyer. He rose to prominence when he was made lead broadcaster for Radio Biafra, associated with the separatist organization, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) after the arrest of political activist Nnamdi Kanu. After some weeks, he was sacked as the lead broadcaster citing violation of the rules of the organization.

IPOB said there are peaceful organization and have held all their campaign peacefully, but Simon Ekpa is always inciting violence and that is why they had to excommunicate him from the IPOB family. IPOB through it spokesman Emma Powerful has in several press release stated that Simon Ekpa is no longer a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and that he is on his own and whatever he do or say does not represent IPOB because he has been excommunicated from the group.

Austine Ikeru
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