Simon Ekpa, the leader of a faction of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) known as “auto pilots,” has issued an ultimatum to the Nigerian federal government regarding the release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. He has warned of another three-week period of civil disobedience, including a daily curfew, if the government fails to meet his demand.
Ekpa’s ultimatum and threat were conveyed in a statement titled ‘Delegitimization of Nigeria within Biafra Territory.’ In this statement, he has set a deadline of September 15 for the federal government to release Nnamdi Kanu and other individuals held in Nigerian state custody.
Furthermore, Ekpa has demanded the dismantling of all roadblocks and checkpoints in the southeast region by the same September 15 deadline.
If these demands are not met, Ekpa has indicated that the people will engage in another three weeks of civil disobedience, which includes the enforcement of a curfew. During this period, all Nigerian government secretariats within Biafra territory, across all states, must remain closed, according to his statement.
It’s worth noting that Simon Ekpa’s previous sit-at-home declaration last month did not gain widespread support in the southeast states, largely due to a letter purportedly written by Nnamdi Kanu. In the letter, Kanu expressed concerns that the sit-at-home actions were adversely affecting the region’s economy.
Initially, IPOB had called for weekly sit-at-home protests in 2021 as part of their demands for Nnamdi Kanu’s release. However, despite IPOB’s official cancellation of the sit-at-home order, Ekpa’s faction has continued to issue such directives, leading to ongoing tensions and divisions within the group.
Nnamdi Kanu is currently in detention by the Department of State Services (DSS) on charges of treason, leading a proscribed group, and breaching bail conditions, making his release a significant point of contention within IPOB.