Tuesday, the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen, in response to threats made by Biafra activist Simon Ekpa to halt the 2023 general election in Nigeria’s south-east.
Mr. Ekpa, a faction leader of the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), has repeatedly issued sit-at-home orders throughout the South-east and insisted that there will be no election in the region in 2023.
Simon Ekpa Statement
The IPOB activist recently announced a stay-at-home campaign from February 23 to February 28, ostensibly to halt the 2023 general elections in the region.
The presidential election is scheduled for February 25.
He stated that the sit-at-home orders and the cancellation of the 2023 elections in the region would aid his faction of the IPOB in establishing a sovereign state of Biafra for Igbo-speaking Nigerians in the south-east and south-south of the country.
According to a report by Business Day, Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, met with the Finnish ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Pylvanainen, to discuss the threats made by the IPOB faction leader, Simon Ekpa.
Mr. Onyeama expressed displeasure at the meeting over the recent sit-at-home orders issued by Mr. Ekpa to his numerous followers, who, according to him, subsequently engaged in killings, maimings, and other destructive activities.
Mr. Onyeama, who was represented by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, stated that Mr. Ekpa’s actions were quickly becoming a threat to the upcoming election, and that the Nigerian government would not “take it lightly” if nothing “dramatic” was done about his threats.
Mr. Onyeama stated, “We thought it was important to have this conversation with you to let you know that he is living in the comfort of his home in Finland and that we have been in contact with you.”
“We’ve had some time to ensure that this situation is brought under control, but it appears that things are getting out of hand. And we’ve reached the point of no return. “We should let you know in no uncertain terms that it’s high time you truly meant and supported Nigeria with the demand that immediate action be taken because he threatens the upcoming election,” he added.
The foreign affairs minister lamented the fact that the IPOB faction leader, Simon Ekpa has a massive social media following.
“It is vital that everyone is aware that the 2023 elections are in jeopardy due to someone’s actions and that immediate action is required to remedy the situation. The minister told Mrs. Pylvanainen, “This is essentially why we felt it was important to have this discussion with you: to convey our concerns and the displeasure of the government and people of Nigeria over this very unhealthy development.”