Igbos in Finland have distanced themselves from Mr Simon Ekpa, the self-proclaimed leader of a separatist organisation called the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB) based in Lahu.
According to a statement released by Kingsley Orji on behalf of the Igbo community, on December 18, 2022, the Igbo community in Finland held a meeting to discuss the growing issue in Nigeria’s southeast region.
“Mr Simon Ekpa was present at the meeting, affording us the opportunity to ask him some pertinent questions.
“Prominent among the issues discussed was the recently enforced 5-day sit-at-home order issued by Mr Simon Ekpa. The illegally imposed and ruthlessly enforced order caused incomprehensible economic misery and devastation to lives and property, causing significant anxiety among the Southeast population.
“The discussion also addressed his ongoing, vicious incitement that no elections or political gatherings will hold in the Southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria. A pronouncement that constitutes a gross breach of the people’s fundamental human right to assemble and vote.
“While we respect and recognise the right of individuals to express their thoughts, the Igbo Community in Finland strongly denounces Mr Simon Ekpa’s seditious statements and actions, which have taken on a dangerously violent dimension of killing and devastation whenever he issues such directives. Due to his threats and the violent actions of his group in Southeast Nigeria, there is a high level of insecurity in Igbo territory, which makes it hard to travel and do business.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, the Igbo Community in Finland is openly and strongly condemning Mr Simon Ekpa’s violent method of operation and wishes to state our position as follows:
*That we reject every illegal sit-at-home order or any other orders that restrict people’s economic activity and daily lives, as criminal elements have exploited such orders to kill, steal, and destroy properties in Igbo land.
*We strongly urge Mr Simon Ekpa to rescind his undiplomatic campaign slogan that ‘there will be no election in Biafra land in 2023’ and cease all his efforts to deprive Igbos of the right opportunity to vote and participate in the political process of electing their leaders.
“That Simon Ekpa be warned strongly not to use social media to spread threats of violence, which is making the Igbo people of Nigeria angry.
“There is no place on the planet where people can hide, incite violence, and escape punishment; therefore, the Igbo community in Finland is calling for action as follows:
“That Simon Ekpa be immediately restrained, investigated, and made to face the full wrath of the law both in Finland and Nigeria.
“Based on Belgian law on universal jurisdiction, the Finnish authorities should take jurisdiction right away and stop Mr Simon Ekpa from continuing to incite violence against life and people, murder of any kind, mutilation, cruelty, and violations of the right to life.
“That all relevant authorities should deploy all diplomatic channels to ensure that Mr. Simon Ekpa and his group are prevented from causing further damages,” the statement read.