Report from Finland says the country’s Central Criminal Police Thursday arrested a popular Biafran separatist agitator, Simon Ekpa.
Helsingin Sanomat (HS), a Finland news outlet, published on its website a picture of Mr. Ekpa being escorted out of his house by the police in Lahti.
According to the media, its reporters had gone to Ekpa’s house for an interview but the Finland police, KRP, answered the doorbell and prevented them from entering, saying the interview would be moved “to the future”.
Criminal Inspector, Tommi Reen of the Finland Central Criminal Police has confirmed to HS the arrest of a man, following an operation in a private apartment in the center of Lahti in connection with ongoing preliminary investigation of a crime in Finland.
Excepts below from the Helsingin Sanomat website;
Reen did not confirm the identity of the arrested person to HS, but spoke only on a general level about the arrest and the operation in the apartment located in the center of Lahti.
According to HS information, the police operation in Lahti lasted several hours on Thursday and was still ongoing in the afternoon.
EKPA is a local politician of the coalition in Finland. He is a member of the coalition council and represents his party in the public transport board of the Lahti region.
Ekpa is an influential player in the separatist movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and pushes for the independence of Biafra, located in southeastern Nigeria. He has called on people on social media to boycott Saturday’s presidential election in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has declared the Biafra independence movement illegal.
The Etelä-Suomen Sanomat newspaper from Lahte reported on Thursday that Ekpa “is not hiding the fact that he is participating in the elimination of the government’s people. He even leads the operation and acquires weapons”.
In an interview with Yle, Ekpa has claimed that he leads a rebel group from Lahti that wants to establish an independent state of Biafra in the southeastern part of Nigeria.
HS earlier reported that EKPA publicly claims to have deputized the leader of the separatist movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu , after he was arrested. He also claims to command IPOB’s armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
However, some of those claiming to be members of IPOB or ESN accuse Ekpa of lying and misusing Kanu’s name.
THE NIGERIAN administration is concerned that Ekpa’s actions will jeopardize the country’s elections, and Nigeria has asked Finland to intervene in Ekpa’s activities. Last week, the Nigerian foreign minister invited the Finnish ambassador to a meeting because of the topic.
Jussi Nummelin , the team leader for Western and Central Africa at the Finnish Foreign Ministry , told HS a week ago that Finland shares the concern for security and condemns violence and incitement to it, as well as “actions that aim to prevent people from exercising their democratic rights”.
Nummelin emphasized, however, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not an actual party in the case, but that if it is a question of suspected crime, the police in Finland have jurisdiction.