Finnish police on Thursday arrested a popular pro-Biafra agitator, Simon Ekpa.
Ekpa, a self-acclaimed disciple of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, had repeatedly ordered South-East residents to observe a sit-at-home and asked them to boycott Saturday’s polls.
His repeated sit-at-home orders had been marked by bloodshed and destruction of lives and property in the region by its enforcers.
A Finland news outlet, Helsingin Sanomat, noted that the police escorted the separatist out of his apartment in Lahti.
The newspaper claimed that its team went to Ekpa’s residence for an interview, adding that to its surprise, the Finnish police, KRP, answered when it rang the separatist’s bell.
The HS said the KRP prevented their team from entering Ekpa’s apartment, noting that the interview would be moved “to the future.”
Contacted, an official of the Finnish Embassy in Abuja who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed Ekpa’s arrest to The PUNCH on Thursday.
“It is our understanding that he is currently in police custody in Finland,” the official who is not authorised to speak to the press told The PUNCH.
“According to information available to us, the image is verified by Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper; in it, Ekpa is seen being escorted out of his home in Lahti by plainclothes Finnish police”, the official volunteered.
However, Ekpa was released the same day after hours of grilling by the police.
The police claimed that its operation in Lahti and the subsequent arrest of the pro-Biafra agitator were in connection with an ongoing preliminary investigation.
“The person being questioned today (Thursday) is suspected of a crime. We will return to the title on Friday,” Tommi Reen from the Central Criminal Police told HS during a phone interview.
It was gathered that Ekpa’s arrest followed relentless pressure mounted by the Federal Government and Igbo leaders on the Finland government over his inciting comments and sit-at-home orders to South-East residents.
Before his arrest on Thursday, many Nigerians from across the world signed a petition appealing to the Finnish government, Nigerian Government and the European Union to arrest Ekpa.
The Igbo community in Finland in January decried what it termed Ekpa’s “seditious statements” from Lahti in Finland, urging the Finnish authorities to restrain the separatist.
In a statement signed by one Kingsley Orji, the Igbo community called on both governments of Finland and Nigeria to commence an immediate investigation of Ekpa with a view to bringing him to justice.
The statement read in part, “There is no place on the planet where people can simply hide, incite violence, and escape punishment. Therefore, the Igbo community in Finland is calling for action as follows:
“That Simon Ekpa is immediately restrained, investigated, and made to face the full wrath of the law both in Finland and in Nigeria.’’ Source: Punch