Abuja, August 21, 2023: A coalition comprising various Nigerian civil society groups, led by the organization “Rising Up for a United Nigeria” (RUN) along with the “National Youth Council of Nigeria,” has called upon the Federal Government to employ diplomatic means to secure the extradition and prosecution of Barrister Simon Ekpa, who is currently residing in Finland.
During a press conference held on Monday in the nation’s capital, the coalition asserted that Ekpa has allegedly provided funding for multiple acts of terrorism, contributing to the escalating instability in Southeastern Nigeria.
In a statement read on behalf of the coalition by Solomon Adodo, the President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, it was declared, “Mr. Ekpa is believed to have financially supported numerous acts of terrorism, orchestrating these activities from his safe haven in Finland, with Southeastern Nigeria as the apparent target. He stands accused of engaging in criminal activities associated with terrorism, thus undermining the stability of the Southeast and adding to the challenges faced by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”
The coalition also expressed profound concern over the ongoing tensions and loss of lives within the Southeastern States, drawing parallels to the infamous Boko Haram terrorism prevalent in the Northeastern region.
“The distressing echoes of Boko Haram’s terrorism are now becoming distressingly audible in the tragic events unfolding in the Southeast,” added Adodo.
The coalition criticized the enforced “Sit-at-Home” directive imposed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), contending that it has significantly damaged the economic landscape of the Southeast. They noted the closure of businesses and the avoidance of the region by investors and tourists.
In applauding the efforts of stakeholders working to bring an end to the directive, the coalition urged them to persevere until the zone is liberated from the influence of individuals operating under the guise of freedom advocates.
The coalition raised concerns regarding Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s recent announcement of an “Economic Empowerment Day” (EED), interpreting it as an implicit threat to the integrity of the Nigerian state.
They cautioned that such activities have the potential to escalate into a fresh security crisis in the region, with Adodo underscoring, “This veiled hostility must be curtailed early on before the seeds of discord can take root.”
The coalition extended appreciation to the Federal Government for adhering to due process in handling the matter concerning Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Nevertheless, they expressed disappointment at reports of Kanu’s visitors allegedly conveying messages that diverge from established governmental authority.
Urging the government to expedite actions to address Nnamdi Kanu’s situation, the coalition emphasized the pressing need to confront the security issues within the Southeast.
The coalition concluded by reiterating their unwavering dedication to a peaceful, united, and progressive Nigeria. They further pledged to communicate their stances to international bodies, including the United Nations.
Representatives from various other civil society groups and activists were present at the press conference, including Prince Danesi Momoh, who leads the “Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative”; Mazi Chukwudi Oluoha of the “Southeast Peace and Development Initiative”; Zainab Sule, the Northcentral Representative of “Rising-Up for a United Nigeria”; Comrade Stephen Eriba, President of “Independent Public Service Accountability Watch”; Mallam Abdulkadir Shuaibu, President of the “Arewa Youth Patriotic Front”; Barrister Aniekeme Obot, the Southsouth Representative of “Rising-Up for a United Nigeria”; and Comrade Victory Ameh, Representative of the “Guardians of Democracy and Development.”