Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said that 2023 elections must hold in the southeast at all costs.
This is coming on the heels of backdrop of threats by self-acclaimed IPOB factional leader, Simon Ekpa.
Ekpa who is based in Finland have risen tension in the region as elections are just days away.
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According to Ekpa, elections won’t be allowed to hold in Southeast as he vowed to unleash mayhem on anyone who dared to come out on the election day.
However, the Igbo apex organisation has called on the federal government to expedite action in its plan to arrest Ekpa following his threats.
Ohanaeze in a statement issued by its Secretary-General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro on Thursday said urgent action must be taken to stop Ekpa from carrying out his threats.
Isiguzoro declared that Ekpa’s case had gone beyond dialogue, adding that the federal government would not take things lightly with him and the Finland governments if something drastic was not done during the polls.
Ohanaeze scribe submitted that Ndigbo would collaborate with other Nigerians to apprehend and hand over to security agencies those enforcing the Ekpa’s sit-at-home from the 23rd to 28th of February 2023 in an attempt to disrupt the 2023 Presidential elections which are to hold on February 25.
“One Simon Ifeanyi Njoku Ekpa has by his utterances and actions ascended the height of a global terrorist and sponsor of terrorism in Nigeria and particularly in the South-East.
“Simon Ekpa is liable for the violence, and killing of Igbos and Nigerians in the Eastern part of the country and should be arraigned by the Finnish Government and the Nigerian government without further delay before he escapes from Finland.
“Ndigbo have assembled all documents to prove that Simon Ekpa is sponsoring the killing of the Igbo and other Nigerians, especially the security agents, burning of public properties (INEC and court buildings), as well as disruption of economic and social activities in the South-East for the last six months.
“Elections must be held in the South-East as Simon Ekpa is working with Igbo adversaries to suppressing Igbo votes.
“This must be resisted; local vigilantes and community-based security outfits should join hands in the efforts to stamp out terrorism and banditry in the South-East.”
Speaking further, the Igbo apex group appealed to the federal government “To mount fierce pressure on the Finnish Government to surrender Simon Ekpa to face prosecution in Nigeria.
“Finnish authorities should stop shielding a global terrorist who is responsible for the killing over of 2000 Nigerians in the South-East.
“In our commitment to ensure that Ekpa is arrested, the $50,000 bounty on him has been increased to 100,000 dollars for anyone in Finland and Europe who has useful information on his new location.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government of Nigeria concerned by Ekpa’s latest threat, met with the ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen, as it seeks ways to stop further carnage in the South-East region.
At the meeting with Pylvanainen, Nigeria’s foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, represented by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, was reported to have expressed displeasure over the orders given by Ekpa to his teeming followers who consequently embarked on killings, maiming, burning and other destructive activities.
The Nigerian Government said Ekpa’s action was fast becoming a threat to the forthcoming 2023 election, and that the FG would not take it lightly with him and the Finland governments if something drastic was not done.
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