The factional leader of the Nigerian proscribed separatist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Simon Ekpa, was arrested on Thursday, according to a report by BBC Igbo.
The report quoted a journalist with Finland national news agency Helsingin Sanomat, Matilta Jokinen, who said Ekpa is in the custody of security operatives.
Jokinen said she went to Ekpa’s house to interview him and saw security officers at Ekpa’s home on arrival.
The journalist told BBC Igbo the police did not disclose the reason for arresting Ekpa.
“I went to interview him this morning. When I reached his house and knocked, the police told me that I could not interview him for work as they and the person I came to interview was Siomn Ekpa is in their hands.”
Ekpa’s arrest comes days after the Nigerian government filed a complaint with Finland authorities over offensive messages shared on social media.
The factional IPOB leader has repeatedly declared sit-at-home orders across the South-east, insisting that there would be no election in the region in 2023.
The elections are scheduled to begin with the presidential poll on Saturday, February 25 while the governorship and state house of Assembly’s election is scheduled for Saturday, 11 March.
Ekpa recently declared a sit-at-home from 23 to 28 February apparently to stop the conduct of the 2023 general elections in the region.
He said the sit-at-home orders and stopping the 2023 elections in the region would help his faction of the IPOB to achieve the sovereign state of Biafra in Southeast and Southsouth parts of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs Geoffrey Onyeama last week met with the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria Leena Pylvanainen to discuss the threats by the factional IPOB leader.
Onyeama, at the meeting, expressed displeasure over the recent sit-at-home orders given by Ekpa to his teeming followers, who he said, consequently embarked on killings, maiming, burning, and other destructive activities.
He said Ekpa’s action was fast becoming a threat to the forthcoming election, and that the Nigerian government would not take it lightly with him and the Finland government if nothing drastic was done to curtail his threats