Nigeria: Senate Charges FG to Seek Simon Ekpa’s Extradition
The Senate, on Wednesday, approved a prayer urging the federal government to collaborate with the Finnish Government to extradite and prosecute Simon Ekpa, a factional leader of Independent People’s of Biafra (IPOB), currently championing the sit-at-home orders in the South East part of Nigeria.
At the same time, the Senate rejected a prayer calling on the Federal Government to obey all court orders, which had granted bail to the substantive leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, including dismissing the political solution approach in handling Kanu’s case.
This came as the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has decried the activities of Ekpa and ex-Niger Delta militant, Asari Dokubo, saying they were perpetrating insecurity in the Southeast zone.
The Senate agreed to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs (when appointed) and relevant stakeholders to carry out thorough investigation into the crises in the South East as well as bring other sponsors of the act to book.
The red chamber condemned the “sit at home” in totality as well as the nefarious activities of Ekpa, who is the gang leader.
The resolution followed a motion jointly sponsored by all the Igbo senators and presented by Senator Osita Izunaso, representing Imo West Senatorial District.
The motion read: “Aware that thousands of Innocent lives have been lost since this action started, and properties worth a trillion have been destroyed, which has resulted in investors leaving the region.
“Further aware that the ‘sit-at-home’ civil disobedience actions in the South East has led to the disruption/destruction of economic activities. It has also led to immeasurable financial losses for businesses, workers, and the local economy.
“This is because, when people are forced to stay at home and businesses remain closed, productivity declines, and income is reduced, thereby affecting livelihoods and economic growth
“The ‘sit-at-home’ protests disrupts the education of students, leading to missed classes and delays in academic progress. Such prolonged disruptions have long-term effects on students’ learning outcomes and educational development.
“The Senate is disturbed that disruption of essential public services, such as healthcare, transportation, and waste disposal, continues to have severe impact during ‘sit-at-home’ protests.
“It adversely affects the well-being and safety of the general population living in the South East. The Senate is further disturbed that the ‘sit-at-home’ protests continue to lead to acts of violence and clashes with law enforcement agencies which has led to uncountable loss of lives of innocent people, security agents and the protesters.
“As this increases the potential for criminal elements to take advantage of the situation to engage in looting or other unlawful activities while the people stayed at home.
“The Senate is worried that if the activities of Simon Ekpa, who is issuing the illegal ‘sit at home’ orders is not checked, he may succeed in corrupting the minds of Nigerian youths and turn them against the government which is tantamount to treasonable felony.”
The Federal High Court, Abuja, had Tuesday, 28 2023, dismissed the bail request filed by Kanu. It was the second time in a row the court would turn down the bail request by the IPOB leader, facing seven terrorism-related charges.
Ruling on the latest bail application, the judge, Binta Nyako, held that Kanu’s second bail request amounts to an abuse of court process, after a similar application was rejected on May 18.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, on Wednesday, at Azumini, Ukwa East Local Government of Abia State, said the duo of Ekpa and Dokubo “are waging war against the Igbo nation.”
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo scribe said the pervasive sit-at-home has plunged the Igbo nation into “a very sad situation”, which was unnecessary for a people that had passed through a harrowing experience of war.
According to him, “It is painful to observe that we have groups both within the Southeast and beyond, in fact outside the shores of Nigeria that are waging war against the Igbo nation.
“Time has come to say enough is enough (because) the three years of pains of civil war and the pains of recovery are being shredded.”
Emuchay stated that Ekpa was engaging in mercantile activities that were not in the interest of IPOB or connected to the ongoing efforts for the release of Kanu.
On Dokubo, he expressed concern at a trending video showing an armed gang being trained by the ex-militant for unknown purposes, saying Ohanaeze was worried at the activities of an armed group very close to Igbo land, which was presently contending with insecurity.
Ohanaeze, therefore, called on the federal government “to investigate the activities of Asari Dokubo” and unravel the purpose for which he is training an armed group.