Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has joined the Nigerian Senate in appealing to the Federal Government to extradite Simon Ekpa, a Finland-based factional leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to Nigeria for prosecution.
The governor stated this at Government House in Owerri during a familiarisation visit by the new General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, H. T. Dada.
“It is indeed my hope that working with other security agencies the Nigerian Army would address the issue of insecurity, kidnapping, banditry, murder and other sorts of criminalities in the South-east zone.
“What is topmost on our list in this sit-at-home order from one man called Simon Ekpa from somewhere in Finland? It is our hope that the security agencies, working with the Federal Government, will be able to bring Simon Ekpa back to Nigeria to also sit at home with us,” the governor said.
A video clip of the meeting was posted on Twitter on Saturday.
Mr Uzodinma’s appeal came after Nnamdi Kanu, the detained IPOB leader, who the federal government is prosecuting on terrorism charges, issued a letter directing Mr Ekpa to desist from issuing sit-at-home orders in the South-east region.
Mr Kanu, in a handwritten letter addressed to Mr Ekpa, directed him to make a public announcement acknowledging receipt of the letter, PREMIUM TIMES reported.
Mr Ekpa, one of Mr Kanu’s lieutenants, claimed to have taken over the leadership of the outlawed group following Mr Kanu’s incarceration.
IPOB, which is agitating for the creation of a sovereign state for Biafra, introduced about two years ago a sit-at-home every Monday across the five South-east states to pressure the federal government to release Mr Kanu.
The group’s deployment of force, kidnappings and killings to enforce compliance has paralysed the economy of the states as shops, markets, and other business activities remained closed whenever the order is enforced.
Governor Uzodinma told the visiting GOC to do all within his power to restore peace in the region, adding that the “people deserve to enjoy their rights and privileges in going about their legitimate engagements without fear, harassment and cruel attacks, especially by non-state actors.”
Speaking earlier, Mr Dada, a major general, told the governor that he had been mandated by the chief of army staff to restore peace in the region and solicited support from the people of the region.
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