Leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has accused the Nigerian government of sponsoring Simon Ekpa to cause unrest in Nigeria’s south-east
Mr Ekpa is a Nigerian-Finnish citizen who has been linked to the growing insecurity in the region.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to the IPOB leader, disclosed this in a statement on Monday, which was sent to PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Ejiofor said Mr Kanu made the remark when the IPOB leader’s legal team visited him at the facility of the State Security Service (SSS), Abuja, on Monday, where he is being held.
Mr Kanu’s allegation came days after the IPOB leader, through Aloy Ejimakor, his special counsel, ordered Mr Ekpa to stop issuing sit-at-home orders in the region.
“Today’s (Monday) visit was to brief Onyendu (Kanu) on pertinent developments with respect to his specific written order calling off senseless sit-at-home, hitherto being enforced by enemies of our people,” Mr Ejiofor said in the statement.
The lawyer said Mr Kanu has asked residents of the South-east to note that whoever continues to observe the cancelled sit-at-home order was working for the Nigerian government to destroy the region.
“Onyendu was very emphatic that Simon Ekpa is procured and fully bankrolled by the Nigerian government for the purpose of causing unrest in our region,” he said.
The IPOB leader, Mr Ejiofor said, stressed that no freedom fighter anywhere in the world would impose “economic hardship and unimaginable terror” on his people as a “style” of liberating them.
Mr Kanu added that the “evil activities” of those who claim to be freedom fighters also extend “to perpetration of all forms of violent crimes in our region, which include but are not limited to kidnapping and killings.”
IPOB, in August 2021, introduced a sit-at-home order every Monday across the South-east to pressure the Nigerian government to release its detained leader, Mr Kanu, who is standing trial for alleged terrorism at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The separatist group later suspended the order, in preference for it to be implemented only on days Mr Kanu appears in court.
But despite its suspension, residents of the five South-east states – Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia and Anambra — have been observing the Monday sit-at-home order, primarily out of fear.
Aside from millions of naira reportedly lost because of the sit-at-home in the South-east, hundreds of people have been killed and others injured by gunmen who often enforce the order in the region.
IPOB had repeatedly disowned the Monday sit-at-home across the region, saying those who still enforce it were criminals attempting to blackmail the separatist group.
A leader of Autopilot, a faction of the IPOB, Mr Ekpa, has continued to declare the sit-at-home in the region, despite being suspended by the IPOB faction led by Mr Kanu.
Several Igbo leaders, including governors from the South-east, have repeatedly called for an end to the civil order in the region.
After Mr Ejimakor made a letter from Mr Kanu public which contained the order to stop the civil action, Mr Ekpa described it as “fake,” claiming the SSS authorities wrote it and not the IPOB leader.
He said attributing the letter to Mr Kanu was a “joke” and an “insult” and maintained that the sit-at-home would go on until Mr Kanu speaks to him directly in Finland, a North European country, where he (Ekpa) resides.
IPOB is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra, which it wants carved out from the South-east and some parts of South-south Nigeria.
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