Kazeem Biriowo – Abuja
The Federal Government of Nigeria has met with Finnish Ambassadors as part of efforts to bring to book, and put an end to incitement of the Nigerian-Finnish lawyer and Biafra agitator, Simon Ekpa.
In his remarks at the meeting held in Abuja, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Zubairu Dada said Ekpa’s action is fast becoming a threat to the forthcoming election, which the Federal Government must not take lightly
He called on the Finnish Government to do everything possible within the purview of the law to stop him from inciting further violence.
Zubairu said while Ekpa is in the comfort of his house in Finland, he issues orders to his teeming followers who consequently embark on killings, maimings and burning and other destructive activities.
“The most disturbing aspect is the fact that he is living in the comfort of his home in your country while dishing out these very dangerous orders to his followers not to allow these elections to hold. And that is threatening the peace of the southeastern part of Nigeria.
“The sad thing is that this gentleman has a lot of followers out there. And the moment he issues these instructions, what happens is that you have destruction the very next day. They embark on killings, maimings and burning and you name it. And we believe this is not acceptable.
“We thought it was important for us to have this chat with you to let you know that, of course, he’s living in the comfort of his home there in Finland and we know that we have been in touch with your good self.
“We’ve had some time to ensure that we arrest this situation but it appears the situation is getting out of hand. And we’re saying enough is enough. We should let you know, in very strong terms that it’s high time you really mean and back Nigeria with the quest that something be done immediately because he threatens the forthcoming elections.
“Well, the conduct of peaceful elections in the south eastern parts of the country, and that is why we thought of the EU representative who, of course, has labored all these while and whose representatives are already on ground to monitor the elections.
“It’s important to get to know that I mean this These elections are being threatened by the actions of someone and that something needs to be done immediately, to address the situation. This in essence is why we thought it was important for us to have this discussion with you, so as to let you know our concerns and the displeasure of the Government of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria on this very unhealthy development,” Ambassador Zubairu noted.
The Minister thereafter played one of the audio tracks released by the Biafra agitator for the Finnish Ambassadors to further prove his points.
In the audio, Ekpa was heard ordering his followers to ensure that Biafra land is under lock at some stipulated dates and insisted that elections must not be allowed to hold.
In her reaction, the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen said the issue is such a serious concern to Finland and efforts are ongoing to address it.
However, she stated that while they are watching to see how this fits into the legal framework of Finland, the personality in question is a double citizen and there is a need to take his rights into consideration.
She described it as an irritant in the excellent relations between Nigeria and Finland which are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations this year. She added it has been 60 years of excellent cooperation bilaterally and on international fora and they can’t trade such for anything.
“Now we do have this irritant, as you call it on our bilateral agenda. And it is a topic on which we have been cooperating, our authorities have been cooperating, there have been contacts between the law enforcement agencies of Nigeria and Finland on this topic.
“We’ve had several discussions here in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which we do appreciate very much, because you said this is an issue of national concern to Nigeria nationally, but it is very much a concern for us as well.
“You mentioned all the work that the EU has been doing in assisting in strengthening the electoral system in monitoring the elections. Finland of course, as a member of the EU has been part and parcel of these efforts. We have our own long term observers on the ground at the moment. We are very much interested in the safe and secure conduct of these elections throughout the country.
“So we’re very much on the same side on this issue. This is something I want to make very, very clear. Finland condemns all violence and incitement to violence in all its forms. Political aims, of course, should be pursued through political means only. That is very clear.
”It stems from the fundamentals of our actions, it’s enshrined in our constitution, and we do really underline our support and the importance we see for these elections not only for Nigeria, but for the entire region. So we’re with you very much on that.
”Can we share very much the concerns regarding the security situation in the southeast? Yes, there are problems in other parts of the country as well. But this is an issue that we are directly concerned with. This is an issue we have been discussing, we share the concerns. We have discussed the matter and as I mentioned, our law enforcement agencies are in touch and are cooperating.
”I cannot go into detail on this cooperation but there is cooperation ongoing between the National Bureau of Investigation of Finland and relevant Nigerian authorities.
“Information has been shared, and we hope for more of that in order for all authorities to do their job and that is to investigate really what is going on and to see how this fits into the legal framework of Finland, because we are of course speaking of a Finnish citizen.”
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