By Chioma Gabriel
As violent operations occasioned by unknown gunmen returned to the southeast, accusing fingers have been pointed at a disciple of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, a relatively unknown Simon Ekpa who posts issues of Biafra and signs off as: “Simon Ekpa, Nnamdi Kanu’s Disciple on Biafra Restoration”.
Indeed, he seems cast in the mold of the detained leader of IPOB but the group came out recently and disowned him.Simon Ekpa, a self-styled disciple of detained Nnamdi Kanu came into reckoning middle last year after the rendition of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
At Kanu’s incarceration Simon Ekpa, was announced as the lead broadcaster of Radio Biafra, appointed to replace Nnamdi Kanu in Radio Biafra.
But shortly after, IPOB announced Ekpa’s disengagement, citing his refusal to sign the rules of engagement of Radio Biafra.IPOB’s Spokesperson, Emma Powerful in a statement announced that: “The global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has observed with regrets that Mazi Simon Ekpa whom our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu gave an appointment and duty to start broadcasting on Radio Biafra doesn’t want to follow the laid down rules of operation in Radio Biafra.
“Mazi Simon Ekpa has refused to sign the rules of engagement and code of conduct guiding those broadcasting on Radio Biafra. We don’t understand why Mazi Ekpa would not like to follow the steps of other broadcasters on the platform that have since done the needful.
“IPOB is a big movement, and cannot just change the rules because of one individual as this may set a bad precedence. Mazi Simon Ekpa is hardworking Biafran whose immense contributions towards the restoration of Biafra are highly appreciated, but for not signing the code of conduct as a broadcaster on Radio Biafra, he may not continue to have the opportunity of broadcasting via the platform…”
Despite the announcement of his disengagement, Ekpa wouldn’t back down and ever since has been at loggerheads with some leaders of IPOB and keeps magnifying the activities of the secessionist group through his social media platforms.
Recently, after the inauguration of Prof Charles Soludo as Anambra governor, IPOB was to blame him for escalating violence in the southeast and enforcing the Monday sit-at-home which it claimed has been suspended.
IPOB in a statement blamed Simon Ekpa of being responsible for criminal activities in the Southeast.
According to the group, Ekpa and his gang known as “Autopilot” are responsible for the criminal activities in the region.
IPOB informed the Governor of Anambra State, Charles Soludo that the group was not responsible for the unrest in the region, stating that Ekpa and his gang are threatening residents of the region over their non-compliance with the Monday sit-at-home order.
IPOB said: “We the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to tell Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State that IPOB is not responsible for the criminality in Southeast, including Anambra State. The Governor should know that our enemies are committing atrocities using our name in their desperation to blackmail IPOB.
“It is a certain Simon Ekpa and his criminal gang called Autopilots that are carrying out threats against people’s lives because of non-existent Monday sit-at-home are criminals, kidnappers and robbers. These people disturbing the peace of our people are not IPOB members. They should be treated as criminals. IPOB doesn’t shed blood. We are a peaceful movement.
“We, therefore, warn these agents of darkness using the name of IPOB to enforce a non-existent sit-at-home to desist because if we lay hold on them. Why should such unpatriotic elements be inflicting pain on our people and dragging our image to the mud? IPOB remains a non-violent movement and our peaceful approach for Biafra restoration has not changed.
“Again it has become imperative to state that IPOB led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has nothing whatsoever to do with the recent attack on Nnewi South Headquarters/Secretariat.”
So, who is Simon Ekpa?
According to available records, Ekpa was born on March 21, 1985. He is a Finnish-Nigerian and ex-soldier.
He hails from Ohaukwu LGA, Ebonyi State. Aside from being a controversial agitator, he also identifies himself as a human rights activist, Finnish politician, lawyer and CEO of Ekpa & Coy, an organisation that provides legal services in immigration matters and asylum issues in Finland.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he holds a degree in Law from the Aberystwyth University, Wales. He also claims to be a doctoral student at the Academy of Business Management in Switzerland, also known as the Open University of Switzerland.The LinkedIn profile further states that he was a post-graduate student instructor at the Department of Law and Criminology.
Last October, he announced on Facebook that his candidacy for the regional government election under the National Coalition Party Kokoomus, a political party in Finland, has been approved.
Some online reports also profiled Ekpa as personnel of the Finland military reserve and he has also boasted that his military training is “world-class”.
His history Growing up
Ekpa represented Nigeria as a track and field athlete at different competitions, including winning a medal while adorning the colours of the country.
According to his profile on the official website of the World Athletics, he won a silver medal while representing Nigeria at the 2003 African Junior Athletics Championships in Cameroon.
He had also represented Nigeria in long jump, triple jump, 100 meters and 60 meters events in different competitions.
Last year, he vowed to return the medal he won for the country at the 2003 African Junior Athletics Championships.
“I am now putting everything I have to the disintegration of Nigeria and restoration of Biafra as that is the only way to move forward. Anything outside this, doesn’t bring my name,” he said.
“I will be returning every award given to me in Nigeria by Nigeria state or organisation within Nigeria acting in the capacity of representing Nigeria, including the medal given to me by Nigeria will be returned to the Ministry of Sports Abuja in the nearest future.”
He said in a Facebook post that leaders have failed the country. Ekpa said his action is in with his allegiance to the Indigenous People of Biafra.
In a recent tweet on his official Twitter handle, Ekpa lamented that those behind his suspension kept silent when he was announcing activities of the group prior to Kanu’s re-arrest.
The tweet read, “I will announce fundraising for ESN, announce protest, announce zoom meeting of IPOB when Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had his freedom.
“Almost all fundraising of IPOB families across the globe was announced by me, flyers posted by me. But in the absence of MNK, some ‘efulefu’ are talking trash.”Simon Ekpa also holds an LL.M (Master of Laws).
Simon Ekpa once called for the immediate resignation of all the South-East governors, urging them to hand over power to Biafrans or expect what happened in Afghanistan to happen in the South-East and Nigeria generally.
While adding that the spirit of Biafra has possessed all Biafrans, Ekpa said nobody will protect the land better than the Biafrans themselves, calling on the governors to immediately quit office.
According to Ekpa, the governors have lost the legitimacy and moral right to remain in office because of the failure they have allegedly recorded.
Now that Soludo has set up a Justice and Reconciliation Committee in Anambra with the hope it would spread across the southeast, hopefully, he would be able to restore normalcy in the region.