In a move that has sparked controversy and concern, Simon Ekpa, self-proclaimed disciple of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has declared a two-day total lockdown in the Southeast states of Nigeria.
The lockdown, which is set to begin on the 23rd and 24th of January 2023 in protest against the detention of the IPOB leader. Ekpa made this known in a tweet on Monday. He tweeted:
“Based on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s current health condition, the Court of Appeal judgment discharging him, Umuahia court judgement and Gov Soludo’s recent call for his release, we are giving the FGN between now and 22nd of January 2023 to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“Failure to do that, the entire land of Biafra will be locked down on 23rd and 24th of January 2023 in protest.”
Following a five-day sit-at-home order declared by Simon Ekpa in December 2022, which resulted in the killing of some residents in the Southeast region of Nigeria, thousands of Nigerians called for his arrest. The petitioners urged the Finnish government, Nigerian government, and the European Union to apprehend Simon Ekpa, the mastermind behind the sit-at-home order.
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It is worth noting that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since June 2021, when he was apprehended in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria to face trial for treasonable felony and terrorism charges.
On October 13, 2022, a three-man panel of Court of Appeal judges in their unanimous decision ruled that Kanu’s rendition from Kenya was illegal. The court also discharged and acquitted Kanu of all the charges and ordered his immediate and unconditional release from detention.
Also, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Working Group in its report on July 20, 2022 described the IPOB leader’s extraordinary rendition from Kenya in June 2021 as “illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional extradition”. It also called for his immediate release and compensation by the Nigerian and Kenyan governments for the way he was treated.
In the document, the body also indicted both Nigeria and Kenya for Kanu’s abduction and rendition. Despite the call by the UN Working Group and court judgement, the Nigerian government has failed to release the IPOB leader.