Finnish government through the Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen has reacted to the purported letter ordering Nigerian-Finnish Biafran agitator, Simon Ekpa to call off Sit-at-home in South-East.
The letter which was purportedly signed by the Prime Minister, Sanna Mirella Marin, and dated February 15, 2023, warned that should Ekpa fail to withdraw the sit-at-home order which was imposed in protest against the continued detention of the IPOB leader in the custody of Nigeria’s secret police, Department of State Services (DSS), he would be charged with international terrorism.
The letter reads, “Following complaints by Nigerians in Finland and the Nigerian Government about your various pronouncements, using social media outlets, to impose sit-at-homes in Nigeria, you are hereby warned to desist from such nefarious activities which are capable of disturbing the peace and causing bloodshed.
“More worrying to the Finnish Government is your imposition of sit-at-homes on days slated for democratic elections in Nigeria. This is an act of international terrorism.
“You are hereby directed to call off your planned sit-at-homes by pronouncing through the same media outlets, you used for your illegal pronouncements, a reversal of your sit-at-home orders.
“Mr. Simon Ikpa, you have 48 hours to reverse course or you will be arrested and charged with international terrorism.”
“I have directed my Attorney General, Raija Toiviainen, to ensure that my directive is immediately carried out,” the Prime Minister warned.
Reacting to the letter which has gone viral, Ambassador Leena Pylvanainen described the letter as fake, adding that it did not originate from the government of Finland.
AbaCityBlog recalled that the Federal Government through the Nigeria Ministry of Foreign Affairs had summoned the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen, over activities of Simon Ekpa.
Reacting, Pylvanainen said 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 relations between Nigeria and Finland which are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations this year.
“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,” she said.
“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.
“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.
“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.
”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.
“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.
“Also, he’s a double citizen as far as I know of Nigeria and Finland, and he’s therefore as you rightly said, protected and safe and sound in his home in Finland. But we have to take his rights into consideration as well. So everything has to obviously be done according to Finnish legislation, which has very strong protections for freedom of speech.
“But of course, stipulations against hate speech and incitement to violence for us, the situation is really of concern on three accounts, even you could say it is of concern. Most of all, of course, on the ground in the Southeast, but also what we have seen over the recent weeks.”