Maj. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff, has slammed Simon Ekpa, the self-proclaimed Nnamdi Kanu’s disciple and Prime Minister of Biafra Republic Government in Exile (BRGIE).
He described Ekpa as a notorious terrorist hiding in Finland with his family.
Lagbaja accused Finland-based Ekpa of fomenting trouble in Nigeria and ordering people to shut down their businesses and livelihoods.null
Describing the 14-day sit-at-home declared by Ekpa as illegal, Lagbaja directed the troops of the Nigerian army to seize control of areas where the Indigenous People of Biafra enforce their sit-at-home order throughout the Southast states.
Ekpa on Tuesday declared a 14-day sit-at-home in Southeast Nigeria, to commence from July 31 and end on August 14.
“Saturday, August 5, 2023 and Sunday, August 6, 2023, all Biafran markets will open respectively.
“Monday, August 7, 2023 to Friday, August 11, 2023, there will be total lockdown in Biafraland; Saturday, August 12, 2023 and Sunday, August 13, 2023 (Break), all Biafran markets will open; Monday, August 14, 2023, there will be lockdown in Biafraland.
“We hereby call on all market leaders to strictly adhere to this order and treat it with utmost seriousness,” he said.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Ekpa asked Biafrans in Lagos to get ready to demand the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by shutting down the state.
He said, “We are coming to Lagos after the two-week-long sit-at-home. It is time to show your solidarity to this call for justice. Biafrans in Lagos will lockdown.”
However, following the fresh sit-at-home order, the Chief of Army Staff has declared the announcement unlawful.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu told The PUNCH in an interview that such a directive would not be condoned.
He added that the troops of the 82 Division had been given the order to work with other security agencies to ensure citizens go about their business freely.
Onyema said, “The renewed threat by IPOB to compel the people in southeastern Nigeria to sit at home is not only appalling but a violation of the fundamental rights of southeastern Nigerians and, therefore, unlawful. This will never be condoned.
“The Chief of Army Staff has handed down clear directives to the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army operating in synergy with other security agencies to ensure robust patrols to dominate all flashpoints and emplace measures to ensure citizens are free to go about their legitimate businesses.
“Strangely, Simon Ekpa, a notorious terrorist and self-acclaimed leader of IPOB, is in Finland making a living for himself and his family, but ordering the people to shut down their means of livelihood by sitting at home.”
The army spokesman called on Nigerians in the Southeast region to disregard the sit-at-home order, urging them to support security forces to defeat IPOB.
Onyema said, “We implore the good and enterprising people of the Southeast to shun all forms of cajoling or threats aimed at unlawfully compelling them to be reclusive by sitting at home.
“We urge them to join forces with the security operatives to resist this illegality perpetrated by IPOB.”
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