Our last post addressed how the media often fuels the misconceptions regarding INTERPOL. Today, we look to the case of Biafran Dissident Simon Ekpa and how misinformation on INTERPOL presented in journalistic accounts of his situation. 

Simon Ekpa

Simon Ekpa, a Biafran dissident residing in Finland, was arrested by Finnish Police after threatening to disrupt the forthcoming elections in Nigeria. As reported by Ripples Nigeria here, Mr. Ekpa is a self-proclaimed disciple of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. IPOB is a separatist group seeking the renewed declaration of Nigeria’s South-East  region as the Republic of Biafra.  Mr. Ekpa has allegedly achieved a history of inciting destruction through social media, including declaring sit-at-home orders, meaning people must remain in their homes for whatever amount of time demanded, threatening disobedience with death.

Finnish investigation and arrest

As explained by Premium Times here, according to an official statement shared by the Finnish embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpa was arrested as part of n investigation by Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation into a suspected money collection offense. 

Multiple early news reports such as those published here and here here inaccurately reported that Mr. Ekpa was arrested by INTERPOL when Finnish police were responsible for his apprehension. 

It is unclear why INTERPOL was reported to have arrested Mr. Ekpa, as INTERPOL does not make arrests; he resides in Finland; and the alleged crime was not committed internationally.

INTERPOL’s role in criminal cases

When INTERPOL is involved in a case, a member country’s NCB (National Central Bureau) will request a Red Notice in order to locate and return an individual to the requesting country when the wanted person is believed to be abroad.

When accepted, the Red Notice is circulated to all of INTERPOL’s member countries which gain access to an individual’s information. The Red Notice Subject, once located, is then provisionally arrested pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.