Simon Ekpa, a Nigerian rebel residing in Lahti, Finland, has established himself as an immigration law specialist in Finland. Nonetheless, Ekpa’s law firm appears to have encountered difficulties. Earlier this February, Ekpa, a local politician in Lahti, gained public attention in Finland when he was alleged to be leading an armed rebellion in Nigeria.
On Thursday, the police briefly detained him as a suspect in a fundraising crime, but Ekpa refused to comment on the suspected offense to Yle the following day. Ekpa, who speaks Finnish fluently, claims on his social media pages to have worked in the legal sector in Finland since 2009, initially in a legal office in Lahti and later through his own firm, Ekpa & Co. Ekpa describes himself as an expert in foreigner law on his company’s website, but he does not represent clients in court and is not a lawyer himself. He told Yle on the phone on Friday that he has served as a legal advisor.
On his website, Ekpa uses the title LL.M Master of Laws, which is typically a 1-2 year legal degree acquired at a foreign university, according to the Juristiliitto. However, it is not equivalent to a Finnish master’s degree in law. Ekpa claims to have obtained his degree from the Welsh University of Aberystwyth on his website and social media, but Yle was unable to locate any information about the university degrees.
Ekpa’s own company, Ekpa & Co Oy, has experienced payment problems and was delisted from the withholding tax register last year. The company faced tax debts among other issues. Due to the company’s lack of funds, the foreclosure was temporarily halted in May. Nevertheless, Ekpa informed Yle that the firm is still operational, with a turnover of roughly 80,000 euros in 2021.
It is not compulsory to be registered in the advance collection register, and the tax administration may remove a company if it ceases operations. Alternatively, a company may request its deletion.
Ekpa is a member of the coalition and serves as a public transport board member for the Lahti region.