The Chairman of Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance (NINAS) for self-determination, Professor Adebanji Akintoye, has attacked the presidency for linking the group’s ongoing Million-Man Freedom March at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, the United States of America with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
First News had reported that NINAS staged a protest march on September 14 at the UN headquarters in New York, calling on the world body to intervene in the insecurity in Nigeria and to conduct a referendum in the country for self-determination.
The group plans to continue its one Million-Man Freedom March protest at the ongoing UN Assembly, where President Muhammadu Buhari is among world leaders expected to attend and deliver a speech.
Clearly worried by the action of NINAS, the Presidency, in a statement by Gaba Shehu, Buhari’s media aide said that it was shocking to see ‘Yoruba Nation’ “advocates yesterday (Tuesday) unequivocally throw their lot in with Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“IPOB is a designated terrorist organisation. It has now publicly revealed a 50,000 strong paramilitary organisation.”
Responding, Akintoye in a statement by his Communications Manager, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, accused the Nigerian government of planting an IPOB banner in the March venue “with the hope of using it to discredit the agitation for Self-Determination before World leaders”.
The statement read: “Rather than listen to the yearnings and aspirations of our people, the Buhari-led government has consistently waged war against people who attempt to checkmate the menace of Miyyetii Allah in the name of grazing of cows.
“Now, the government is attempting, unintelligently, to criminalise peaceful organisations like NINAS, Ilana Omo Oodua, Lower Niger Congress, and Middle-Belt Rennaissance Movement for embarking on a peaceful March outside the shores of Nigeria where the guns and ammunitions of the Presidency cannot touch them.
“For the record, we wish to state very expressly, and with all due respect to whatever they represent, that NINAS and its affiliate organisations – Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), Lower Niger Congress (LNC) and Middle-Belt Rennaissance Movement (MBRM) have nothing whatsoever to do with IPOB.
“We also want to put it on record that IPOB is not in any way involved in the ongoing March in New York. The IPOB banner you saw was obviously planted by agents of the Nigerian government masquerading as members of NINAS for photoshoots which we have since unraveled and checkmated.
“We say to the Presidency that the unintelligent attempt to cause frictions and divisions between the Yoruba people in the West and the Igbo people in the East is dead on arrival. We shall continue to collaborate, peacefully, for the salvation of our people.
“Instead of planting IPOB banners in our March venue with the hope of using it to paint our struggle black before the world leaders on 24th September that he wants to address UNGA, we advise President Muhammad Buhari to stop mortgaging our future through borrowing of endless loans.
“We shall resume the March on 24th September, Opposite the United Nations Headquarters to tell President Muhammad Buhari to his face that his Miyyetii Allah people are the enemy number one of the people of South and Middle-Belt of Nigeria, and they are the authentic Terrorists.”