The Nigerian government has reacted to the ongoing demonstration at the United Nations headquarters in New York, United States of America, by a coalition of separatist organizations.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, members of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) stormed the United Nations offices in New York, pressing international leaders to help Nigeria hold a referendum.
Southerners and Middle Belt people are represented in the coalition of self-determination agitators led by Ilana Omo Oodua, the Lower Niger Congress, and the Middle Belt Movement, respectively, by Prof Banji Akintoye, Tony Nnadi, and Yusuf Turaki.
The Buhari Presidency, on the other hand, has targeted Yoruba Nation agitators, claiming that they can’t be taken seriously as long as they’re linked to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which it accuses of committing several atrocities.
A statement signed by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu on Wednesday said, “For Nigerian diaspora groups to use the world’s largest platform – the United Nations General Assembly – to garner attention to their causes is not unexpected. It was, however shocking, to see ‘Yoruba Nation’ advocates yesterday 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. It regularly murders security services and innocent civilians, with a significant uptick of violent attacks this year. And it is currently attempting to hold Nigerian states hostage with orders to stay at home under threat of terror.
“Without doubt, Nigerians and the entire world will judge Yoruba Nation by the company it keeps. No one can take seriously this organisation if it continues its IPOB association. When their allies systematically trample human rights, it raises sober questions about their claims to uphold the values of the UN.
“The cooperation is a worrying development, once parsed with Yoruba Nation’s increasingly violent rallies in Nigeria. Actions and associations speak louder than words. Yoruba Nation’s talk of human rights promotion must therefore be ignored.
“Meanwhile, the Nigerian government will continue its work at the UN- to fight against corruption and illicit financial flows, and international cooperation. If we want to see stolen funds returned to their rightful home in Nigeria, the government must continue to campaign for and coordinate global action on asset recovery.
“The government will remain the leading regional actor in the fight against global terror – particularly against threats emanating from the Sahel. Through the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps programme, the country also shares technical expertise with countries from the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific. At the same time, the administration is implementing a programme of environmental sustainability to combat developments which destroys Nigerian communities in vulnerable regions.”
“Only through the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development can we secure a prosperous future for Nigeria. As the largest country in Africa, the government takes seriously its leadership role and will continue to strive for continental unity, cooperation, and shared prosperity.”
“Our expectation is therefore for the media to work with the government to focus attention on the core issues the President, the leader of the country has on his programme.”