The ongoing “Million-Man Freedom March” opposite the United Nations Headquarters in New York, organised by the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS), has nothing to do with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), according to NINAS chairman, Prof Banji Akintoye.
Prof Akintoye made the clarification in his response to the allegation by the Nigerian Presidency that described the march as an alliance between agitators for self-determination in Yorubaland in the South West, and the IPOB in the South East of Nigeria.
The response was contained in a statement issued by Akintoye through his Communications Manager, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, and made available to reporters on Thursday.
The statement reads: ‘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) (for Yorubaland), Lower Niger Congress (LNC) (for South-East and South-South), and Middle-Belt Rennaissance Movement (MBRM) (for the Middle Belt) 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 unravelled 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 (United Nations General Assembly holding its 11-day 76th session from September 14th to 24th, 2021), we advise President Muhammadu Buhari to stop mortgaging our future through the 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.’
Akintoye stated that the peaceful demonstration has succeeded in exposing to the world, the perceived ongoing genocide and fraud being perpetrated by the Fulani-controlled Nigerian government against the peoples of the South and Middle Belt regions of the country, through the imposed 1999 Constitution.
The renowned historian said rather than losing sleep and temper over the march, ‘the Nigerian government should, without further delay, declare Miyyetii Allah a terrorist organisation as being demanded by NINAS, saying “the real terrorists in Nigeria are operating under Miyyetii Allah.
‘Members of Miyyetii Allah have killed scores and thousands of the people in the South and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria. They have invaded hundreds of towns and villages, brandishing dangerous weapons to kill, maim and rape our people. The Nigerian government has done nothing to curtail these marauders.
‘Rather than listen to the yearnings and aspirations of our people, the (President Muhammadu) 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.
‘The genocide and crimes against humanity, being committed by Miyyetii Allah means nothing to the Nigerian Presidency. The presidency has declared our governors in the South persona non grata for enacting laws to checkmate the murderous activities of Miyyetii Allah.
‘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 ammunition of the presidency cannot touch them.
‘Our appeal to the government, therefore, is to address the issues raised on December 16, 2020, Constitution Force Majure declared by NINAS. This appeal is necessary so that Indigenous Nationalities in NINAS territories can peacefully negotiate for what they want without further delay.
‘Our demand remains conduct of a referendum so that the Indigenous people of the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria can lawfully and legally decide on their nationhood and sovereignty. We demand the immediate abolition of the imposed 1999 Constitution.
‘We demand an end to the genocide, being perpetrated by Miyyetii Allah against our people. Miyyetii Allah is a terrorist group and it should be declared such by the United Nations. The invasion of our land in the name of grazing is enough. What is happening in our territories today is state-sponsored terrorism and land grabbing, not cow grazing.’