NIGERIAN self-determination groups have finalised plans to hold a million man march in New York later this month to coincide with the holding of the United Nations General Assembly Session between September 14 and 24.
Tagged the Million Man Freedom March, the demonstration is being put together by the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (Ninas), which is protesting the currently centrist and unitary state of Nigeria. With President Muhammadu Buhari due to be in New York for the meeting, the demonstrators are hoping to gain maximum international exposure from the event.
Ninas chairman, Professor Banji Akintoye, said the protest was meant to show to the world the sponsored genocide being perpetrated by murderous herdsmen in the name of grazing in the south and Middle Belt of Nigeria. He pointed out that Ninas is the umbrella body for self-determination groups in the south and Middle Belt of Nigeria.
In this coalition, Ilana Omo Oodua represents Yorubaland, the Lower Niger Congress represents the south-south and southeast and the Middle Belt Renaissance Movement representing the middle belt. Professor Akintoye said that through the rally, people would be showing to the world the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari administration.
He disclosed that the indigenous people within Ninas territories shall also be demanding a regional referendum to enable them decide on their nationhood, just as he described the 1999 constitution. Professor Akintoye said this should happen before the 2023 general elections.
According to Professor Akintoye, the New York march would be used as an opportunity to show the world how a tiny minority of people had hijacked the assets of the south and middle belt of Nigeria through the 1999 constitution which he said was enacted without the consent of the people. He then called on the indigenous people of the south and middle belt living in the US and Canada to come out in their large numbers to join the freedom march.
Professor Akintoye said: “We want an end to the ethno-religious killings in Nigeria. We want the government of Nigeria to stop funding terrorism against us, what is happening today in Nigeria is state-sponsored terrorism.
“The herdsmen you see in the south and middle belt today are different from the nomadic herdsmen we grew up to know. The current ones are imported members of Isis, Al-Quaeda, Iswap and Boko Haram, being masqueraded as bandits.”
He added that Ninas would also use the opportunity of the rally to demand that world leaders declare Miyetti Allah Cattles Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) a terrorist group, as it was dangerous to call it a trade union. According to Professor Akintoye, Macban, is a terrorist group being supported by the current Fulanised government of Nigeria with a mission to overrun the indigenous people and take over their ancestral lands for their Fulani people.