There is tension at the Nigerian House in New York, United States after two groups of Nigerians in the diaspora clashed in a protest as the President arrived.
President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in New York for the high-level meetings of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The Nigerian President will address the high-level session of the General Assembly on Friday, September 24, when he would speak on the theme of the conference and other global issues.
However, drama ensued on Monday when two groups of Nigerian protesters in the diaspora clashed as the President arrived.
The groups converged at the Nigerian House on 42nd Street, 2nd Avenue, with opposing views about the conditions in Nigeria and its unity.
The first group, led by Emmanuel Duara, the group, named ‘One Nigeria Group,’ expressed their support for President Buhari and the concept of unity in diversity.
Duara, who spoke to reporters said: “We are the biggest country in Africa and the biggest black country in the world. Whatever is going on among tribes in Nigeria, let us sit down and settle it.”
From pictures and videos shared online, the group members waved the Nigerian flag, wore white T-shirts, and displayed banners announcing their commitment to one Nigeria.
The group members carried placards on which was written, “Stronger together”, “Unity in diversity”, “Genocide in Eastern Nigeria plain propaganda”, “Nigerians want national unity, not secession”, “Nigerian Christians not targets of genocide or ethnic cleansing”.
They were, however, opposed by some anti-Buhari protesters who had been organising protests for days calling for a referendum to determine the fate of the country.
The protesters who are calling for self-determination alleged that the members of the One Nigeria Group were “fake” Nigerians hired to carry the flags and take pictures.
One of the leaders of the counter group, Foluso Aruleba, highlighted the various problems confronting Nigeria as a nation, asserting that there can be no peace without justice. She regretted that the Buhari administration had continued to borrow money among the declining value of the naira.
Aruleba, who said she was speaking for all the indigenous people of Nigeria, said: “During Jonathan’s administration, Buhari invited Fulanis from West Africa. Now, the thing has backfired and they are killing more people in the North.”
She demanded a referendum, saying that United Nations should go back to the drawing board, saying that the 17th sustainable development goals are global goals and Nigeria could not be isolated.
She also alleged that plans were on to invade Yorubaland, which she stated would not be acceptable.
The 76th session of the General Assembly began on September 14 and will end on September 27.
Members of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) have continuously held a protest at a venue opposite the United Nations headquarters in New York, United States since September 14.
The coalition of agitators for self-determination consists of southerners and middle-belt people, under Ilana Omo Oodua, Lower Niger Congress and the Middle Belt Movement, led by Prof Banji Akintoye, Tony Nnadi and Yusuf Turaki respectively.
In photos obtained by SaharaReporters, they took to some streets to drive home their demand for a referendum so as to actualise their dream of having Nigeria broken into separate nations.
The group had earlier stated that it would hold a protest at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.