Three Nigerian groups will hold protests on Friday at the United Nations headquarters in New York as Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari addresses the UN General Assembly.
While two of the groups are protesting the failures of the Buhari administration, the third group will demonstrate in support of the President, Punch reports.
One of the groups, the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, is headed by Yoruba Historian, Prof Banji Akintoye.
Also, activists under the aegis of TakeItBack Movement have mobilised for a protest at UN headquarters in New York with demands.
Meanwhile, a third group 'One Nigeria Group,’ will express their support for President Buhari while promoting the concept of unity in diversity.
In a statement on Thursday, Akintoye explained that NINAS’ protest tagged, ‘Million-Man Freedom March,’ is to show the world “the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari-led government of Nigeria.”
He also said the agitators “are demanding the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood”.
The renowned historian accused the Nigerian government of sponsoring the counter-protest at UN headquarters, alleging that black foreigners living in the United States of America were “hired at $500 per head.”
He added: “Irrespective of the material and financial superiorities of these Lions, there’s no way they can defeat United Foxes in a democracy.
“The Friday Grand March in New York shall be historic; hence, the Nigerian government is jittery. The ring leader of government officials and a top Lagos journalist are now in New York to start hiring black people who will pretend as Nigerians to stage a pro-Buhari and One Nigeria protest to counter NINAS.
“But we refuse to be rattled. We shall not be intimidated. No oppressor has ever triumphed against the collective will of the people. The people are the government and power belongs to the people. The people make the constitution.”
TakeitBack Movement’s Global Director of Mobilisation, Gbola Owoborode, listed four demands for the activists’ protest, among which were that the leader of Independent People of Biafra and Yoruba Nation activists, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, should be freed.
He said, “The regime should also free Sowore, unconditionally and drop all charges, of which he has been falsely accused.
“We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Nnamdi Kanu, Igboho and the over 300 #endSARS activists still under illegal detention, as well as an end to terrorism, kidnappings. and banditry that has completely ravaged the entire country.
“The resignation of the Buhari regime that is incompetent, lawless, despotic, nepotistic and corrupt. It has failed to guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerians which is their primary responsibility as a government. The Buhari Junta must go!”
On September 14, the members of NINAS started a planned protest in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the United States.
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.
The protest had continued since then but it was intensified on Monday following the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari to the US.
SaharaReporters had also reported that there was tension at the Nigerian House in New York, the United States after two groups of Nigerians in the diaspora clashed in a protest 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.
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.
The 76th session of the General Assembly began on September 14 and would end on September 27.