The streets adjoining the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Manhattan, New York will today get unusually busy more than it has been since Tuesday when the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, opened the 76th session of the General Assembly with a wake-up call on world leaders to tackle COVID-19 and climate change.
Leaders of South Africa, Iraq and Libya’s national unity government, yesterday, took the floor of the hallowed UN auditorium to give their addresses on the third day at the UNGA.
Today, President Muhammadu Buhari will be the second head of state to address the high-level session around 9:00 a.m. (2:00 p.m. local time), where he is expected to speak on the theme of the conference and other issues.
While he gets set for the big stage, a group of Nigerians, who are members of the self-determination agitators, under the auspices of Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS), have vowed to go ahead with the grand finale of its one-million-man freedom march at the UN headquarters today.
The indigenous people of the South and Middle-Belt of Nigeria had staged what it tagged ‘Million-Man Freedom March’ on September 14 and 15 opposite the UN headquarters to show before the world the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari-led government.
Also, a socio-political activist, Reno Omokri, has expressed readiness to storm New York with other activists to ‘harass’ President Buhari back to Nigeria. The former presidential aide made this known via a live video on his verified Facebook page yesterday.
Reno, who expressed sadness over the current security and economic situations of the country, said he is currently in the United States for the mission.
“Join me tomorrow at 12noon for #HarassBuhariOutOfNewYork 829 second Avenue New York. I paid heavily to come to New York just because of my love for Nigeria. I’m doing this because when the President came to power, the Nigerian debt was just N12 trillion but as I speak to you now, the country’s debt has multiplied by three, we now have N36 trillion.”
Chairman of NINAS, Prof. Banji Akintoye, equally accused the Federal Government of sponsoring a counter protest at the UN headquarters. He alleged that the Federal Government has started hiring black foreigners living in the United States with $500 per head to stage a pro-Buhari and One Nigeria March at the same venue of their NINAS mega protest.
Akintoye, in a statement, yesterday, by NINAS Director of Communications, Maxwell Adeleye, vowed that the will of the people would prevail no matter how the Federal Government tries to scuttle the NINAS grand finale march.
He said: “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.
“We will demonstrate and expose before the world the rape of our ancestral land and hijack of our assets and sovereignty by the Fulani-controlled Nigerian Government.”
Apart from Akintoye, the Secretary-General, Tony Nnadi, who represents the Lower Niger Congress and Prof. Yusuf Turaki, of the Middle-Belt Movement have jointly called on the UN to take urgent step to prevent Nigeria from descending into chaos.
NINAS, which described the 1999 Constitution as a fraud against the people of South and Middle-Belt, having been “enacted without the consent of the people,” demand the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood, among others.
NINAS is also demanding from the UN that a Fulani militia group masquerading as a trade union, Miyetti Allah, should be declared as a terrorist organisation, having openly taken responsibility for series of genocide in the South and Middle-Belt regions.
ALSO, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the world body and other democratic institutions to query the President on the role of his administration in the escalation of terrorism, rights violation, electoral malpractices, corruption, national division and economic ruin witnessed in Nigeria in the past six years.
This is as the party noted that the sanctity of human lives, freedom, respect for human rights, justice and rule of law; credible elections, democratic governance, promotion of peace, accountability in governance, economic development among others, which the General Assembly stands for, “have all been violated by the Buhari administration.”
In a statement issued by the opposition party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP enjoined the General Assembly not to lose sight of the reports by credible international organisations, “including the U.S. Department of State as well as Amnesty International (AI), on cases of arbitrary arrests and detention in dehumanising facilities, widespread extrajudicial killings, sudden disappearances of dissenting voices and disregard to rule of law under President Buhari’s watch.”
The party accused the Buhari-led administration of “brazen disobedience to court orders, use of security forces to suppress citizens, media gagging, and systemic injustices,” as profiled by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
It further charged the General Assembly to question President Buhari on “the failures and alleged compromises of our nation’s security coordination under his administration, leading to unabating mass killings, kidnapping, banditry, arson and marauding of communities across our nation, to the extent that Nigeria now ranks as the third country with the highest level of terrorism after Iran and Afghanistan.”
The statement continued: “The General Assembly is further called upon to take on President Buhari over his administration’s alleged provision of official cover for sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria, including those recently communicated to it by the United Arab Emirate, UAE, as well as a serving minister who was openly indicted as an apologist of terrorism.”
On abuse of human rights, the PDP urged the General Assembly to query President Buhari on “the killing of innocent and unarmed protesters in various parts of our country by security forces under his command, particularly the killing of our young ones during the EndSARS protest, in 2020,” even as it called on the body to interrogate President Buhari on “the erosion of constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech; the hounding of opposition and dissenting voices, clampdown on the media and suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.”