Self-determination agitation: Proposed UN protest divides Southern, Middle-Belt leaders

A proposed plan by the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, (NINAS), to hold a one million-man march at the United Nations in New York, United States during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 76th session next month, seems to have divided Southern and Middle-Belt groups.

NINAS spokesman, Maxwell Adeleye, had earlier in the week announced the proposed march, saying it will be led by NINAS’ chairman, Prof. Banji Akintoye among other leaders of the group.

The march, scheduled for between September 14 and 21 2021, is to protest the socio-political conditions in Nigeria. Among the demands of the group is a referendum on self-determination and abolition of the 1999 Constitution.

However, some of the groups have stated that they are not aware of any planned protest.

The Middle-Belt Forum (MBF) National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Dogo Isuwa, in a telephone interview, said that his group did not participate in any meeting where a decision to hold such a protest march was discussed or taken.

He also said the author of the statement in question is not known to the MBF, neither is the person or his principal the Yoruba leader.

He said: “If you look at it, the person that was talking is Chief Akintoye, not Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere. There are also no known leaders of Southern Nigeria mentioned in the statement. So, who did they meet? They did not mention the leader of the South-South, Chief Edwin Clark. They did not mention Afenifere leader, Chief Adebanjo, they did not mention Dr. Bitrus Pogn, president of MBF. The person that signed the statement also signed on behalf of Akintoye, who is not the leader of Afenifere. He is unknown to us, I’ve not heard of him before. If any such thing will take place, they would have called me. So, I can’t confirm if any such thing is going to take place”.

Recall that Ilana Omo Oodua had, in a statement titled: ‘Akintoye, others, lead NINAS one million March to United Nations General Assembly’, said other prominent leaders of Southern Nigeria, including Prof. Yusuf Turaki; NINAS Secretary-General, Tony Nnadi, among others will be part of the protest march.

Attempts to contact Afenifere last night were unsuccessful, as the group was said to be in a crucial meeting.

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