By Chukwudi Nweje and Seye Ojo, Ibadan
Prof. Banji Akintoye, chairman of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) has declared that there is no going back on the one-million-man freedom march scheduled to hold opposite the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the United States of America from September 14 and 24.
NINAS is the umbrella body for self-determination groups in the South and Middle-Belt of Nigeria, with Ilana Omo Oodua representing the Yorubaland, Lower Niger Congress representing the South South and South East, and Middle-Belt Rennaissance Movement representing the Middle Belt Region.
The protest is meant to demand United Nations supervised referendums in the Middle Belt and southern parts of Nigeria.
The group is also demanding an end to the genocide being perpetrated by suspected herdsmen in the name of grazing and to demand the rejection of the 1999 constitution.
A statement by Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, communications manager, said NINAS would demand a United Nations supervised referendum in the Middle Belt and southern Nigeria for the people to decide on what they want for their nationhood.
Akintoye, professor of History and second republic senator, said the people of the South and Middle-Belt would show to the world the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom and free speech as well as other criminalities, allegedly being aided by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of Nigeria.
He made it known that the indigenous people within the NINAS territories shall also demand conduct of a regional referendum so that the people can decide on their nationhood.
Akintoye, however, called on the indigenous people of the South and Middle-Belt, living in the United States of America and Canada to come out in their large numbers to join the Freedom March as it kicks-off today in solidarity with their ancestral land.
The NINAS, he said further, would asked the United Nations to declare as a terrorist organisation the Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) on the grounds that the majority of the herdsmen imported to the Southern Nigeria and Middle-Belt are members of international terrorists organisations, such as ISIS, AL-QUAEDA, ISWAP and Boko Haram Terrorists, that have been designated as bandits in Nigeria.
He also described the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as a fraud against the people of South and Middle-Belt, adding that the One Million-Man March would be used as an opportunity to expose to the world, “how a tiny minority people have hijacked the assets of the South and Middle-Belt of Nigeria through the 1999 Constitution, which was enacted without the consent of the people.
The statement read in part: “The land belongs to the people through the grace of Almighty God. We the Indigenous people of the South and Middle-Belt totally reject the illegitimate and imposed 1999 Nigerian Constitution that hijacks our Self-Determination and Assets. 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 a state-sponsored terriorism. 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 Terrorists being masqueraded as bandits.”