The Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) has disclosed that it has no partnership with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The NINAS, which refers to itself as a “multi-ethnic alliance of the indigenous peoples of the Middle Belt (part of the former Northern Region), Ilana Omo Oodua (the former Western Region), and the Lower Niger (Former Eastern & Mid-Western Regions)”, had recently staged a march at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, US.
Reacting to the UN protest, the presidency had stated that the Yoruba nation agitators may not be taken seriously as a result of its association with IPOB.
But the chairman of NINAS, Banji Akintoye via a statement on Thursday said IPOB flags seen at the march in New York were planted by agents of the government.
“For the record, we wish to state very expressly, and with all due respect to whatever they represent, that NINAS and its affiliate organisations – Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), Lower Niger Congress (LNC) and Middle-Belt Rennaissance Movement (MBRM) – have nothing whatsoever to do with IPOB,” the statement reads.
“We also want to put it on record that IPOB is not in any way involved in the ongoing March in New York. The IPOB Banner you saw was obviously planted by agents of the Nigerian Government masquerading as members of NINAS for photoshoots which we have since unraveled and checkmated.
“We say to the Presidency that the unintelligent attempt to cause frictions and divisions between the Yoruba people in the West and the Igbo people in the East is dead on arrival. We shall continue to collaborate peacefully, for the salvation of our people.
“Our appeal to the Government, therefore, is to address the issues raised in the December 16 2020 Constitution Force Majure declared by NINAS. This appeal is necessary so that Indigenous Nationalities in NINAS Territories can peacefully negotiate for what they want without further delay.
“Our demand remains conduct of a referendum so that the Indigenous people of the South and Middle-Belt of Nigeria can lawfully and legally decide on their nationhood and sovereignty. We demand for the immediate abolition of the imposed 1999 Constitution.
“Instead of planting IPOB banners in our March venue with the hope of using it to paint our struggle black before the world leaders on 24th September that he wants to address UNGA, we advise President Muhammad Buhari to stop mortgaging our future through borrowing of endless loans.”
Akintoye added that the group will resume protest on September 24 at the UN headquarters.