The presidency says the “cooperation” between Yoruba Nation agitators and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is “shocking” and a “worrying development”.
On Tuesday, agitators under the umbrella of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) protested at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, US.
NINAS 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)”.
In a statement on Wednesday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, said the Yoruba nation agitators may not be taken seriously as a result of its association with IPOB.
“For Nigerian diaspora groups to use the world’s largest platform – the United Nations General Assembly – to garner attention to their causes is not unexpected,” Shehu said.
“It was, however shocking, to see “Yoruba Nation” advocates yesterday unequivocally throw their lot in with Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). IPOB is a designated terrorist organisation. It has now publicly revealed a 50,000 strong paramilitary organisation.
“It regularly murders security services and innocent civilians, with a significant uptick of violent attacks this year. And it is currently attempting to hold Nigerian states hostage with orders to stay at home under threat of terror.
“Without doubt, Nigerians and the entire world will judge Yoruba Nation by the company it keeps. No one can take seriously this organisation if it continues its IPOB association.
“When their allies systematically trample human rights, it raises sober questions about their claims to uphold the values of the UN.
“The cooperation is a worrying development, once parsed with Yoruba Nation’s increasingly violent rallies in Nigeria.
“Actions and associations speak louder than words. Yoruba Nation’s talk of human rights promotion must therefore be ignored.”
The presidency also asked the media to work with the government and focus attention on core issues as President Muhammadu Buhari goes to the UN.