The Presidency said yesterday that the Yoruba Nation’s talk of human rights promotion must be ignored because of its association with the Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB.

The Presidency took a swipe at the Yoruba Nation activists for joining IPOB in protesting at the United Nations, ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s participation in the General Assembly, saying they would be judged by the company they keep.

Yoruba Nation agitators and other separatist groups had on Tuesday arrived at the United Nations Headquarters in New York holding placards with different inscriptions in protest against what they term “the genocide being perpetrated by murderous herdsmen in the name of grazing in the South and Middle-Belt of Nigeria”.

The group of protesters led by the Chairman of Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, Professor Banji Akintoye, had earlier declared that a Million-Man Freedom March would hold opposite the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the United States of America from 14th to 24th September 2021.

The renowned historian said the people of the South and Middle-Belt want to show to the world the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari led government of Nigeria.

But the Presidency, in a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, reminded the Yoruba that IPOB was a designated terrorist organization by the Nigerian government with 50,000 strong paramilitary personnel.

Shehu added that the Presidency expects the media to work with the government to focus attention on the core issues President Buhari had on his programme.

The statement read:   “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.

“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 para-military organisation.

“It regularly murders security services [personnel] 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 co-operation 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 statement further stated that the Nigerian government will continue its work at the UN — to fight against corruption and illicit financial flows, and international cooperation.

It said: “If we want to see stolen funds returned to their rightful home in Nigeria, the government must continue to campaign for and coordinate global action on asset recovery.

“The government will remain the leading regional actor in the fight against global terror — particularly against threats emanating from the Sahel.

“Through the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps programme, the country also shares technical expertise with countries from the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific.

“At the same time, the administration is implementing a programme of environmental sustainability to combat developments which destroys Nigerian communities in vulnerable regions.

“Only through the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development can we secure a prosperous future for Nigeria.

“As the largest country in Africa, the government takes seriously its leadership role and will continue to strive for continental unity, cooperation, and shared prosperity.

“Our expectation is therefore for the media to work with the government to focus attention on the core issues the President, the leader of the country has on his programme”.

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