Nigerians in the US plan to organise protests as Buhari visits New York to address UN General Assembly

HUNDREDS of Nigerians in the US plan to hold large demonstrations protesting against the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari following his arrival in New York for the one week 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.


President Buhari was accompanied by governors Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara State, David Umahi of Ebonyi State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State. He was received at the JF Kennedy International Airport by the minister of foreign affairs Geoffrey Onyeama and the permanent representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Professor Tijjani Bande.


Upon his arrival, the president was welcomed at his lodge by the ministers of solid minerals Kayode Fayemi, education minister Adamu Adamu and trade and industry minister Okechukwu Enelamah. Others were the minister of state for environment Ibrahim Jibril,  budget and national planning minister Zainab Ahmed, presidential aides as well as members of staff of the Nigerian mission in the US.


However, demonstrators plan to stage a number of protests in objection to the government's crackdown in southeast Nigeria. Over the last week, the Nigerian Army has clashed with supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) in southeast Nigeria, resulting in calls for troops to be withdrawn.


Following the crackdown, the Nigerian military has designated Ipob a terrorist organisation, attracting condemnation from civil society groups who question its authority to do so. Earlier today, senate president Bukola Saraki condemned the classification, saying the military did not follow due process.


President Buhari has been listed as the eighth speaker of the 193 head of states expected to address the general debate of the General Assembly. Aside other high-level engagements, he will have a lunch meeting with US President Donald Trump, along with other world leaders.


It is expected that the president and members of his delegation will project Nigeria as a strong moral force and responsible member of the international community. Nigeria’s commitment to global peace, security and development will also be reaffirmed, with the need for increased international cooperation in the fight corruption.


Other priorities for the Nigerian delegation at 72nd UN General Assembly include strengthening human rights institutions, the rule of law, support for internally displaced persons arising from Boko Haram activities and recent flooding and mitigating the effects of climate change. Also, the Nigerian delegation is expected to also canvass the support of UN member states for the Buhari administration’s efforts towards combating illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development.