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50 years after the Nigerian Civil War (2)

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File: Colonel Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu, the leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra, stands in front of a Biafra flag as he addresses a press conference in Enugu, August 16, 1967.

THE Nigerian Civil War ended 50 years ago, but it continued to rage in the hearts of the power elite. General Yakubu Gowon (retd) declared “No Victor, No Vanquished” and also set up the Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation programme.

The programme was not properly implemented. Nigeria’s governance has been run in a manner that showed there were winners and losers of the war, thus sparking a renewed agitation for Biafra and other separatist demands. The injustice in the system has made it impossible for Nigeria to grow.

The South and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SLMBF, noted in their communique: “Nigeria is under worse irresponsibility of power than it was in 1967 when the first civil war occurred, with unbridled nepotism, sectionalism and undisguised marginalisation of major sections of the country in pursuit of (an ethnic) agenda, as we have seen an ethnic group dominating the heads of the three arms of government…suggestive of a rehash of the planning stage of the genocide against the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda when all the sectors relevant to the war economy were taken over for the purpose”.

Read also: A HARVEST OF PARADOXES: Missed lessons from the Nigeria Civil War – PAT UTOMI

Many critics question the Never Again theme of the 50th anniversary conference in Lagos because the conflicts we want to wish away are already with us and still loading.

The Boko Haram Islamic insurgency in the North East, the Bandits menace in the North West, the Fulani herdsmen invasions and massacres in the Middle Belt and South, militancy ferment in the Niger Delta and Biafra agitations in the South East and parts of South-South are already responding to the poor diversity management of government establishments.

The President has been unable to explain the rationale and national interest behind his recent Visa on Arrival policy which is bringing in strange foreigners in their thousands everyday even while our security is under siege by those the President himself described as “foreigners”.

Unless sanity is allowed to prevail as soon as possible, we see a near future that will be bleak. The resort to ethnic and regional militias will intensify in proportion with the armed sieges and violent demands for land for the settlement of ethnic foreigners in the country.

We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to cancel the Visa on Arrival policy, deport foreigners already illegally brought into our borders, reverse the severe sectional domination of his government and respect the Federal Character principle of the 1999 Constitution to give all Nigerians a sense of belonging.

Government should also implement the 2014 National Conference reports to restructure Nigeria and give power back to the people to reset her on the path of growth.

Read also: The angel of history and the ghost of Biafra

Social justice should be restored in government, and the human rights of the people must be upheld. Disaster awaits unless we change direction.


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