Some Igbo leaders and academia, on Tuesday, called on the Federal Government to quickly address the alleged marginalisation, injustice and others being meted the Igbo nation since the end of the Biafra civil war, arguing that it was against the national reintegration policies.
The then Military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon had introduced R3 (Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation) including programmes like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Federal character and others with a view to re-establishing national harmony, unity and patriotism between and among the various sections of the country.
However, stakeholders, who spoke in Awka during an event entitled “International Research Conference on 50 Years Post Nigerian Civil War: Issues, challenges and prospects towards National Integration, Justice, Peace and Security” organised by the Centre for Health and Allied Legal and Demographical Development Research and Training of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, argued that despite the programmes, there has been an increase in ethno religious uprising in all parts of the country.
Speaking at the occasion, the former Secretary to the Federal Government (SFG), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, regretted that the nation was yet to “properly situate the issues and lessons of that experience in our nation’s history.”
The former Senate President, who suggested documentation of accurate reports of the war as a guide and reference to future generations, averred that “As at today, it appears there is neither official record nor memorial of the war. We need a detailed and factual account of the war in sequence of events, social and economic costs, number of lives lost, and details of the victims because such an account will help the upcoming generations to appreciate the scale and extent of the unfortunate event.”
“The current security crisis combined with rising poverty present fresh, and many argue difficult but surmountable challenges that we need to confront as a nation. Rebuilding faith in Nigeria, building a new national consensus and de-escalating the rising tension all over the country should be the most urgent task of the nation leadership,” he submitted.
On his part, the immediate past President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an apex Igbo sociocultural group, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, maintained that Nigeria no longer needed war but dialogue because the war was the primary instrument of military dictatorship while negotiation and agreement were the essential ingredients of civilian democracy and political diplomacy.
According to Nwodo, “Nations are not created and sustained by street warfare. We have for too long allowed the bitterness of the war and it’s lingering feelings to dictate our political relationship. We do not want more war. We have shed enough blood without producing corresponding political results. 50 years is enough for discussions and fruitful negotiations about our political future.”
Others including award winning author, Prof. Akachukwu Adimora-Ezeigbo; Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, the President of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF); and Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Spain and wife of late Biafra warlord, Mrs Bianca Ojukwu, reiterated the need for the Federal Government to treat every part of the country equally in political appointments, the appointment of service chiefs, provision of basic amenities, among others.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone, thanked the resource persons for the event, explaining that the research conference was of monumental importance as it was considered that 50 years after the end of civil war, factors that precipitated the civil war should be looked at to see the extent Nigerians have engaged those challenges and chart way forward.
Credit: Nigeria Tribune