Exactly 50 years after the Nigeria Civil War of 1967 to 1970, the Nzuko Umunna and Ndigbo of Lagos, on Monday, unanimously resolved, to say “Never Again” to disunity and conflicts in Nigeria.
Nzuko Umunna and Ndigbo Lagos in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations, made the declaration at a conference in commemoration of 50 years after the Nigeria Civil War.
The conference held in Lagos, is tagged “Never Again” and it has the sub theme ” Nigerian Civil War: 50 years After”
In his opening remark President General of Ndigbo Lagos, Rtd. Major Gen. Obi Abel Umahi, noted that the civil war came and has left survivors with huge looses.
“The Nigerian Civil War came and left in it’s wake, massive destruction of lives and properties, destabilized economy, mutual suspicion, hatred and resentment.
“Looking around us today, those who learn through history books, may have discovered that some of the causes of the civil war have persisted; we cannot afford to allow this continue.
“Every nation that desires never to repeat mistakes of the past, must expose its generation to its history; to do otherwise is suicidal.
“Therefore, every nation desirous of peace, justice , tranquility, and its attendant development, must learn to embark on a journey of genuine forgiveness, healing, justice and peace.
“It is against this background that Nzuko Umunna, Ndigbo Lagos, and other Pan nationalities, socio-cultural groups consisting of processionals both home and in diaspora, are organizing the Never Again conference.
” This is to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Nigerian Civil War; its aim is to sensitize Nigerians to rise with a view to jointly move the country away from the edge of precipe,” he said
The President also called for a national reflection and encouraged citizens to build bridges amongst ethnic groups in the country.
In his keynote address,, nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, noted that there were many ways Nigerians could say “Never Again” to War and its Ills.
He, however, noted that humanity tends to forget the lessons of such tragedy “too soon”
Highlighting the devasting impact of the civil war, which he noted claimed about two and half million lives, Soyinka posed a rhetorical question: “Have we been heard”
He noted that it is part of humanity to “call back history” from time to time, so as to serve as a “revision” and reminder about the ills of conflict.
“What matters for us now, is the attitude of a revisionist; we propose therefore, that the loss of two and a half million lives, provokes and awakens in us, a sober reflection,” he said
In a welcome address by, Coordinator of Nzuko Umunna, Mr Joseph Odumuko, but delivered by his Deputy, Prof. Chika Moore, he noted that 50 years after, there is now the need for a national reflection.
He said that this will herald a new chapter in the nation’s history
“There is no gainsaying that war has never been the best of options in conflict resolution and in most cases has led to unfortunate loss of lives, properties and erosion of trust.
“The most critical thing for us to do this time as a people, is not to keep apportioning blames, or supressing sincere discussions about our past, but to ask ourselves if we are really making efforts towards ensuring healing.
“This can only be achieved by reintergrating all ethnic nationalities, by truly exhuming and implementing the deep intention of the 3Rs agenda of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reintergration,” he said
Odumuko urged Nigerians to appreciate the nation’s diversity, and eschew hatred, discrimination, suspicion, marginalisation, bigotry, and parochialism, through emphasising more on the things that binds us.
In his Goodwill message, Prof. Banji Akintoye, said he was grateful to God Almighty that the civil war came to an end when it did
“We are here together today, to assert that we will Never Again, manage the affairs of this country in a manner that will lead to war.
“In the spirit of Never Again, we can speedily, move the country into a state of law, order and peace, as well as mutual respect,” he said
He urged that all activities meant to disrupt the unity and peace of the nation be stopped forthwith by its authors.
Imetrowatch reports that during the conference a minute silence was observed in honor of victims of the War.
The conference also had a five minutes video of a speech by former Nigerian Head of State, Yakubu Gowon.
In attendance at the conference was Chairman of the event, Prof. Anya O Anya, Deputy leader of Nzuko Umunna, Prof. Chika Moore, Royal Fathers , as well as popular Nigerian Musician, Onyeka Onwenu.
Also in attendance was Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, Rtd. Vice Admiral Alison Madueke, former Minister of Information, Mr Frank Nweke, Bisi Olatilo, Ify Melody as well as other notable Nigerian personalities
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