As Nigeria marks her 57th Independence anniversary today, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has said those at the forefront of secession, chanting slogan of war and hate speeches are senselessly derailing the nation’s development and unity.
In his message to mark the independence anniversary, IBB, as he is fondly called, urged all Nigerians to always embrace peace and dialogue as the best way to resolve conflict and dissenting views.
He noted that though some of the agitations and conflicts Nigeria was bedeviled with are senseless and needless, there is need for careful appraisal of the journey to nationhood to be able to move forward.
Babangida who returned to the country from his medical vacation quietly yesterday evening at Minna airport on a chartered flight said, “The resilience of armed forces of Nigeria to curtailed secessionists agitation throughout our nation’s post-independence era has reduced tensions and unnecessary destruction of Lives and property.
“Dialogue remains the best option in resolving conflicts and agitations in the country, adding that recent conflicts and agitations, chanting slogan of war and hate speeches are derailing the nation’s development and unity.
“As an active participant in the Civil War and as a retired military officer, with the hard lesson learnt, I will never be tired on calling for the oneness and unity of our great nation. We will forever be ready to sacrifice for a United and prosperous Nigeria when call again.
“During our tenure in government we deliberately formulated policies, programmes, projects and even the creation of states to further weaken unwholesome agitations for secession and promote mutual and peaceful coexistence devoid of ethnic, religious and regional discrimination.”
He further urged government at all levels to continue to encourage mutual tolerance and protect the life of every Nigerian who should feel at home anywhere they find themselves in the country.