1967 Biafra-Nigeria civil war was avoidable, says Abia Gov, Otti

Abia State Governor Alex Otti on Monday said the Nigerian civil war could have been avoided if reason was allowed to prevail.

Otti who spoke in an address during the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Umuahia, noted that the loss of millions of lives during the war would remain a long-standing stain on the country’ s history.

Daily Post reports that the Governor praised the sacrifices being made by men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces in protecting the lives, property and territorial integrity of the nation.

He lamented that the country is presently troubled by domestic insecurity and growing sense of uncertainty, adding that the Nigeria’s security system is overstretched by internal disturbances across the country.

The Abia governor however, commended the officers and men of Nigerian Armed Forces for bravely fighting terrorism and kidnapping, and for always tackling religious and political extremism as well as preserving the unity of the nation.

“The events leading to the civil war and the war itself were very tragic and could have been avoided if reason had been allowed to prevail at certain critical points.

“The shedding of the blood of millions of people, especially innocent, non-combatant women, children and the elderly, would remain a long-standing stain on our history and there should be no attempt to downplay that; even then, history would also record the quick attempts at reconciliation and reintegration initiated by the military itself as an eternal redeeming gesture,” he said.

Otti regretted that some Nigerians, especially the elite, are yet to learn from the events of the civil war and have also refused to engage in constructive dialogue and nation building.

He warned Nigerians against constantly fanning the embers of division and hate with inflammatory rhetoric, clannish divisions and inciting of young people to attacks others, saying that such practices diminish and rubbish the immense inter-generational sacrifices that have kept the country together from the pre-Independence days.

He called for improved welfare for retired soldiers and their families, saying that doing so would further encourage the morale of officers still in service to discharge their duties effectively, as, according to him, serving and retired servicemen in the Armed Forces have not been receiving quality welfare commensurate with their sacrifices.

He recalled how his administration partnered with the various security formations in the state to destroy several operational bases of kidnappers and other criminals and promised that all security formations in Abia would continue to receive adequate support from his administration.

He also identified some ex-servicemen for special recognition.

“It is in the light of this that we recognise some of our heroes who laid down their lives recently for the State. They are Captain E.S. Akpan, (N16811), 542 SIGNALS, Corporal Rasheed Yusuf, (13NA/69/1891), 144 BATTALION; Lance Corporal Yau Yunusa, (17NA/76/2800), 143 BATTALION. May their gentle souls rest in peace,” Otti said.

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