As Nigeria marks her 57th Independence anniversary, former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB, has urged all Nigerians to always embrace peace and dialogue as they are antidotes for conflict resolution.
He said even though the nation was bedeviled with senseless agitations and conflicts, “there was need for careful appraisal of our journey to nationhood.”
“The resilience of armed forces of Nigeria to curtailed secessionist and agitations throughout our nation’s post independence has reduced tensions and unnecessary distruption of lives and property,” he said.
General Babangida, opined that: “Peace 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 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 whenever the need arises
“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 discriminations.”
He said government at all levels should continue to encourage mutual tolerance and protect the life of every Nigerian who should feel at home anywhere they find themselves in the country.
IBB urged Nigerians to pray and work towards peace and progress of the nation. He advised those beating the war drum through hate speeches to sheathe their swords and support the government in addressing security and economic challenges.
He said: “We should support the government in addressing the security and economic challenges as I urge Nigerians to extend their gestures with a hand of fellowship to one another and assists those affected by natural disasters, conflicts and communal clashes that are presently confined at various Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDPs).”