A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has advised the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, to seek dialogue with the Federal Government rather than agitate to address issues affecting the South-East.
The octogenarian advised the IPOB leader not to seek disintegration as it could lead to loss of lives.
Gowon stated this on Friday while presenting his paper titled, “Unity in diversity: Responding to the current challenges of nation-building in Nigeria,” at the 2017 Distinguished Annual Lecture of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Jos, Plateau State.
He said, “My young friend, Nnamdi Kanu, was not born during the civil war, which was declared ‘no victor, no vanquished.’ It is sad to recall what happened at that time; the best way to seek redress is through dialogue.
“Kanu should pursue a healthy conversation on issues he is not comfortable with as it affects his people; this is the only way we can collaborate effectively and have things resolved amicably.”
Speaking further at the event, Gowon said that the activities of Fulani herdsmen had posed a threat to nation-building.
The elder statesman asked the Federal Government to address the issue, which he said had become a nightmare for the country.
He said, “Today, the activities of nomadic herdsmen and cattle rustlers pose a serious challenge to the process of state-building.
“The activities of these groups have also polarised communities along ethnic and religious fault lines, which have had a serious impact on state-building.”
Gowon said one of the solutions to dealing with the problem of herdsmen attacks was to find those supplying them arms as the Fulani in the past were not known for carrying arms.
Insisting that the creation of Nigeria was for a purpose, Gowon said, “There is nowhere else other than Nigeria that God assembled the highest concentration of black people around the world in one country.”