Nigeria in most trying times since Civil War, says Buhari
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said a myriad of problems facing the country is the most challenging since the civil war.
Nigeria president made the claim in his speech to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary.
Buhari stated that “the past eighteen months have been some of the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria.”
Continuing, Buhari said, “since the civil war, I doubt whether we have seen a period of more heightened challenges than what we have witnessed in this period.”
Nigeria’s civil war between 1967 and 1970 saw over three million persons killed and more than seven million people displaced in the southeast region – whose leaders agitated for secession from Nigeria.
More than 50 years since the arrowing experience, Nigeria is still grappling with the same challenge with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu and the Yoruba Nation movement led by Sunday Adeyemo, known as Sunday Igboho, pushing for the independence of both southeast and southwest regions of the country.
Buhari suggested that both secessionists leaders are being financed by “high-profile” Nigerians including a serving member of the National Assembly.
Although he did not mention the name of the lawmaker, Buhari but noted the government is “ready to arrest and prosecute all persons inciting violence through words or action.”
“Our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood,” Buhari said.
“The seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words. Reckless utterances of a few have led to losses of many innocent lives and destruction of properties.
“Such unfiltered and unsubstantiated lies and hate speeches by a few evil persons must be stopped.”
Buhari’s reference to the Nigerian civil war is, however, becoming a choice language for the Nigerian president.
He tweeted in June that a “rude shock” awaits “all those bent on destroying our country by promoting crime and insurrection” as the perpetrators may be too young to understand the gravity of war.
The Nigerian president’s critics often accuse him of bias in dealing with groups and individuals whose cause he regards as a threat to national unity and security, citing killings and kidnapping by bandits, herdsmen, and Boko Haram terrorists in northern Nigeria.
Despite continued terrorist attacks on military formations, Buhari said the Nigerian military and security agencies are winning the fight against “our enemies” with the surrendering of over 8,000 Boko Haram terrorists.