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Utomi, Anya, others advocate national integration

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Eminent Nigerians, including Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Anya Oko Anya and Maj-Gen. Obi Umahi, have urged Nigerians, irrespective of ethnicity, to toe the path of peace and consistently work towards a united country.

They cautioned against pulling the country back to the civil war era about 50 years.Speaking in Lagos on the sidelines of activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Nigeria-Biafra War, which ended on January 13, 1970, Utomi, who was the planning committee chairman for the Never Again Conference organised by Ndigbo Lagos and Nzuko Umunna, stressed the need for citizens to reject conditions that would trigger war in the country.

According to him, efforts must be geared towards nation building, forgiveness, re-integration, stability and national cohesion. He said, “We want to use the occasion to call for national reflection and encourage building bridges among ethnic groups in Nigeria and to promote the act of democratic engagement and to say that national public conversations are superior to war.”

Anya, former chief executive officer, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), said Nigeria today was was faced with some terrible situations, security threats and unpleasant environments like what existed before the civil war.

“We need to sensitise the public and international community that we have perhaps forgotten the situation in which we were before the war started and that we need to move towards the path of progress and peace for the country.”

For Gen. Umahi, the country needs to celebrate the unique and many shared but often ignored common attributes and mutual interests among the racial groups as epitomised by the age-long peaceful coexistence and robust relationships.He said the summit taking place in Lagos with the theme ‘Nigerian Civil War: 50 Years After’, would be addressed by keynote speakers including Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Utomi, while stakeholders expected include former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President Ebitu Ukiwe, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, and President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Nnia Nwodo, and royal fathers from all the geo-political zones.

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Anya Oko AnyaPat Utomi
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