CIVIL WAR DRUMBEATS
The recent warning by the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, that the country is on the brink of another civil war should worry all those who still want Nigeria to remain united.
Soyinka had told the BBC World Service in an interview on the state of the nation that 'we see the nation heading towards a civil war.' The renowned writer observed that the events of 1966 that precipitated the Nigerian Civil War were not different from what is happening now.
According to him, 'when you've got to a situation where a bunch of people can go into a place of worship and open fire through the windows, you've reached a certain dismal watershed in the life of that nation.'
Soyinka blamed the situation on leaders in certain parts of the country that hate and cannot tolerate any religion outside their own. He opined that those who have created this faceless army have lost control.
Similarly, the National President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has warned that the continued sectarian killings in the North could degenerate to another civil war.
Also, Igbo leaders have, after their meeting in Enugu, called on the Federal Government to urgently ensure that Boko Haram withdraws its threat that Southerners and Christians should leave the North. They noted that it has become difficult to persuade the Igbo to continue to stay on in the North in view of the fact that Boko Haram has continued to make good its threat to lives and property of Southerners, especially the Igbos.
In the same vein, former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has condemned the killing of Igbos and Southerners in Northern Nigeria and sued for restraint and an end to such massacres. Senators Uche Chukwumerije and Chris Anyanwu have also spoken against the ethnic cleansing directed at the Igbos. Chukwumerije said, 'We are tired of being the sacrificial lamb of Nigeria. We are going to prepare a resolution to the United Nations that they should protect us, that we are the sacrificial race.'
On her part, Senator Anyanwu urged the Federal Government to rise against the situation where Boko Haram is engaging in ethnic cleansing in the guise of being disgruntled.
The observations made by these Nigerians are worrisome. They are naked truths about the state of the nation today. There is no doubt that the situation is capable of leading to another civil war if not checked on time. The continued siege on the nation and repeated attacks on Southerners, especially the Igbos by the Boko Haram sect, at the end of their 3-day ultimatum to Southerners and Christians to leave the North is divisive and amounts to a declaration of war on the affected people.
These attacks are indications that all is, indeed, not well with the nation. All those fanning the embers of discord and war should desist from doing so forthwith. They should note that no country ever survives two civil wars and that Nigeria's case will not be an exception. Nigeria should learn from the experiences of war-torn countries in the world like Rwanda, Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan and others.
Those now regaling in their orgy of violence and ethnic cleansing in whatever guise should understand that violence begets violence. If the prevailing atmosphere of general insecurity and killings of southerners, particularly Igbos, in parts of Northern Nigeria is not immediately halted, it might lead to anarchy of uncontrollable dimension.
Therefore, the federal government should rise to the challenge by seriously tackling the general state of insecurity in the land and bringing to book the perpetrators of such heinous criminality. The government should not watch while the Boko Haram kills others at will.
It is really unfortunate that government's assurances that it will protect the lives and property of all Nigerians wherever they live in the country appear not to be working at all because in spite of them, the killings go on unrelentingly. Let government act now before we become another Rwanda.