From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Former military Head of State and elder statesman General Yakubu Gowon (retd) has warned youths and those beating war drums in the country not to drag the country into another civil war that may spell permanent doom for Nigerians
Gen Gowon, who issued the warning on Saturday, noted that a new civil war will bring Nigeria to permanent backwardness and harrowing of unimaginable dimension to the innocent citizenry
He spoke at a public lecture on “Rejigging the Security Architecture: imperatives for the Second Line of Public Safety: The Nigerian Peace Corps Perspectives,” put together by the Peace Corps of Nigeria.
The former head of state who chaired the public lecture was represented by a former Governor of Bauchi state, Major General Chris Abutu Garuba (retd).
He described war as an unpleasant situation adding those who have fallen victims of it would not wish that Nigeria goes into another one outside that of the one fought between 1967 and 1970.
Gowon expressed deep concern about the growing tension among the youths and appealed to the federal government to take up the challenge.
The former head of state showered praises on the Peace Corps of Nigeria and its National Commandant, Professor Dickson Akoh for calming down the anger restless youths through mobilization and orientation and sought the support of well-meaning Nigerians and government to the Corps.
The Guest Lecturer Also at the occasion, a Professor of African History, Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Olawale Albert, said that going into another civil war will only escalate the problems confronting the nation.
‘If you see war, blood-shedding of the innocents, you will run if you have the opportunity to do so. It is only those who have never seen a war that can call for it. It does not pay anyone,’ he said.
The university don cautioned those drumming war drums and secession threats to stop in their own interest and that of the innocent ones adding that Nigerians will gain nothing from it in the end.
Former Benue State Governor George Akume warned politicians to stop making inflammatory statements capable of breaking up the nation.
Akume now Minister under President Muhammadu Buhari said in the war period, family members would not know each other adding for this reason, ‘let us do those things that will unite us to fight insecurity jointly instead of focusing on a divisible project.’
National Commandant of the Peace Corps Professor Dickson Akoh said that the present high level of unemployment of youth is a time bomb and appealed to the federal government to quickly tackle the unemployment rate
One of the foremost traditional rulers and Etsu Nupe Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar called on the National Assembly to pass the pending Peace Corps Bill that will make it a statutory body and President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill when passed.
The public lecture was one of the programs lined up to mark 23 years of founding the Corps by Akoh.
The Corps said to have been founded with only 8 members 23 years ago now have about 200, 000 members with offices in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.