Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the injustices and human right abuses suffered by the people of the South East of Nigeria during the Nigerian-Biafra civil war of 1967-1970, by the declaring the sub-region a ‘special area’.
Kalu, who spoke in an interview with aviation reporters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, shortly after arriving Nigeria from the United States of America (USA), also commended President Buhari for addressing the injustices associated with the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election, by posthumously acknowledging the election as free and fair, as well as declaring Chief MKO Abiola as the legitimate winner of that election.
Kalu said the recognition of the June 12 elections as legitimate and MKO Abiola as the winner has portrayed Buhari as a true democrat considering that his two predecessors (presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan) had failed to validate that election during their reigns.
The former governor, however, said President Buhari should extend the same gesture to the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, who superintended over the June 12, 1993 elections. He also sought Buhari’s extension of his reconciliation gesture to the people of the South East where millions of lives were lost and property destroyed during the civil war to assuage the feelings of hurt among the people of the region. Kalu said: “President Buhari has started a good thing by honouring Chief MKO Abiola and declaring June 12 as Democracy Day. Now that he is working, he should also remember Prof. Humfrey Nwosu, the man who conducted the freest and fairest election in Nigeria. Nwosu should also be honoured.
“And I want President Buhari to go a step further and declare the South East a special area, where people in the region were given ill treatment during the war. People lost lives, they lost property, and they were given just 20 pounds.
“He has already made a good step by paying the Biafran police their entitlements. But, the region should be considered a special area by the government because, if that is added to what Buhari has done, in terms of those who lost their lives during the struggle for the actualisation of June 12 mandate, God will start forgiving Nigeria,” Kalu added.
Kalu also lauded Buhari for giving financial autonomy to the state judiciary and houses of assembly, but urged that same autonomy be extended to the federal judiciary, noting that the independence of the judiciary is most fundamental to the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy.