By Kingsley Chijioke
Echoes of the Biafran civil war reverberated yesterday, at the National Conference sitting in Abuja, as delegates, mostly from South-East and South-South geo-political zones demanded reparation over atrocities and injustices melted against the regions during the 30-month civil war.
This was contained in an amendment to the proposed National Intervention Fund, sponsored by delegates from the two regions, titled “the case of South-East and South-South zones of Nigeria” circulated to delegates and journalists as well.
The statement reads: “All fair-minded citizens of this country will agree that the former Eastern region and part of the former Mid-West Region, which encompass the present day South-East and South-South zones of Nigeria were theatres of the civil war, which devastated the two regions and brought untold hardships to their citizens. The case of the South East, which bore the full brunt of the evil war for thirty (30) months, is particularly tragic “the delegates noted.
They lamented that most of the area has remained a waste land despite General Yakubu Gowon’s declaration of three “Rs”: Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation.
“The Conference cannot afford to ignore the yearnings of the people of these regions to rehabilitate and reconstruct the war divested South-South and South-East zones through the proposed National Intervention Fund or through any other integrated platform or plan available to the federal government.
They went back memory lane, by saying that several panels set up by the federal government, including the Oputa Panel, had approved reparation for war damages, but has not been addressed till date.
They, therefore, jointly demanded that since the proposed National Intervention Fund is to address the vexed issues of devastation and upheavals caused by an act of war or by outright war itself, that South-East and South -South zones be adequately taken care of by the Fund, in terms of the physical infrastructure, rehabilitation, development and other losses resulting from the civil war.
The delegates moved that the federal government set up a body to work out agreed reparation to settle the civil war issue once and for all.
The motion was sponsored by many delegates form South-South and South-East zones, notable among whom are Gen. Ike Nwachukwu (rtd), Chief Gary Igariwey, Dr. Joe Nworgu, Miss Annkio Briggs, Senator Adolph Wabara and many others.
In the same vein, the apex socio-political organisation of Igbos, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo in a document signed by the Chairman, Reparation Committee of the organisation and First Republic Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi and circulated by it’s Secretary-General, Dr. Joe Nworgu, asked the federal government to pay N400 billion each to each of the five states of the South-East as compensation to those who lost loved ones, properties, and those still suffering dislocation today in Nigeria.
It also moved that the same amount be paid to the government of Delta State for the benefit of Anioma area of the state.