Kukah: Failure to implement resolutions made civil war wounds hard to heal

Kukah: Failure to implement resolutions made civil

The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, says Nigeria failed to adopt resolutions reached at the end of the Civil War, making it harder for wounds of the citizens to heal.

According to him, 51 years after the war, wounds of the citizens are yet to heal.

The Bishop spoke on Thursday during the second edition of the ‘Never Again Conference: 51 years after the Nigerian-Biafran civil war’.

He noted that key resolutions were product of the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission also known as Oputa panel. The panel was set up by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

Kukah added that while the military laid the foundation for Nigerians to begin a process of rebuilding the nation, “things somehow went wrong” along the line, TheCable reports.

“I have met a lot of people who fought the war who are full of regrets. There is a lot of resentment, anxiety and frustration that we have not learnt any lessons”.

“Fifty-one years after the war, we are still hearing the kind of agitations that ordinarily, with commitment, dedication, focus and the right leadership, we should have put a lot of the anxieties behind us. Unfortunately, they are still with us.”

The first edition of ‘Never Again Conference’ was by the pan-Igbo sociocultural group, Nzuko Umunna in Lagos in 2020.

He said the Oputa panel was “the best school I would ever hope to attend”.

“Oputa panel managed to generate quite a lot of data and information that academicians and policymakers would have used to ensure we erect the signpost saying, ‘Never Again’, because it gave us an opportunity, a mirror to look at ourselves after hearing from all sides but we didn’t have the discipline to follow through,” he said.

“We have not been able to forgive ourselves as a people. The wounds of the civil war have not been able to heal. Coups and counter-coups that followed were more or less miniature civil wars by themselves because they threw up the same contradictions, anxieties and feeling of divisiveness across the country.”

Professor Pat Utomi who chaired the conference planning committee, said the initiative started as an advocacy “in trying to bring a better understanding of the civil war and its aftermath to the Nigerian people”.

According to him, this is being pursued in a way that “it will become a source of energy for bringing a new nation”.

“We know that if people learn enough from errors of yesterday, they can, in fact, make more progress than they are currently making,” he said.

“One of the biggest challenges of nation-building is the kind of trust deficits that exist which make policy implementation very challenging.

“A better understanding of the civil war will make it become a ladder that people can climb to higher levels of growth.”