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Soyinka speaks on Amotekun, says it’s a desirable new year gift

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The Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has described the Western Nigeria Security Network, popularly known as ‘Amotekun’ as a desirable New Year gift.

Soyinka, who said that he had earlier given up on the political leadership of the region until the launch of the security outfit, noted that the initiative has shown that the yearnings of Nigerians prevailed.

He made this known during the “Never Again Conference” organised by the Nzuko Umunna and Ndigbo Lagos Foundation to mark the 50 years after the Nigerian civil war, held yesterday in Lagos.

“I want to thank a number of public-spirited, humanity-considering governors in this nation, who finally responded to the demand and yearnings of the citizens and produced one organisation called Amotekun.

“It is one of the most unexpected because I had given up on them; it is unexpected but at the same time a desirable New Year present,” Soyinka said.

Speaking also, a renowned historian, Professor Banji Akintoye, said that Nigeria’s current mood is synonymous with the mood in the country months before the 1967 civil war.

The Historian, who noted he was a young university lecturer in 1967 and could recall what happened during the period, said that the government is holding the minority in high esteem placing them in positions of authority in the country.

He, therefore, said that the majority are registering their grievances but being overlooked.

“The prevailing mood among us Nigerians (now) is chillingly similar to the character of the affairs of our country in the months leading to the civil war.

“The government is being managed in ways that make it look like an exclusive preserve of a particular minority. There seems to be an agenda being pursued to establish this minority in all positions of command in the executive, administrative, judicial and security services of the country.

“The voices of the majority register protests continually and are continually disrespected and ignored.More in Home

“The state of the law is patently being subsumed to the needs of that agenda, with seriously damaging effects on human rights.

“These situations are inevitably fostering, among the peoples of the Middle Belt and South of the country, the feeling that they are being reduced to the status of conquered peoples of Nigeria,” Akintoye said.

Meanwhile, Banji said that restructuring is of necessity in the country to avoid impending danger.

“Nigeria must, without further delay, restructure with the objective of giving our country a true and generally acceptable federal structure under which the present sections of the country will be able to develop their resources for the conquest of poverty in their domains,” Banji noted.

Earlier, the president of the Ndigbo in Lagos, retired Major General Obi Umahi blamed politicians for diving the country via the instruments of mutual suspicion.

Obi added that the rate of the usage the instrument of mutual suspicion today is deeper than it used to be many years ago.

He, therefore, advised Nigerians to thread caution and live in peace and harmony with one another for the development of the whole.

“Mutual suspicion continues to serve as a tool used by politicians to further divide us hence, setting us towards the path of eternal hate and conflict.

“Nigeria has never been riddled with mutual suspicion and disunity as we are today.

“Besides, life is cheap and threats of insecurity can almost be touched. We cannot afford to allow this to continue,” Obi said.

In his speech, the coordinator of Nzoko Nmunna, Mr Ngozi Joseph Odumako said that the Igbos are yet to be fully integrated into the political system 50 years after the civil war.

Ngozi said that despite the policy after the civil war of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and reintegration, the situation has not changed from what it was after the civil war.

“Have we truly rehabilitated? Have we truly reconstructed? Have we truly reintegrated? These are the key questions we are going to answer today and thereafter, direct our future actions in line with the answers.

“As I call on all to forgive and heal, we must remind ourselves too that healing and forgiveness can only be deeply achieved through justice, fairness, peace, prosperity, progress and development,” he said.

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