Buhari 'Enforce order but treat people humanely', Jonathan tells President on Biafra crisis

Jonathan said it is high time the council of state stepped in so that the country would not plunge into war.

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan play

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

(Punch)
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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on aggrieved regions and ethnic groups across the country to sheath their sword and embrace peaceful coexistence in the interest of Nigeria's unity.

Jonathan made the call in a message posted on his Facebook page on Friday, September 14, in reaction to the ongoing crisis between pro-Biafra loyalists and the military in the South-east.

The ex-president urged the Council of State to intervene in the matter.

The Nigerian army had declared the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) a militant terrorist organisation, following a recent rampage by the group in Aba, while protesting the alleged attack on Kanu's house by soldiers.

In its mission to maintain law and order in the south-east, a military operation, code-named Python Dance II, had last week clashed with IPOB members, leading to deaths, destruction, and arrests.

Jonathan said it is high time the council of state stepped in so that the country would not plunge into war.

The council of state is made up of former heads of state and governors of the 36 states of the federation, as well as heads of security agencies and some government bodies.

Jonathan wrote: "The reports I have received about recent developments in the country lead me to appeal to all men of good will to use whatever influence they have to push for peaceful coexistence and restraint on all sides. Perhaps it is time for the Council of State to intervene and offer its wise counsel. Irrespective of whatever provocation, Nigerians must never turn on each other.

"Even in the face of difficult circumstances, we must have faith that God in His infinite wisdom will guide us to finding a way out that is fair and just to all concerned. In as much as there may be a need to enforce order, there is a greater need to reinforce our humanity and treat Nigerian citizens humanely whether they be from the North or South.

"Nothing justifies the desecration and destruction of religious places of worship or a police station. But even more so, nothing justifies the endangering of human life. Let us exchange ideas instead of exchanging insults and threats. Nigeria is going through tough times because God wants us to grow through tough times. We must be resolute as a people even as we know that it is impossible to deny the brotherhood of all Nigerians after over a century of a shared commonwealth."

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The former president's reaction is coming after ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo asked President Muhammadu Buhari to dialogue with Kanu.