A first-class traditional ruler in Rivers State, Eze Felix Otawarikpo, has called on the federal government to make a national pronouncement forgiving those that participated in the Nigerian civil war.
Otawarikpo, who is the Eze Idu-Upata in Ahoada East local government area of the state, made the call while speaking at a function in Port Harcourt.
He said: “So, I am canvassing that the Nigerian nation should make a national pronouncement to forgive those that participated in the civil war and allow Nigeria move forward.”
The monarch wondered why a generation of Igbo race that did not participate in the civil war were being stigmatised by the Nigerian nation, warning that such situation could fuel insecurity in the country.
Otawarikpo said: “Having listened to various national conversations on the issue of Igbo race, I want to say that the present generation of Igbos may not necessarily have participated in the civil war or know anything about the civil war.
“So, it will be wrong for us as a nation to continue to stigmatise the present generation. The average young Igbo person will feel annihilated from the Nigerian nation. That alone could fuel insecurity.”
The traditional ruler appealed to journalists not to concentrate their reportage on issues in the cities alone, but to extend to rural communities in order to give rural dwellers a sense of belonging.
He added: “We cannot be discussing insecurity in Nigeria without looking at how our leaders emerged. I equally expect journalists not to concentrate their reportage on cities. They should equally cover the communities because you cannot have an effective leadership without a functional followership.
“How many Nigerians at the rural level understand the provisions of the 1999 Constitution? How many Nigerians at the rural communities understand their responsibilities to the nation as Nigerians?
“We expect members of the pen profession to critically examine the dignity of Nigerians. What is the quality of average Nigerian? To what extent are citizens of this country who are in various communities carried along in terms of government policies?”