Against the backdrop of the rising tension in the country, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has warned against allowing the situation to degenerate into a violent conflict.
He recalled that he narrowly escaped death when an Igbo man sacrificed his life for him during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) when the Biafran forces opted for secession.
Lalong said the Igbo man, who was his guardian, was brutally killed after saving his life during the crisis when he was three years old.
Lalong told the story on Sunday during the 57th Independence anniversary church service held at the national headquarters of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Jos, Plateau State.
He said the gory images and experience of the civil war still remained in his mind.
“The memory of what happened to me when I was three years old is still fresh in my mind; an Igbo man who was my guardian that married my aunty was killed; but before he was killed, he took me and locked me inside a room.
“That memory is still fresh in my mind and anybody who is beating the drums of war has not seen it.”
Lalong urged Nigerians to stop carrying arms against one another and expressed dismay that some people were beating drums of disintegration of the country.
According to him, only genuine dialogue will address the cries of marginalisation and injustice among ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
He advised the government to listen to the calls for federalism, saying, “If true federalism will address the injustice and cry of marginalisation in the country, government should be ready to address it. We should all agree to live together; nobody should give any excuse on why the country should separate.”
While expressing optimism that Nigeria would not break up after surviving many upheavals, he urged various regions to pursue genuine reconciliation to strengthen the bond of peace and unity in diversity.