“Nigerian Political development: events leading to the Civil war (Biafra 1967-1970) and aftermath reconciliation”
The Mahatma Gandhi Centre assisted by The International Alert held a meeting to propagate the message of non-violence and forgiveness during the month of the Mahatma’s birth on 20th October 2015 at the OPA auditorium. The special guest participant and speaker was His Excellency S.U. Ahmed, The Nigerian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. He spoke on “Nigerian Political development: events leading to the Civil war (Biafra 1967-1970) and aftermath reconciliation”
Nigeria fought a civil war as Biafra wanted to secede. It ended as those who had engaged each other in the bitter warfare that brought violence, suffering, famine, starving children and one million corpses embraced each other with unprecedented exchange of goodwill and warmth. This reconciliation is one of the most impressive and unprecedented accomplishments in modern history and a contribution from Nigeria to humanity. When the war ended the leader of the victorious army refused to proclaim victory, declared a general amnesty for all those who fought against him and refused to execute the defeated or to conduct trials against them or to award medals to his own soldiers who had fought the war for years. He graciously allowed even members of the enemy’s army to join his own army. All this happened without a United Nations resolution or peacekeeping force or international conferences and peace plans or protracted years of negotiations that normally takes to resolve modern conflicts or even interventions of any Nigerian Diaspora groups. Nigerians decided for themselves that they had seen enough bloodshed and they needed a war-free future. The most remarkable aspect of ending the war is the demonstration of the power of human forgiveness by Nigerians and Biafrans of each other and to get on with their lives. For anyone genuinely interested in reconciliation in Sri internalizing the Nigerian story will be relevant.