President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the National Youth Service Corps members of Igbo extraction to tell their colleagues that there is no hope of having a sovereign ‘Biafran State’.
Buhari said this when over 100 corps members serving in Katsina State came to visit him at his Daura residence on Tuesday.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, said the President urged the corps members to do everything to ensure the unity of Nigeria.
Speaking specifically to corps members from the south-eastern states, the President said, “Tell your colleagues who want Biafra to forget about it.”
The President said as a young soldier during the Civil War between 1967 and 1970, he fought hard to ensure the unity of the nation.
He, therefore, maintained that Nigeria would never disintegrate under his watch.
Buhari added, “As a military commander, I walked from Degem, a border town between the North and the East, to the border between Cameroun and Nigeria. I walked on my foot for most of the 30 months that we fought the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, in which at least two million Nigerians were killed.
“We were made by our leaders to go and fight Biafra not because of money or oil, because oil was not a critical factor then, but because of one Nigeria.
“Thus, if leaderships at various levels failed, it was not the fault of the rest of Nigerians who had no quarrel with one another. So, please tell your colleagues that we must be together to build this country. It is big enough for us and potentially big enough in terms of resources.
“Those who work hard will earn a respectable living. I have seen this country, I fought for this country and I will continue to work for the unity of this country.”
Buhari hailed a former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, for inaugurating the NYSC scheme in 1973.
He said the scheme had helped to foster national integration by exposing young people to the uniqueness and cultural diversity of Nigeria.
The President said, “I asked for those from the other end of Nigeria because I very much appreciate the NYSC scheme and whenever I see General Gowon, I always thank him for that.’’
In his remarks, Mr. Egbewumi Adebolu, the Corps Liaison Officer in Daura, thanked the President for the honour of receiving them and making their stay in Daura memorable.
He said the youths strongly believed in the programme of the President to reduce unemployment and create jobs for more Nigerians.
Adebolu thanked the President for his personal gifts of cows, bags of rice and cash to corps members in the community for Sallah celebration.