Former Ogun state Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, says the Nigerian Civil war, also known as Biafran war, started with fake news spread by Agence France-Presse (AFP), an international media organisation headquartered in Paris.
Osoba, who appeared on Arise TV earlier in the week, stated that fake news on AFP that northerners were killed in Portharcourt, Rivers state, triggered the violence that erupted afterwards.
Recall that the Nigerian Civil War which started in 1967 and ended in 1970 was an offshoot of the mass movement of Igbos back to Eastern Nigeria to form a new federation, the Republic of Biafra.
“The Nigerian civil war started by a fake news on AFP that northerners were killed in Portharcourt and that led to the massacre of Igbos which they called PROGROM then. That was the beginning of the Civil War in Nigeria. I covered the war, the destruction that happened I don’t want to discuss it,” the former Governor said.
The 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom was a series of massacres committed against Igbo people and other people of southern Nigerian origin living in northern Nigeria starting in May 1966 and reaching a peak after 29 September 1966.
Nearly 30,000 Igbos and easterners were estimated to have been killed after the massacres.Drawing a cue from the past, Chief Osoba said stakeholders must be careful to prevent such occurrence.
“So the thing is that we have to be careful a little statement can trigger a more dangerous development that we cannot handle.”
Speaking on agitations for Oduduwa Republic, the former Governor explained that calls for secession are results of a bottled-up anger and frustration of the youths.
“When you talk of Oduduwa Republic, I must say that we elders across the board agreed that is the frustration that younger ones are facing is what is leading them to the extreme and asking that we should separate.”
“When young men come out of university and they now resort to doing menial jobs. We refuse to develop our technical education, which will give them practical work that they can do. Unemployment.”
“Insecurity is on all of us. Now if I dare go out in the night, my family will be wonder why, what am I doing outside? That was not the Nigeria that we grew up to know.”
“We used to enjoy travelling at night from Lagos to Ilorin, Ilorin to Kano. Nobody would dare do that this day. So, it’s the frustration of the younger ones. For those of us who are elders, you just have to be very careful.”
He, however advised the older generation to listen to the opinion of the younger ones and “only try to persuade them to see the alternatives so that we can reach a consensus that will not lead to Civil War.”