Retired Col. Emmanuel Ndubueze fought on the part of Biafra. He told Weekend Trust that the war was a bad experience and it should not have happened.

Retired Col. Emmanuel Ndubueze fought on the part of Biafra. He told Weekend Trust that the war was a bad experience and it should not have happened.

What was the war like for you?

I joined the military academy in Kaduna in 1966, and while I was on holiday in the South-east when the war broke out. Since there was no way of returning to the academy in Kaduna, I joined the Biafra troops and fought along with them.

Some of the military officers I fought against were my friends and course mates in the academy. We separated on a happy note for the holiday, but the next time we met, we were fighting on opposite sides.  I am happy that after the war, we were able to rekindle the friendship.

 

Has Nigeria learnt anything from the war?

I thought that after the civil war many things would have been corrected, but they are yet to be resolved till date. There are still many prejudices, misinformation or profiling among the ethno-religious segments of the society, as what the Hausas, Igbos, Yorubas and other ethnic nationalities are being tagged with, which is not supposed to be so.

Whether it is the Igbos that are seen as too money conscious, that are too smart to be trusted or the Yorubas that are seen as betrayers or the Hausas/Fulanis that are unnecessarily profiled with an attitude, such things should not be taken into consideration in terms of national cohesion, and each person or criminal should be treated accordingly due to whatever they do, without having to profile the whole tribe or people of his origin.

 

What do you think of the calls for separation?

No feeling of marginalisation should give room for calls for separation, as there is no part of this country that is saying that they are not being marginalised.

 

What can be done to address the feeling?

Every part of the country should be treated equally, and with fairness and justice. The government should not give room for the feeling of marginalisation.  War can never solve anything, except devastation, killing of one’s humanity.  The government should also do all it can to tackle the armed banditry, militancy and all the security challenges bedeviling the country.