Timeline: Biafra War In Key Dates

It’s 50 years since the Nigerian civil war ended but the scars have endured. Here is a timeline of how the war started and major events since the shots were called off at Dodan Barracks.

 

January 15, 1966: A group of army majors, led by Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna, execute Nigeria’s first military coup which ended the First Republic.

Most of the coup plotters were Igbo and a number of those killed – including Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa – were northerners.

The coup plotters attacked three cities – Lagos, Kaduna, and Ibadan – and said their stated objective was to cleanse the country of corruption.

 In this file photograph taken on November 1, 1967, Biafran prisoners and civilians wait at the federal camp of Nakurdi, a converted outdoor movie theatre in Enugu, after fighting between Nigerian federal army troops and the Biafran rebels, during the Biafran war. Colin HAYNES / AFP
In this file photograph taken on November 1, 1967, Biafran prisoners and civilians wait at the federal camp of Nakurdi, a converted outdoor movie theatre in Enugu, after fighting between Nigerian federal army troops and the Biafran rebels, during the Biafran war. Colin HAYNES / AFP

 

January 16, 1966: Head of the Nigerian Army, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, is declared Head of State. Although Aguiyi-Ironsi had aided in coup suppression efforts, that he was Igbo stoked northern sentiments that the coup was intended to wipe out the North’s political powers.

January 17, 1966: Aguiyi-Ironsi appoints Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu as Military Governor of the Eastern Region.

In this file photograph taken on August 16, 1967, Colonel Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu, the leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra, stands in front of a Biafra flag as he addresses a press conference in Enugu. AFP
In this file photograph taken on August 16, 1967, Colonel Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu, the leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra, stands in front of a Biafra flag as he addresses a press conference in Enugu. AFP

 

July 29, 1966: A few months after the first coup, northern soldiers stage a counter-coup, killing Aguiyi-Ironsi and many other high-ranking Eastern officers. Aguiyi-Ironsi’s death led to the emergence of Yakubu Gowon as Head of State.

September 29, 1966: The northern coup further inflamed anti-Igbo sentiments in the North. From May to September 1966, observers estimated that between 3,000 and 30,000 Igbos were slaughtered and another 150,000 – 300,000 fled to southern and eastern regions.

In this file photograph taken on July 24, 1967, European families wait for their evacuation by boat, in Port Harcourt, during the Biafran war. Colin HAYNES / AFP
In this file photograph taken on July 24, 1967, European families wait for their evacuation by boat, in Port Harcourt, during the Biafran war. Colin HAYNES / AFP

 

January 1967: Nigerian military leaders famously meet in Aburi, Ghana, to resolve the complications and disaffections created by the two coups. 

May 27, 1967: Gowon declares the division of Nigeria in 12 states, which includes splitting the Eastern Region into three parts.

May 30, 1967: Ojukwu declared the independence of the Republic of Biafra, after an official vote of secession had taken place in the eastern region.

 In this file photograph taken on November 13, 1967, a Nigerian federal army soldier points to a sign in Calabar, the oldest port on the West African coast, after the federal troops took the city from the Biafran rebellion, during the Biafran war. Colin HAYNES / AFP
In this file photograph taken on November 13, 1967, a Nigerian federal army soldier points to a sign in Calabar, the oldest port on the West African coast, after the federal troops took the city from the Biafran rebellion, during the Biafran war. Colin HAYNES / AFP

 

June 1967: After Ojukwu’s declaration, Nigeria’s military government places an embargo on the shipping of goods to and from Biafra, excluding oil tankers. 

In this file photograph taken on October 28, 1967, Nigerian federal army soldiers survey a police checkpoint on the west bank of the Niger River at Asaba, from where they launched an amphibian offensive on Biafra, during the Biafran war. Colin HAYNES / AFP
In this file photograph taken on October 28, 1967, Nigerian federal army soldiers survey a police checkpoint on the west bank of the Niger River at Asaba, from where they launched an amphibian offensive on Biafra, during the Biafran war. Colin HAYNES / AFP

 

July 6, 1967: Five weeks after Ojukwu declared the Republic of Biafra as an independent state, the Nigerian-Biafra war begins.

The initial attack by the Nigerians included two advancing columns, one of which captured the Biafran town of Nsukka on July 14 and the other which took the Biafran town of Garkem on July 12. However, the Biafran retaliation was strong and moved rapidly across the Niger River, through Benin City, and to the town of Ore, 130 miles east of the Nigerian capital of Lagos. where they were eventually stopped on August 21.

In this file photograph taken on August 31, 1968, a pair of child soldiers of the Biafran army, Moise, 14 (L) and Ferdinand, 16 (R) speak in Umuahia as the Nigerian federal troops continue their advance during the Biafran war. Francois Mazure / AFP
In this file photograph taken on August 31, 1968, a pair of child soldiers of the Biafran army, Moise, 14 (L) and Ferdinand, 16 (R) speak in Umuahia as the Nigerian federal troops continue their advance during the Biafran war. Francois Mazure / AFP

 

January 1968: After nearly six months of war, the Nigerian military had surrounded Biafra and cut off the majority of their supply lines, but the Biafrans continued to resist surrender and kept on fighting.

January 29, 1968: Biafra introduces its first Biafran currency.

In this file photograph taken on March 31, 1968, The Onitsha bridge, one of the most important communication pathways of West Africa, is destroyed by the Biafran Forces, on the Niger River at Onitsha in south-eastern Nigeria. Colin HAYNES / AFP
In this file photograph taken on March 31, 1968, The Onitsha bridge, one of the most important communication pathways of West Africa, is destroyed by the Biafran Forces, on the Niger River at Onitsha in south-eastern Nigeria. Colin HAYNES / AFP

 

March 27, 1968: First airlift into the city of Port Harcourt, organised by Father Anthony Byrne, who also managed the Catholic relief operations in Biafra.

June 26, 1968: The government of the Republic of Biafra releases a “Charge to Humanity” statement outlining the deteriorating situation in Biafra and calling for foreign support.

In this file photograph taken on August 17, 1967, young militia women of the civil defence parade during military training in Enugu, capital of the new Republic of Biafra, during the Biafran war. AFP
In this file photograph taken on August 17, 1967, young militia women of the civil defence parade during military training in Enugu, capital of the new Republic of Biafra, during the Biafran war. AFP

 

July 12, 1968: Biafran children appear on the cover of Life Magazine with headline “Starving Children of Biafra War”

May 1969: Biafrans commence land offensive reinforced by foreign mercenary pilots, attacking military airfields in Enugu, Port Harcourt, Ughelli, and Benin City.

June 5, 1969: A Red Cross plane is downed while delivering relief supplies to Biafra. As a result, the Red Cross ceases air deliveries of aid.

June 30, 1969: Nigeria bans International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) aid to Biafra; the American Jewish Emergency Effort for Biafran Relief has raised a total of $185,000.

In this file photograph taken on August 28, 1968, civilians flee Aba to go to Umuahia, the new capital of the Republic of Biafra, as the Nigerian federal troops advance toward the city during the Biafran war. Francois Mazure / AFP
In this file photograph taken on August 28, 1968, civilians flee Aba to go to Umuahia, the new capital of the Republic of Biafra, as the Nigerian federal troops advance toward the city during the Biafran war. Francois Mazure / AFP

 

January 7, 1970: Nigerian forces launch its offensive “Operation Tail-Wind,” which successfully conquers Owerri and Uli within 5 days.

January 15, 1970: Official surrender papers signed by Biafran General Philip Effiong, deputy to Ojukwu who had fled to the Ivory Coast a few days earlier.

July 1985: National War Museum is established in Umuahia, Nigeria.

 In this file photograph taken on May 26, 2017, shows the NSS BONNY on display at the at the War Museum in in Umuahia, in south-eastern Nigeria. STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP
In this file photograph taken on May 26, 2017, shows the NSS BONNY on display at the War Museum in Umuahia, in south-eastern Nigeria. STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

 

1999: Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) is founded by Indian-trained lawyer, Ralph Uwazuruike.

In this file photograph taken on May 28, 2017, supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) march through the Osusu district in Aba. STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP
In this file photograph taken on May 28, 2017, supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) march through the Osusu district in Aba. STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

 

September 2006: Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun is published.

November 26, 2011: Ojukwu dies in the United Kingdom after a brief illness, aged 78.

In this file photograph taken on March 2, 2012, a soldier salutes after arranging the boots and cap on the casket of Nigeria's secessionist leader Odumegwu Ojukwu during his funeral at his native Nnewi country home in Anambra State eastern Nigeria. Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP
In this file photograph taken on March 2, 2012, a soldier salutes after arranging the boots and cap on the casket of Nigeria’s secessionist leader Odumegwu Ojukwu during his funeral at his native Nnewi country home in Anambra State eastern Nigeria. Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP

 

2012: The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is founded by Nnamdi Kanu. The group’s stated aim is to restore an independent state of Biafra through a referendum.

September 2017: A federal court in Abuja declares IPOB activities as ‘Acts of Terrorism’ just a week after the federal government declared the group as a militant terrorist organisation.

Only A Stupid Soldier Will Think Of A Coup – IBB


 

Former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babaginda (Rtd) has stated that the era of coup d’état has fast left Nigeria, insisting that only a stupid soldier can think of such a move.

He explained that a lot has been done to get the ideology out of their heads because it is no longer acceptable globally and regionally.

General Babangida who spoke on Channels Television Newsnight programme indicated that his generation will use everything possible to make sure that the country remains united.

“I can tell you no that only a stupid soldier will think of a coup d’état because this is outside their head, it is no longer in their psyche, it is no longer acceptable in Africa and in the world generally, so he is intelligent enough to know that if he stages a coup, the country will be ostracised in the world community of nations, there can be an uprising in your own country, so it’s no longer fashionable.”

READ ALSO: 50 Years After Civil War: Soyinka, Utomi, Elder Statesmen Discuss Way Forward

The former military president explained that for the country to move forward, the selection of leaders is very critical.

He stressed that for a leader to be picked; a lot needs to be considered, including his thought patter towards keeping the country united.

“The whole thing depends on the leadership selection; one of the things I would have loved to see is if you want to pick a leader, you should be able to access his thought about the country, the unity, he will not jeopardize it, try to use everything within his powers legitimately to make sure that the country remains one.

“Our selection of leadership is the most important thing; political, military and economic leadership. Once this is strong, and everybody in this sector believes in this country, I think we won’t have a problem.”

The retired Army General said that his generation and the next, have held on to the unity of the country and that is what makes them qualified to move the country towards the required objective.

“My generation is committed and they will use everything possible; apply logic, advice, talks just to make sure that the country remains united.

“You cannot convince me that this country should break; I wouldn’t talk to you for a long time because I know people died trying to keep the country one, so my generation will insist this country remains one.

“There are 200 million people in this country and there are some people in my generation and the one after mine, who will always believe in this country and those generations, will move this country towards the required objective.”

He stressed that his generation saw the unity of the country as an article of faith amongst and they don’t plan to see the country go through another civil war.

“Nobody will like to see this country disintegrated because we will be unfair to those who put their lives on the line and died for the purpose of keeping the country one. If we let it go, we will not be fair to them, thousands of people were killed, a lot was maimed, and some were permanently disabled.”

50 Years After Civil War: Soyinka, Utomi, Elder Statesmen Discuss Way Forward

 

 

Some eminent Nigerians including Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka and Professor Pat Utomi on Monday gathered at the Muson Centre in Lagos to discuss the way forward, 50 years after the Nigerian civil war.

Tagged ‘Never Again’, the event is aimed at reminiscing on the woes of the war which ended in January 1970 and adjudged as one of the worst scenarios of civil rife across the world.

In his address, Prof Anya Anya, who is the chairman of the occasion believes violence cannot provide the solution to the problems facing the nation.

READ ALSO: Amotekun Is A ‘Pleasant New Year Gift’ – Soyinka

A cross-section of some of the participants at the event.

 

 

According to him, Nigeria must learn from the mistakes of the past and what some say was a failure of leadership.

He added that Nigeria was not the only country that has gone through such a situation as the civil war, stressing that losing a war was not necessarily a badge of failure.

One of the organisers of the event, Major General Obi Umahi (rtd), said history must be brought back into the nation’s education and school syllabus.

He explained that the aim of the conference was to sensitise Nigerians on the need for forgiveness, healing, and national cohesion.

 

General Umahi urged Nigerians to see the present situation in the country as a moment for national reflection, stressing that there was an urgent need to build bridges of unity and peace.

Giving his keynote address, Professor Pat Utomi highlighted the collapse of culture as one of the major problems of the country.

He, therefore, called for urgent attention and a joint effort to fix the problem.

Also delivering his keynote address, Professor Soyinka spoke about democracy and the need to allow it to thrive in the country.

On security, the Nobel laureate declared his support for the Western Nigeria Security Network, popularly known as ‘Amotekun’.

He described the security outfit as a pleasant New Year gift, saying it has shown that the yearnings of Nigerians prevailed.

Honest Conversation Would Have Prevented Civil War, Says Utomi

A Professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi, says the Nigerian civil war that claimed about two million lives were completely unnecessary.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Utomi noted that honest conversation would have avoided the tragic incident.

“In my view, the Nigerian civil war was completely unnecessary. It was something that honest conversation would have taken care of.

“The path of progress that the country was travelling could have continued. Many of the decisions we have taken as a country since then to prevent what went wrong have actually taken us back as a people,” he stated.

READ ALSO: 50 Years After Civil War: Reconciliation Efforts Were Not Pushed Hard, Says Babangida

Speaking further, Utomi decried the presidential system of government the country currently operates on a four-year single term basis.

Professor of Political Economics, Pat Utomi

He explained that the system modelled after the United States does not work to promote the good initially meant due to its expensive nature.

“We have chosen a presidential system as a way of preventing this fracture allegiance. The idea of a presidential system is to select one person who is literally owned by all because he has gone round the whole country canvassing the votes of people.

“What has happened unfortunately is that we have created a bloated expensive political process that really does not work to advance the good that we want.

“The principle of subsidiarity of authority being devolved to levels closer to the people has been lost in this presidential system,” he stated.

His remarks come after former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida (retired) lamented that all the efforts made to reconcile Nigerians in the aftermath of the civil war have had limited impact because they were not consistently pushed by the authorities.

The former Head of State called on the Federal Government to ensure that the objectives for establishing institutions like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the unity schools were met.

50 Years After Civil War: Reconciliation Efforts Were Not Pushed Hard, Says Babangida

Former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida (retired) says all the efforts made to reconcile Nigerians in the aftermath of the civil war, which ended 50 years ago, have had limited impact because they were not consistently pushed by the authorities.

Babangida stated this during an interview with Channels Television’s Ladi Akeredolu.

The ex-military ruler who fought in the Nigerian army during the 30-month battle lauded initiatives such as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the unity schools set up across the country.

READ ALSO: ‘It Is Unlawful For Buhari’s Daughter To Use Presidential Jet For Private Affairs’ – Falana

He, however, wants the Federal Government to do more by consistently pushing hard to achieve their objectives.

“For example, the NYSC, unity schools.. I think we didn’t push it hard,” he said.

“We should have pushed all those hard so that people from different parts of the country can say that we met at unity schools together”.

THE FULL INTERVIEW WILL AIR ON CHANNELS TV’S Newsnight Monday AT 9:00 pm.

50 Years On, Nigeria Struggles With Memory Of Biafra War

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on November 13, 1967, a Nigerian federal army soldier points to a sign in Calabar, the oldest port on the West African coast, after the federal troops took the city from the Biafran rebellion, during the Biafran war. 
Colin HAYNES / AFP

 

Dikoye Oyeyinka, 33, has been billed as one of the most promising Nigerian writers of his generation. 

He went to some of the finest schools in his West African homeland but says that like the majority of his classmates he “didn’t know about Biafra until I was 14”.

When he did begin to find out about the brutal civil war that nearly tore Nigeria apart, it was not in the classroom.

Instead, it was a schoolmate in his dormitory who showed him a separatist leaflet demanding Nigeria’s southeast break away from the rest of the country.

Before then Oyeyinka had known nothing about how leaders from the Igbo ethnic group declared the independent state of Biafra in 1967.

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on August 16, 1967, Colonel Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu, the leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra, stands in front of a Biafra flag as he addresses a press conference in Enugu. 
AFP

He knew nothing of the conflict that resulted and the 30 months of fighting and famine estimated to have cost over a million lives before the secessionists surrendered 50 years ago in January 1970.

“We’ve had a very brutal history, the older generation went through a lot of trauma,” Oyeyinka told AFP.

“We just sweep it under the carpet, pretending nothing happened. But without knowing our history we will repeat the same mistakes. Our history is a succession of deja-vu.”

READ ALSO: Electricity Tariff Should Be Increased After Criminalising Estimated Billing, Says Gbajabiamila

It was to try to break this cycle of ignorance that the Oyeyinka wrote the novel Stillborn – a historic epic about Nigeria from the days of British colonial rule from 1950 to 2010.

In it, the civil war is the pivotal event.

‘Our History, Our Conflict’

Unlike other famed Nigerian writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, with her novel Half Of A Yellow Sun, or Chinua Achebe’s memoir There Was A Country, Oyeyinka is one of the few non-Igbo writers to have dwelt on the conflict.

“An Igbo friend got angry at me and said ‘You can’t write about us, it’s our conflict’,” he recounted.

But Oyeyinka insists that all Nigerians need to be made aware of what happened.

“We need to address these traumas ourselves, as a country, otherwise we are a tinder box ready to explode.”

While in the rest of Africa’s most populous nation many know little about the history of Biafra, in the former capital of the self-proclaimed state at Enugu the memory of those years lives on.

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on May 28, 2017, supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) march through the Osusu district in Aba. 
STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

Biafran flags — an iconic red, black and green with a rising golden sun — make appearances on the front of buildings and hardline separatists still demand independence.

The security forces — deployed heavily in the region — are quick to stamp out any clamour for a new Biafra.

At the end of the war in 1970, Nigeria’s war leader Yukubu Gowon famously declared there would be “no victor, no vanquished” as he sought to reunite his shattered country.

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on August 31, 1968, a pair of child soldiers of the Biafran army, Moise, 14 (L) and Ferdinand, 16 (R) speak in Umuahia as the Nigerian federal troops continue their advance during the Biafran war. 
Francois Mazure / AFP

The leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, went into exile for 13 years before being pardoned. He returned to Nigerian politics but was detained for 10 months in prison.

Leading Nigerian intellectual Pat Utomi says that many Igbos — the country’s third-biggest ethnic group after the Hausa and the Yoruba — still feel marginalised.

One key event was when current President Muhammadu Buhari — then a military chief — seized power in 1983, and stopped the only Igbo aspirant to get close to leading Nigeria since the war from becoming head of state.

“In the early 1980s, people had forgotten about the war, but this succession of poor leadership brought bitterness among the new generations,” Utomi said.

  ‘More Divided’

Nowadays any incident — from the closure of the only airport in the southeast last year to the sacking of Igbo shops by customs officials in economic hub Lagos — can cause grievances to flare.

“It’s important to deal with history, to write it down. In Nigeria, we try to cover it up,” Utomi said.

“We are more divided today than we’ve ever been before the civil war. We learnt nothing from it.”

In order to try to heal the rifts, Utomi helped organise a “Never Again” conference aiming to bring together key cultural and political figures to discuss the lessons of the Biafra war half a century after it ended.

He is also a patron of the “Centre for Memories” in Enugu, a combination of a museum and library where visitors can come and “dig into history”.

‘History Is Essential’

History itself has been absent from Nigerian schools.

The current government reintroduced it only from the last term as an obligatory subject for pupils aged 10 to 13, after more than a decade off the curriculum.

“Teaching history is essential to build our identity as a country, and defend our patriotic values,” said Sonny Echono, permanent secretary at the education ministry.

But schools still remain woefully short of qualified history teachers and there is no unified narrative about the civil war which does not figure in the lessons.

“We need to teach the war in our schools,” said Egodi Uchendu, a history professor at the University of Nsukka, in the former Biafra territory.

“Eastern Nigeria is completely different from how it was experienced in other parts of the country. We need to bring in the different angles to it.”

Chika Oduah, a Nigerian-American journalist, has crossed the country to collect hundreds of testimonies of the victims and combatants of the Biafra conflict which she publishes on her website Biafran War Memories.

She says that for many of those she interviewed it was the first time they had retold the horrors of the period.

“A 70-something former soldier… broke down crying, when he told me how he lost his brother during the war,” she said.

She herself only learnt at the age of 17 that her mother as a child spent two years in a camp for displaced people.

“Our parents wanted to move on, not look at the past,” Oduah insisted.

“But we need to talk about it, otherwise we won’t heal”.

AFP

We Should Never Allow Another War, Says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians to cast their minds on the effect of past civil war and jointly decide not to allow the country to witness another civil war by their actions and inactions.

The President said based on what the nation has lost to past civil war, it is worthwhile for Nigerians to resolve never to allow our dear nation Nigeria to experience another war.

Buhari said this at the inauguration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration 2018 Emblem and Appeal Fund which held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, today.

READ ALSO: Buhari Commends Nigeria’s Progress On World Bank Ranking

“It is indeed worthwhile to honour the memory of our distinguished veterans who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep the country united. Some others have spent the best part of their lives in Service to keep our nation and the world in peace.

“The resolve by our countrymen and women to remain in one indivisible and indissoluble nation, Nigeria is at the centre of this celebration. Indeed the Remembrance Day Celebration is being marked on the 15th of January instead of 11th of November as in other Commonwealth nations to commemorate the end of the Nigerian civil war – a war that was fought to keep Nigeria one.

“We must, therefore, cast our minds back at the events that led to the civil war, the immense human capital loss of the tragic war, and resolve that never again shall we allow our dear nation by our actions or inactions to experience another war.”

Buhari also saluted the courage and sacrifices made by men and women of the armed forces, despite the security challenges confronting the country.

“I want to salute the gallantry, courage and sacrifices of men and women of the Armed Forces as they grapple with diverse and contemporary security challenges plaguing the country.

“I appreciate your display of unparalleled loyalty to the country and dedication to duty. Being one of you, I understand what you have to undergo. This administration will continue to do all within its power and resources to ensure that your welfare is adequately catered for.”

ECOWAS Court Awards N88bn Damages Against FG Over Civil War Landmines

Committee Commends ECOWAS For Restoring Democracy In Gambia

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has awarded N88 billion damages against the Federal Government for its failure to clear landmines and remains of explosives in the aftermath of the civil war in the South Eastern part of the country.

In a consent judgment delivered by Justice Chijioke Nwoke on Tuesday, the court ordered the Federal Government to commence clearing and evacuation of the aftermath of the civil war within 45 days.

Hundreds of landmine victims had dragged the Federal Government before the ECOWAS Court in 2012, asking for an order for the removal of remnants of war instruments stockpiled in 11 states of the South East, South South and NorthCentral.

They had alleged that the failure of the government to clear the landmines and abandoned explosives at the civil war sites amounted to negligence and a breach of their fundamental rights.

The plaintiffs had claimed N100bn as compensatory and general damages from the Federal Government.

Governor El-Rufai Advocates Peaceful Coexistence Among Nigerians

Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna, Peaceful Coexistence, NigeriansKaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of peaceful coexistence to reduce burden on security operatives.

Governor El-Rufai noted that with peace among Nigerians, the work load on security operatives would be reduced.

He made the call on Sunday at the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration and Laying of Wreaths held at the Murtala Mohammed Square in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.

The governor, who observed that security operatives were making a lot of sacrifices for Nigeria, stressed the need for the citizens to ensure a peaceful society.

He assured the people of Kaduna State that as the Chief Security Officer of the state, he would carry out his responsibilities without fear or favour.

Governor El-Rufai said that the Remembrance Day celebration was a sad reminder of those who died for Nigeria, and also those who made selfless sacrifice for its people.

The Armed Forces Remembrance Day is an annual event to celebrate fallen heroes, as well as veterans who sacrificed their lives as they valiantly fought in and through the first and second world wars, the civil war, as well as peace support missions.

Prayers were offered for the soul of the departed heroes while Governor El-Rufai led dignitaries in the state to lay wreaths in honour of the fallen soldiers.

The high point of the event was the firing of 21 gun salute for the departed heroes and release of pigeons to signify peace.

Top Syrian Negotiator, Mohammed Alloush Quits Peace Talks

Syrian Negotiator, Mohammed AllooshA top Syrian negotiator has pulled out of the Syria peace talks.

The chief negotiator, Mohammed Alloush, says by not bringing a political deal or easing the plight of Syrians, the talks have failed.

He said in a statement that the peace talks had also failed to secure the release of thousands of detainees or to push Syria towards a political transition without President Bashar al Assad.

“The three rounds of talks were unsuccessful because of the stubbornness of the regime and its continued bombardments and aggressions towards the Syrian people,” Mohammed said.

“The endless negotiations are harming the fate of the Syrian people,” Alloush added, “I therefore announce my withdrawal from the delegation and my resignation” from the main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC).

Mohammed Alloush is the representative of the powerful Jaish al Islam rebel faction in the Saudi-based High Negotiations Committee (HNC).

More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed, and about 11 million people forced from their homes during the civil war.

Buhari Advocates Dialogue In Resolving Political Crisis In Burundi

Buhari and Pierre BuyoyaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has urged the people and government of Burundi to explore dialogue in resolving the current political differences in the country.

Receiving the former Burundian President, Mr Pierre Buyoya, on Tuesday at the State House in Abuja, President Buhari said that Nigeria would continue to support peace processes in the continent through the African Union (AU), which had already intervened in Burundi.

The President said that since President Pierre Nkurunziza rejected the proposal of a “stabilising force from the AU, we can’t impose it on him, but we will continue to opt for dialogue.

“Nigeria has been playing a key role in the continent through the AU. We participated fully in ensuring a truce in Mali, and we want citizens to enjoy the impact of the truce, although the terrorists are not helping matters.

“Nigeria is always committed to regional and continental peace, and we will continue to do our best,” he said.

President Buhari told the former President of Burundi, who is the High Representative of the AU Mission to Mali and the Sahel, that he remained hopeful that there would be an amicable solution to the situation in Burundi.

In his remarks, the former President commended Nigeria for the role it played in restoring peace to Mali, noting that the AU was working to promote security in the Sahel, particularly through fighting trans-border terrorism.

He also urged Nigeria to use its clout to work for peace in Burundi, warning that the “country is gradually inching towards a civil war.”

Turkey Sets New Border Camps For Syrian Refugees

Turkey-on-syrian refugeesTurkish aid workers have been setting up tents and distributing supplies for thousands of new Syrian refugees kept from entering Turkey at the border.

Some 35,000 people fled a Syrian Government offensive in the Aleppo area last week, trying to enter Turkey’s Kilis border region.

But Turkey had so far, closed the border to most of them despite appeals by EU leaders to let them cross. The country already shelters more than 2.5 million refugees from Syria’s war.

Meanwhile, analysts said that the EU was also giving mixed messages, calling one day for Turkey to allow in, those fleeing persecution, but the next voicing frustration that Turkey is not doing enough to stem the refugee flow to Europe.

Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, would be in Ankara on Monday to hold talks with the Turkish Government.

The BBC reports that in November, the EU clinched a deal with Turkey, offering it €3bn (£2.3bn; $3.3bn) to care for Syrian refugees on Turkish soil.

About 4.6 million people had fled Syria since the Civil War began in 2011.

Another 13.5 million were said to be in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country.

On Thursday, 60 donor countries, who had a meeting in London, pledged billions of dollars to ease the plight of Syrian refugees.