Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo says President Muhammadu Buhari must meet with Biafran secessionist leader Nnamdi Kanu before violence between the army and separatists escalates into a full-blown conflict.
Speaking to Newsweek in London, Obasanjo says that the heavy-handed tactics of the Nigerian state against pro-Biafra activists, a secessionist movement that is pushing for an independent state, have not succeeded, and a more conciliatory approach is needed.
“Those who fought the war in Biafra will not want to fight any other war. No. I fought in that war. It’s an unfortunate war and I said that I fought one war too many in Nigeria. Heavy boot is not the solution. I believe that whatever may be the frustration of any group in Nigeria, secession is not the solution.
“I don’t see anything wrong in that [Buhari meeting with Kanu]. I would not object to that; if anything, I would encourage it,” Obasanjo told Newsweek.
“I would want to meet Kanu myself and talk to people like him, people of his age, [and ask:] ‘What are your worries?’ Not only from the southeast but from all parts of Nigeria,” the former president said.