Matthew Kukah, bishop of Sokoto Catholic diocese, will deliver the keynote address at the second edition of the ‘Never Again conference: 51 years after the Nigerian-Biafran civil war’.
Pat Utomi, chairman of the conference planning committee, disclosed this at a press conference on Sunday, where he also said former president Olusegun Obasanjo will be the special guest of honour at the event.
He said the conference, scheduled to take place virtually on January 14, will feature panelists seeking to interrogate the Nigerian civil war and its aftermath.
The ‘Never Again Conference’ is the brainchild of Nzuko Umunna, a pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, which organised the first edition in Lagos in 2020.
Utomi said this year’s edition will be chaired by Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere, Yoruba socio-cultural group, and Kalu Idika Kalu, former minister of finance.
He added: “It is recalled that Nigeria fought a bitter and internecine 30-month civil war that left in its wake a sharply divided nation with mutual suspicion, hatred and resentment across racial and regional lines. An estimated one million victims were killed immediately before and during the war.
“The conference will x-ray the issues that led to the Civil War and the need for patriots to work together to achieve national cohesion, especially in light of several centrifugal tendencies within the polity.
“The forum will plot a roadmap for national development by dissecting the challenge of nation-building 51 years after the civil war as well as the much canvassed restructuring, marginalization, equity, fairness and justice.
“The conference is also aimed to underscore the lessons of the civil war and more especially to promote nation building, forgiveness, healing, reintegration, stability, and national cohesion. We also want to use the occasion to call for national reflection and encourage bridge building among Nigeria’s racial groups.
“We believe that the time has come for a robust interrogation of the causes of the Nigerian-Biafran War in order to identify the fault lines that have retarded national cohesion and growth.”