Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. Picture: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar said that Nigeria today was divided as never before, Nigeria’s Vanguard reported on Monday.

Inter-ethnic discontent and hate speech had plunged Nigeria into historic divisions Abubakar said though his media spokesman, Paul Ibe, at the 40th anniversary of the Federal Government College Okigwe, in Imo State, which was marked over the weekend.  

“All of you must be aware of the recent agitations from different parts of the country, with some groups threatening violence and, in some cases secession,” said the former vice president.

“Our country is not at war in the sense of guns and bombs, but the level of inter-ethnic discontent, hatred, and hate speech is at an all-time high.”

”Recently, Nigeria has been embroiled in secession calls, particularly from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the south-eastern part of the country,” said Abubakar.

The secessionist movement which calls for an independent state of Biafra, a republic that existed for about three years during the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970, was in September designated a terrorist group by the Nigerian government.

Some Nigerians have subsequently called for a restructuring of the political system.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for an ambush which led to the death of eight soldiers in Sassawa village in the Yobe State capital last week.

The ambush, which killed a civilian and injured five people, was the first attack carried out by the IS in Nigeria.

In a statement by the militant group, which Boko Haram pledged allegiance to two years ago, IS claimed its fighters captured three four-wheel-drive vehicles and others mounted with rifles and heavy weaponry, and various ammunition.

Hitherto, Boko Haram has been responsible for repeated attacks, including suicide bombings, which have wreaked death and destruction in Borno state in north-eastern Nigeria.

- African News Agency (ANA)