Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed for unity as the country celebrates its 60th independence anniversary.
Nigeria gained independence from Britain on 1 October 1960. Seven years later, a civil war erupted as the south-eastern region tried to form the breakaway Biafra state.
Millions of people are believed to have been killed before the war ended in 1970.
Tensions have continued between the north and south and there had been rivalries between ethnic groups.
”An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is in our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester,” said President Buhari in a televised address on Thursday.
Buhari promised to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy and called for patriotism.
He suggested that Nigeria’s population – now sitting at 200 million and projected to be the third highest in the world by 2050 – is both a challenge and an asset fort eh country.
The president also defended his government decision to withdraw a fuel subsidy which saw fuel prices rise by 11% in recent weeks. He said the subsidy was unsustainable.
He said his government had managed to keep the economy moving despite lean resources and what he called “disproportionate” spending