By Tunde Johnson, Abuja
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laurette says incessant attacks and killings by the killer herdsmen in many parts of Nigeria is a declaration of war on the country.
Soyinka who made the position known in a statement released on Wednesday, warned President Muhammadu Buhari against treating the case of the herdsmen lightly, saying he should avoid falling into the same trap former president Goodluck Jonathan fell into with the Boko Haram sect.
Soyinka wrote, “We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance.
“President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe that killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into “communal clashes” – I believe I have summarized him accurately.
“The Marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistically, into good neighbourly conduct. Sometimes of course, the killers were also said be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling.”
The Nobel Laureate recalled that there have been steps taken to quell the attacks but none of the efforts have yielded results.
Soyinka said, “I applaud the plans of your ministry, I am in a position to know that much thought – and practical steps – have gone into long-term plans for bringing about the creation of ‘ranches’, ‘colonies’ – whatever the name – including the special cultivation of fodder for animal feed and so on and on.
“However, the present national outrage is overimpunity. It rejects the right of any set of people, for whatever reason, to take arms against their fellow men and women, to acknowledge their exploits in boastful and justifying accents and, in effect, promise more of the same as long as their terms and demands are not met.
“In plain language, they have declared war against the nation, and their weapon is undiluted terror. Why have they been permitted to become a menace to the rest of us? That is the issue!
“Permit me to remind you that, early in 2016, an even more hideous massacre was perpetrated by this same Murder Incorporated – that is, a numerical climax to what had been a series across a number of Middle Beltand neighbouringstates, with Benue taking the brunt of the butchery.
“A peace meeting was called, attended by the state government and security agencies of the nation, including the Inspector General of Police. This group attended – according to reports- with AK47s and other weapons of mass intimidation visible under their garments. They were neither disarmed nor turned back.”