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“Ethnic cleansing”: Soyinka has one test, one question and one agenda for Buhari


“Ethnic cleansing”: Soyinka has one test, one question and one agenda for Buhari

by Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has said that the nation is on a “terminal nose-dive” and President Muhammadu Buhari is “missing”.

Using an airplane analogy, he said: “Strangers are in control in the cockpit. Put simply, the captain is missing.”

Soyinka’s latest intervention comes on the heels of the increased attacked by Fulani herdsmen resulting in killings and displacements, especially in the Middle Belt. The attacks by the herders has also seen them occupy the land in some of the communities they have attacked.

Soyinka described the attacks by the Fulani herdsmen as “ethnic cleansing”.

In a statement released on Monday, Soyinka issued a test, a question and an agenda for President Buhari.

The test:

“I propose one simple test, couched in a handful of minimalist demands, for President Buhari, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Nigeria,” Soyinka said.

“Give a nation-wide order to all land-usurpers in the affected towns and villages across the nation to quit those forcefully occupied lands within a forty-eight hours deadline. Issue orders to the military and police that, wherever illegal occupiers are found, they should be meted the same treatment as are accorded terrorists. Instruct all agencies that, once cleared of usurpers, the rightful occupants should be escorted back to their farmsteads and villages and provided maximum protection. We must go beyond arresting a token handful of herders caught with arms – there are still hundreds of them in the forests. It is not enough to back the anti- open grazing laws, so late in the day, but we shall leave that for later.”

To succeed in this test, Soyinka said the government needs to do the following:

  • “Right now, the violated and dispossessed demand restitution, and with no further delay or subterfuge. All available forces should be deployed to right a hideous, unprecedented wrong that has left the nation drowning in blood – we simply cannot continue one day longer to endure this forceful feeding of human blood. The plain expression is “ethnic cleansing” and we must not beat around the bush. The shade of Rwanda hangs over the nation.”
  • “Afterwards, we can move into reckoning. This spells meticulous investigation, identifying the high-placed sponsors within this nation, some of whom have launched mercenary units to intensify carnage and chaos in order to stem the stride of Nemesis closing in on them for past criminalities, and the cascade of corrupt revelations.”

The question:

“What is a Minister of Defence, who openly justified the homicidal rampage of nomadic herdsmen, still doing in government?” Soyinka said.

Recall that Nigeria’s minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, had earlier this year justified the killings carried out by Fulani herdsmen blaming the anti-grazing laws passed by some states for the violence.

READ: Accept the herdsmen, finish!: FG blames anti-grazing law for killings by hersdmen

The agenda:

According to the Nobel Laureate: “Right now however, the agenda has to be Restitution. Restitution to the displaced, the maimed, the traumatised survivors and the nation’s suppurating psyche. The torrent of Internally Displaced Persons is a national shame, and the growing number of the kidnapped an embarrassment. The plane cannot remain on auto-pilot as hitherto, while the pilot strolls up and down the aisle, assuring passengers that all is well.”

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