Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has likened Nigeria current situation to an aircraft that is about to crash “because its captain is missing,” and “strangers are in control in the cockpit.”
Soyinka in a statement to commemorate 2018 May Day Celebration, also advised the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to act fact by putting an end to the “ethnic cleansing” in some parts of the country so that it doesn’t degenerate to genocide.
“The plain expression is ‘ethnic cleansing’ and we must not beat around the bush. The shade of Rwanda hangs over the nation.”
“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,” said Mr Soyinka, a professor of Literature.
“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.
He expressed his disappointment over everyday blood-shed in Nigeria, particularly in Benue State, and other Middle Belt states.
“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.
He urged the government to conduct a thorough investigation to identify the sponsors of the killer-herdsmen and deal with them accordingly.
“We shall move into questions, such as: what is a Minister of Defence, who openly justified the homicidal rampage of nomadic herdsmen, still doing in government? And there are other pressing and disturbing questions, some of which are held back for now, simply in order not to impede the pressing imperatives and humane priorities of the current crisis.
“Right now however, the agenda has to be restitution. Restitution to the displaced, the maimed, the traumatised survivors and the nation’s suppurating psyche.
In a more literary tone, the renowned poet likened Buhari to a captain, who has left the plane (Nigeria) in an auto-pilot while he (Buhari) continues to travel the world without attending to the fundamental problems of the people he’s governing.
“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.”