Formost Poet and Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka in a stinker adrressed to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, joined millions of other Nigerians to register their displeasure over the security situation in the country.
Professor Soyinka, in a letter titled ‘impunity rides again through killer herdsmen’, called out the Federal Government for its refusal to end the activities of the killer herdsmen.
In case you missed it: Here are 7 highlights From it.
1. Killer herdsmen: Another Boko Haram
According to Soyinka, the Boko Haram insurgents were first seen as a group of harmless never-do-wells until they actually took up arms and harmed the country,
“Boko Haram was a product of social inequities, they preached – one even chortled: We stand for justice, so we are all Boko Haram! We warned that – yes indeed – the inequities of society were indeed part of the story, but why do you close your eyes against other, and more critical malfunctions of the human mind, such as theocratic lunacy? Now it is happening again. The nation is being smothered in Vaseline when the diagnosis is so clearly – cancer!” Soyinka wrote.
2. Buhari and Jonathan: Birds of a feather
Professor Soyinka said:
“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 those 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 to be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling”.
3. Kaduna state governor El-Rufai gets a punch
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, was not left out in the missiles thrown by the reverred Prof. who believes that governor El-Rufai has been making excuses for the herdsmen.
“First the active policy of appeasement, then the language of endorsement. El Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, proudly announced that, on assuming office, he had raised a peace committee and successfully traced the herdsmen to locations outside Nigerian borders.
“He then made payments to them from state coffers to cure them of their homicidal urge which, according to these herdsmen, were reprisals for some ancient history and the loss of cattle through rustling. The public was up in arms against this astonishing revelation.
“El Rufai’s comment then was: No life is more important than another. Today, that statement needs to be adjusted, to read perhaps – apologies to George Orwell: “All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others.”
4. If IPOB is a terrorist group then what is Miyetti Allah?
The group identified as Miyetti Allah is the umbrella organization for all cattle herders and they all belong to the group.
Professor Soyinka said he expects that by now, the group will have been proscribed just as the government did for the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).
“This question is now current, and justified: just when is terror? I am not aware that IPOB came anywhere close to this homicidal propensity and will to dominance before it was declared a terrorist organization. The international community rightly refused to go along with such an absurdity.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me state right here, and yet again, that IPOB leadership is its own worst enemy. It repels public empathy, indeed, I suspect that it deliberately cultivates an obnoxious image, especially among its internet mouthers who make rational discourse impossible.
“However, as we pointed out at the time, the conduct of that movement, even at its most extreme, could by no means be reckoned as terrorism. By contrast, how do we categorize Miyetti? How do we assess a mental state that cannot distinguish between a stolen cow – which is always recoverable – and human life, which is not.”
5. Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh-You too?
The Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbe also came under critism in the open letter to President Buhari.
Prof. Soyinka writes:
“No, no, not so, Audu! It is true that I called upon the government a week ago to stop passing the buck over the petroleum situation. I assure you however that I never intended that a reverse policy should lead to exonerating – or appearing to exonerate – mass killers, rapists and economic saboteurs – saboteurs, since their conduct subverts the efforts of others to economically secure their own existence, drives other producers off their land in fear and terror”.
6. Take Action Now!
Professor Soyinka called on the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government to take the necessary action NOW!
“The warnings pile up, the distress signals have turned into a prolonged howl of despair and rage. The answer is not to be found in pietistic appeals to victims to avoid ‘hate language’ and divisive attributions. The sustained, killing monologue of the herdsmen is what is at issue. It must be curbed, decisively and without further evasiveness.
7. Is Buhari seeing the same ghosts Jonathan saw?
“Yes, Jonathan only saw ‘ghosts’ when Boko Haram was already excising swathes of territory from the nation space and abducting school pupils. The ghosts of Jonathan seem poised to haunt the tenure of Mohammed Buhari”.