Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has advised the Federal Government to drop its ‘false pride’ and seek the cooperation of international community if it could not cope with the security challenges bedeviling the country.
Soyinka who gave the advise, on Thursday, in Makurdi, Benue State capital, when he visited Governor Samuel Ortom.
He said that he knew for sure that the international community would come to the aid of Nigeria to enable it tackle its security challenges.
In his words, “I do not believe in false pride. If this government cannot cope, it should not shy away from asking for international help. When human lives are concerned in their thousands, it’s about time, if it is necessary, to return the compliment.
“But I think it is a time for all of us to come and really probe this tumor and stop pretending that this is simply ringworm when we are actually dealing with cancer. It is time for government to wake up, particularly, moment has been lost, a critical moment when this act of impunity could have been stopped.”
Soyinka, who said that the killings taking place in Benue and other states of the country, are for ethnic cleansing, also lamented that instead of hunting animals for food, the killer herdsmen are now hunting human beings, an act which he described as barbaric.
He continued, “The trouble with not calling things by their proper names and at the right time is what leads communities, nations, and people generally to start treating a malignant tumour with Vaseline.
“Just like refusal to recognise, and at the critical moment, the nature of a particular problem that has been at the basis of the massacres going on in this region, especially Benue State. There’s no any other word for it.
“Let’s not play around with the euphemisms. It’s no other word but ethnic cleansing. There’s no other definition for what has been going on here. And it’s very sad to me personally to see that a nation like Nigeria, with so much human talent, has failed to learn the lesson of the history of places like Rwanda.
“I happen to have been very much involved in the Rwandan situation vicariously. The phenomenon of human beings rising against one another and butchering innocents in their hundreds and thousands has always being something of a mystery to me
“There is no other word for it let us not play around with ephenism, there is no other word but ethnic cleansing . There is no other definition for what has been going on and it is very sad, personally to me to see a nation like Nigeria with so much human talents has failed to learn the lesson of history of places like Rwanda.
“Why should an organized force descend on sleepy villages and mull them down, men and women, old and and young children. What is the motivation.
“Now from time to time, we hear of explanation that these are Libyan mercenaries on the loose yes but who brought them here? Who shelter them, who shepherds them, who sponsors them and why?
“You kill human beings very often because you want their land so that is at least some where to begin with to see what’s the motivation. And that is why I threw that challenge to the President. I said why don’t you give those who are occupying land that does not belong to them, why don’t you give them 48 hours’ notice to get out of there?
“And then those whom you find still in those villages where the proper indigenous occupants have been ousted then you speak to them in the language which they understand.
Responding, Governor Ortom who described Soyinka as a man of integrity whose words are gold thanked him for adding his voice in addition to all that have said elsewhere and even to the authority that be concerning what is happening in Benue State.
The governor further restated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for making good their threats after they publicly declared that they would mobilize all Fulani against the Benue grazing law.
“This is not a hidden agenda; it’s known and those people who are perpetrating it did say it. They’re not hidden. They held press conferences, they came out and said they were going to resist our law, that they were going to do ethnic cleansing, it’s about Jihad, it’s about taking over the land, it’s not about herders and farmers clashes.
They said it clearly and it’s written and we have the documents and I’ve reported them to the security agencies. I’m in agreement with you but as law abiding citizens, we don’t even have cutlasses to fight back. We cannot use any weapon to fight back, we depend on the law enforcement agencies.
“Even the cutlasses that we used to have were taken over by security agencies. Our dane guns the Inspector General said we should surrender them, including those that were licensed. So we are left in the hands of the security men.
“May be other people are sponsoring Miyetti Allah but maybe those ones are ghosts and we don’t know them but the ones we know are Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore. Their leadership is in Abuja and they are known. Until they are apprehended, we’re not going to stop crying.
“Even last Tuesday, 22 May, 2018, while people who attended the mass burial of the priests and other worshipers were coming back, they were ambushed and killed by the same mercenaries, whether Boko Haram or Libyan mercenaries or Fulani herdsmen or whatever you call them. All that we want is that let justice be done to all of us,” Ortom said.