After Naijiant.com wrote earlier this month about Nobel Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka’s strange silence on the atrocities that have been happening under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch, Soyinka, who backed Buhari at the last (s)election, has finally decided he couldn’t keep quiet any longer about spike in murderous attacks by Fulani herdsmen across the country.
In an address to the National Conference on Culture and Tourism, captured the frustrations of many Nigerians, as only he can:
“I have yet to hear this government articulate a firm policy of non-tolerance for the serial massacres that have become the nation’s identification stamp.”
“I have not heard an order given that any cattle herders caught with sophisticated firearms be instantly disarmed, arrested, placed on trial, and his cattle confiscated. The nation is treated to an eighteen-month optimistic plan which, to make matters worse, smacks of abject appeasement and encouragement of violence on innocents.
“Let me repeat, and of course I only ask to be corrected if wrong: I have yet to encounter a terse, rigorous, soldierly and uncompromising language from this leadership, one that threatens a response to this unconscionable blood-letting that would make even Boko Haram repudiate its founding clerics.
“When I read a short while ago, the Presidential assurance to this nation that the current homicidal escalation between the cattle prowlers and farming communities would soon be over, I felt mortified.
“He had the solution, he said. Cattle ranches were being set up, and in another 18 months, rustlings, destruction of livelihood and killings from herdsmen would be ‘a thing of the past’. 18 months, he assured the nation. I believe his Minister of Agriculture echoed that later, but with a less dispiriting time schema.
“Neither, however, could be considered a message of solace and reassurance for the ordinary Nigerian farmer and the lengthening cast of victims, much less to an intending tourist to the Forest Retreat of Tinana in the Rivers, the Ikogosi Springs or the moslem architectural heritage of the ancient city of Kano. In any case, the external tourists have less hazardous options.
“But now, would the young adventurous set out to visit the mystery caves of Anambra and its alleged curative pools from mere interest? “They would think twice about it. It is not merely arbitrary violence that reigns across the nation but total, undisputed impunity. Impunity evolves and becomes integrated in conduct when crime occurs and no legal, logical and moral response is offered.
“The leadership of any society cannot stand idly and offer solutions that implicitly deem the massacres of innocents mere incidents on the way to that learning school.
“For every crime, there is a punishment, for every violation, there must be restitution. The nomads of the world cannot place themselves above the law of settled humanity.”