Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari complaint that ‘it is unjust for the public to accuse him of being silent on the killer herdsmen’.
In a statement he issued yesterday, titled, ‘On Demand: A Language Of Non-Capitulation, Non-Appeasement,’ Soyinka said Buhari had yet to speak in the language that these murdering herdsmen understand – simply, “that forceful seizure of land will not be tolerated in any part of a federation under his governance. That the temporary acquisition of weapons of mass elimination by any bunch of psychopaths and anachronistic feudal mentality will not translate into subjugation of a people and a savaging of their communities. That any such gains are illusory and temporary and will be reversed.”
While pointing out that it is belated, said, “many in this nation have had bitter cause to conclude that governance had indeed expired, its elected head in a trance. It is not that long ago when I demanded that this declaration of intent – the reversal of land expropriation through mass murder – be made, and that the triumphalist beneficiaries of such obscene occupation agenda be openly given a deadline to self-evacuate, or be forcefully evicted.”
Commending what he termed the first pertinent proclamation from the presidency since the herdsmen national affliction began, the venerable writer also said, “a commitment is now firmly in hand, but enforcement is all, so is the tempo of enforcement.”
Soyinka said a lot have taken place, and cannot be ignored, such as erasing of communities from the national landscape, thousands of family mourning, survivors scarred and traumatised beyond measure, famine looming in many areas, even in those lodged in acknowledged bread baskets of the nation.
He urged government to provide visible pragmatic measures to assist in bolstering optimism of victims, enable them to feel that they have not been abandoned, such as relocation of security commands to vulnerable zones, deployment of Special Forces and attack helicopters. He also said these are mandatory measures, and “their absence that constitute unpardonable negligence.”
He also urged government to take into consideration, “long term propositions, such as establishment of ranches, restriction of cattle movements, cultivation of fast growth grasses and so on – they all indicate far-sighted planning. They deserve approbation, but they are not exclusively remedial.”He also lent his voice on the need for community police, saying, “Community policing is a basic right of society and, where needed with whatever weaponry is available to them.”
The community knows itself, the members know one another, and all know their terrain. Could the military save Barkin Ladi? More pertinently, can the military protect every village in the fast expanding territory of cattlemen terror?”