Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has urged the federal government to seek international assistance to curb the menace of killings, currently being perpetrated by suspected herders nationwide. Soyinka made the call yesterday during a courtesy call on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state at the People’s House in Makurdi, after attending the 35th anniversary of Senator Suemo Chia’s novel, Adan Wade Kohol Ga, written in Tiv.
According to him, if the government cannot cope and put an end to the killings, it should not shy away from asking for international help. Soyinka noted that the refusal of government to “recognise, and at the critical moment, the nature of a particular problem” was what resulted in the massacres going on in the region, especially Benue state
He said: “I don’t believe in false pride.
If the government cannot cope, it should not shy away from asking for international help. “When human lives are concerned in their thousands and so on, as it was observed everywhere all over the world; if these complements will be returned and for those nations where our military has served before to come to our assistance, I think there should be no business of national integrity, national pride and so on.
“People are dying, so this government cannot cope. Please just ask for international help and I know they are ready and willing to come to our aid.”
The literary giant further noted that the “trouble with not calling things by their proper names and at the right time is what usually lead communities, nations, and people generally to start treating a malignant tumour with Vaseline.” “There is no other word to describe what is happening in Benue and there is need to play around with the euphemisms. It is ethnic cleansing.
There’s no other definition for what has been going on here. The phenomenon of human beings rising against one another and butchering innocents in their hundreds and thousands has always been something of a mystery to me. “As some of you know, one of my favourite hobbies is hunting. You hunt animals for food, but why do you hunt human beings? Why should an organised force descend on sleeping villages and mow them down, men, women, the old and children? What’s the motivation? “Now from time to time, we hear explanations like ‘these are Libyan mercenaries on the loose.’ Yes, but who brought them here? Who shelters them?
Who supports 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”? Soyinka said it was his opinion that the recent killing of two priests and worshippers is a deliberate diversion.
“I think this is just a campaign of ethnic cleansing for the purpose of occupation of land; that is one. Two, our feelings are that some really desperate politicians who are sponsoring these mercenaries in order to create chaos in advance of the next election, because they are desperate to stay in power and continue to enjoy immunity. “But I think it’s time for all of us to come together and really probe this tumour and stop pretending that this is simply ringworm when we are actuality dealing with cancer in this society.” Responding, Governor Ortom described what’s happening in the state as ethnic cleansing and Jihad. “This is not a hidden agenda; it’s known and those people who are perpetrating it did say it. They’re not hidden. They said it clearly and it’s written and we have the documents and I have reported them to the security agencies. “Several policemen have been killed in the course of this crisis. Soldiers and Civil Defence are not spared; State Security Services are not also spared.
“They have been killed and slaughtered like animals. So, like you rightly said, this is not a matter of ringworm, but real cancer.” He, however, commended the Noble Laureate for the solidarity and President Muhammadu Buhari for upgrading the military action in the state, and expressed the hope that the invaders would be flushed out.