Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has advised the Federal Government to seek the cooperation of international communities if it cannot cope with the security challenges bedeviling the country.
Soyinka, who gave the advice, in Makurdi, yesterday when he visited Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, said he knows for sure that the international communities would come to Nigeria’s aid to tackle her security challenges.
“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 tumour and stop pretending that this is simply ringworm when we are actually dealing with cancer.
“It is time for government to wake up, particularly, a moment has been lost, a critical moment when this act of impunity could have been stopped.”
Soyinka who averred that the killings that are taking place in Benue and other states are targeted ethnic cleansing, lamented that instead of hunting animals for food, the killer herdsmen are now hunting human beings, an act which he described as barbaric.
“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. Why should an organised force descend on sleepy villages and mull them down, men and women, old and and young children. What is the motivation?”
In his response, governor Ortom described Soyinka as a man of integrity whose words are gold and 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.
Ortom 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 mobilise 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.”
“Now from time to time, we hear of explanation that these are Libyan mercenaries on the loose yes but who brought them here? Who shelters them, who shepherds them, who sponsors them and why?”