The Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to address the herdsmen to toe the path of ranching, else his silence would mean he is complicit in the ongoing crises.
Soyinka was speaking with the BBC at the weekend when he gave the advice.
The Nobel laureate wondered why Mr Buhari has failed to address the nation especially as the buck stops at his desk.
He warned that the current situation particularly across the country, particularly in the Southwest, may develop into a civil war.
“What do they expect of us now that the war is on our doorstep? Of course there will be mobilisation and if we keep waiting for this to be centrally handled, we are all going to become, if not already slaves in our land. That to me is personally intolerable. It is not an acceptable condition.
“And whatever it takes, I stand ready to contribute in any way and I have made my governor understand this, that we are here not just to live in but to live in dignity. Right now, our dignity is being rubbished. My forest is being taken over, it’s been shrinking, my normal hunting ground is shrinking. My family tells me that if I go in depth again, they will have me institutionalised.”
He noted that the president should say openly “that yes, I know I am the patron of the cattle rearers association etc., and I am a cattle rancher myself and it is a business. And I do not run my business by killing people. I do not run my business by raping, by displacing, by torturing. I do not run my business by occupying land that does not belong to me and I am warning a business people in the food commodity, all cattle reared, whatever comes to you for illegal occupation for trespassing on other people’s property is your business and I am ordering the army, I am ordering all the security forces to back citizens’ efforts in flushing you out.”
Soyinka said he expects nothing else at this stage from Mr Buhari than the statement he suggested.
“It is very late already but it is not too late. This is a language that we expect from President Buhari and as much as that language does not come, I must consider him as quite complicit in what is going on because the buck stops at his desk.
“We may enter a phase of serious skirmishes which get more and more violent and may develop into civil war and a very untidy mercy one. That’s my biggest fear. Unless action is taken… I am very glad that the governors are coming together and are discussing in all seriousness. I’m happy they are pulling in groups like Miyetti Allah, obviously knocking some sense into the head of their leaders and they are talking about accepting the decision of governors and agreeing to obey.”