NOBEL Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over his reaction to the Fulani herdsmen attacks and killings across the country.
He said it was short of expectation.
The latest in the orgy of violence, bloodbath and killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen occurred on Monday at Nimbo community in Enugu.
Buhari who had been serially slammed for refusing to move against the marauding herdsmen, finally broke his silence on Wednesday when he said the circle of violence would be a thing of the past within the next 18 months.
But, Soyinka faulted Buhari’s assurances and said it was unacceptable as it failed to provide any reassurance for Nigerians.
The playwright, who spoke at the National Conference on Culture and Tourism, in Osogbo, Osun State, said: “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’. Eighteen 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.”
According to him, the signs were already clear and “the rampage of impunity was already manifesting a cultic intensity of alarming proportions almost a year ago.”
Soyinka expressed the fear that if nothing concrete was done, the current violence and killings by the herdsmen would among other things hurt tourism in the country. 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. I have yet to hear this government articulate a firm policy of non-tolerance for the serial massacres 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 18-month optimistic plan, which, to make matters worse, smacks of abject appeasement and encouragement of violence on innocents.”
Senate summons service chiefs
Meanwhile, Senate resolved to invite security chiefs to brief the chamber on the movement of fleeing terrorists to ensure that measures are put in place to forestall a spread of terrorists activities all over the country.
The lawmakers, after a lengthy debate of the issue, resolved to set up an Ad-hoc committee of six senators to further consider the problem and to proffer solutions.
Members of the ad-hoc committee to be drawn from the six geo-political zones included Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (North East), Senator Shehu Sani (North West), Senator Isiaka Adeleke (South West), Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (South East), Senator Ben Bruce Murray (South South) and Senator Abdullahi Adamu (North Central).
The committee was mandated to conduct a Public Hearing on the menace of herdsmen next week. Senators from the South East and the South South spoke with one voice in condemnation of the menace of Fulani herdsmen in the region. They threatened to invoke their powers if no concrete plan was made to stop activities of the herdsmen.