From Uche Nnorom Makurdi
Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has urged the Nigerian Government to shed off national pride and integrity and seek international assistance in confronting its security challenges.
Prof. Soyinka who gave this advise yesterday in Makurdi, Benue State capital while paying a courtesy visit on Governor Samuel Ortom at Government House, noted that the government is showing off false pride when lives of thousands of people are concerned.
He said it is time that the country seek international help as a return of compliment from those nations where our military have served.
“I think there is no business of national integrity and pride, people are dying since government cannot handle the situation, it should seek international help and I know they are willing to help,” Soyinka said.
He regretted at the massacre going on the region especially in Benue state, maintaining that there is no other word to describe what is happening than ‘ethnic cleansing.
“ Let us not play around with euphemism. There is no other word but ethnic cleansing. There is no other definition for what has been going on and it is very sad personally to me to see a nation like Nigeria with so much human talents have failed to learn the lesson of the history of places like Rwanda. I happen to have been very much involved in the Rwandan situation precariously simply because of the phenomenal of human beings rising against another and butchering innocent people in their hundreds and thousands has always been something of mystery to me. Some of you know that my favorite hobby is hunting, to hunt animals for food but why do you hunt human being? Why should an organized force descend on men, women, old and children, what is the motivation.
“Now, from time to time, we hear of explanations 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? You kill human beings very often because you want their land. And that is why I threw a challenge at the President and I said why don’t you give those who are occupying land that does not belong to them 48 hours’ notice to get out of there and then, those who you find still in those villages where the proper indigenous occupants have been ousted.
“ There are hundreds and thousands still traumatized by Boko Haram and then, you add this new menace and it seem like, it is impossible to contain and at least to track the origin of their mission, I find that very, very difficult to accept. And so, there is anger unquestionably and that is, human emotion, “He stated.
He also, accused the President of not taking proactive steps from the outset in curbing the killings, arguing that he could have gone to the site of the first atrocity and said this would not be tolerated as well as given charge that the place be sanitized by the military and this succession of killings which have even been given from time to time religious overtones.
“My feeling with the killing of priests and congregation, it was a deliberate diversion. I think it is a campaign of ethnic cleansing for the purpose of occupation. Our feeling is that there are desperate politicians who are sponsoring these mercenaries in order order to create chaos in advance of the next election. And because they are desperate to stay in power to continue to enjoy immunity.”
In his response, Governor Samuel Ortom who eulogized Prof. Wole Soyinka as a man of integrity, a voice for the downtrodden and oppressed, noted that his words are encouraging to the people.
He insisted that the agenda of the killers are not hidden as it for occupation, reiterating his call for the arrest of leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who are responsible for the killings.