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Benue killings: Stop the ethnic cleansing now, Soyinka urges Buhari


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buhariLAGOS—AS Nigeria joins the world to celebrate Workers’ Day tomorrow, NOBEL Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has urged President Muhammadu to stop Nigeria from sinking by putting a stop to the recurring killings in many parts of the country, which he described as ethnic cleansing.

Likening Nigeria to the Aeroflot Flight 593 September 28, 1994 disaster where the pilot did not have the chance to control the plane or call for help (May Day) because he left his children in the cockpit and went to the aisle to greet passengers after putting the plane on auto-pilot, Soyinka in a statement yesterday said the President must act urgently to stem the descent into the abyss.

Disturbed by the unceasing killings perpetrated by herdsmen in many parts of the country, he said: ‘’The rockface is in right in our faces. Let us now take leave of parables and parallels. I propose one simple test, couched in a handful of minimalist demands, for President Buhari, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Nigeria:SOYINKA
‘’Give a nation-wide order to all land-usurpers in the affected towns and villages across the nation to quit those forcefully occupied lands within a 48 hours deadline. Issue orders to the military and police that, wherever illegal occupiers are found, they should be meted the same treatment as are accorded terrorists. Instruct all agencies that, once cleared of usurpers, the rightful occupants should be escorted back to their farmsteads and villages and provided maximum protection.

“We must go beyond arresting a token handful of herders caught with arms – there are still hundreds of them in the forests. It is not enough to back the anti- open grazing laws, so late in the day, but we shall leave that for later. Right now, the violated and dispossessed demand restitution, and with no further delay or subterfuge.”

All available forces should be deployed to right a hideous, unprecedented wrong that has left the nation drowning in blood – we simply cannot continue one day longer to endure this forceful feeding of human blood. The plain expression is “ethnic cleansing” and we must not beat around the bush. The shade of Rwanda hangs over the nation.

‘’Afterwards, we can move into reckoning. This spells meticulous investigation, identifying the high-placed sponsors within this nation, some of whom have launched mercenary units to intensifycarnage and chaos in order to stem the stride of Nemesis closing in on them for past criminalities, and the cascade of corruptrevelations.We shall move into questions, such as: what is a Minister of Defence, who openly justified the homicidal rampage of nomadic herdsmen, still doing in government? And there are other pressing and disturbing questions, some of which are held back for now, simply in order not to impede the pressing imperatives and humane priorities of the current crisis. Right now however, the agenda has to be Restitution. Restitution to the displaced, the maimed, the traumatized survivors and the nation’s suppurating psyche. The torrent of Internally Displaced Persons is a national shame, and the growing number of the kidnapped an embarrassment. The plane cannot remain on auto-pilot as hitherto, while the pilot strolls up and down the aisle, assuring passengers that all is well.’’


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