With the attendant anomalies tainting the current administration, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said President Muhammadu Buhari may be operating under a trance.
He said the sooner the President gets out of that trance, the better for the country.
Soyinka, who spoke at a press conference on the damaging consequences of marauding herdsmen activities in the country, said there are several unforced errors going in Nigeria.
With conference titled: “Herdsmen and Nation: Valentine Card or Valedictory Rites?, he gave an analogical tale of a state whose master’s insensitivity allows for the overbearing actions of his subjects.
He lamented that mass destruction of farmlands in the most horrifying manner had become a norm festering with the encouragement of the government’s body language.
He described as appalling the position of the Inspector- General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, that the continuing loss of lives in Benue and consequent increase of internal refugees was simply a communual clash, stressing that little would be achieved in security without the adoption of state policing.
“If the IGP can seat in Abuja and say of an event that is happening under the jurisdiction of a governor in another state is just a communal clash when people are being slaughtered and their villages are being occupied, it shows of complete alienation. Then there is the authority of Governors who have the ultimate authority for security.
“It is the Governor who is supposed to be the Chief Security Officer. We are now back to authoritative voices saying indeed, state police need to be decentralized. We have been saying it and others have been saying for a long time. We are now getting back to the commonsensical issue that the nation cannot function under a single police command,” he said.
Recalling that the menace of the killer herdsmen started about eight years ago, he said the current administration’s body language aggravated the situation.
He called on hunters, vigilance and voluntary groups to disarm the killer herdsmen if police refused to check their activities, noting that hunters in Ogun State had joined forces to protect the state from the killer herders.
Soyinka said, “I am urging voluntary organisations to ask themselves when and how armed herdsmen would be disarmed. They need to ensure that anytime they see armed herdsmen, they report to the nearest police station. But if at some point, the police have not taken action and the armed herdsmen are not disarmed, these voluntary organisations should move into the places and disarm them.
“I mention this deliberately because I don’t want anybody to get the impression that war is being declared. No, no, no. We have not reached that stage and I hope we will not get to that stage.”
He also said Nigeria was in a new form of internal colonialism with the activities of the rampaging herdsmen and urged the police to watch individuals who might be profiting from anarchy.
He said, “I think the police have a responsibility to look at highly placed people in whose interest anarchy can be fostered. We might end up discovering that some of these people – I don’t care whether they are politicians or civil servants – have interest in ensuring that there is chaos from Maiduguri to Lagos.
“We sometimes talk about corruption, but we don’t know how far it can destabilise the polity. When you think of the amount of money that has been stolen in this country…, then you know there are enough illegal funds to destabilise the nation completely.”
Stating that clashes between farmers and herdsmen were not expected, Soyinka decried the way the situation had been handled.
He said, “And also the lies from servants of the public; the cynicism remarks which have been uttered. Can you imagine a minister of defence (Mansur Dan-Ali) opening his mouth to utter obscenities such as, ‘What do you expect the herdsmen to do if the path of their grazing route is blocked?’
“We are talking about the phenomenon of human butchery. We are talking about the villages which have been depopulated… Why is this man still in office? What sort of government tolerates that kind of callous individual within its ranks?”