Soyinka tells FG to declare herdsmen terrorists

Professor Wole Soyinka has asked the Federal Government to declare as terrorists, herdsmen responsible for attacks in states across the country.

The Nobel Laurette said this on Thursday in Lagos, while delivering his keynote speech at the Ripples Nigeria Dialogue; an annual forum designed to broaden the conversation on issues troubling the nation.

He believes it is high time the federal government gives a stern warning against the carnage and utter destruction they inflict on the communities.

“We’re speaking of governance, will, and responsibility, the readiness to respond with massive punitive action when the fundamental security of a people is violated.

“We’re speaking here of a president showing up at the arena of human desecration, not to shed any anxious tears, but to read the riot act and give an order, right on the scene of violation.

“Order his forces into action against the arrogant, blood-thirsty renegades of society who wallow in the blood of others, having been assured one way or the other, of a cloak of impunity.

“We’re speaking of the courage to decree such monsters terrorists and enemies of humanity with the same dispatch as the declaration of fireless violent, far less destabilising movements, albeit disruptive, supernaturalism and sometimes nasty in their attestation and activities”.

Soyinka also talked about the need for Nigerians to wake up and stand against capital punishment being suggested in the proposed Hate Speech Bill.

“Life has become so trite, so cheap, that a group of supposedly rational, intelligent people in this world, especially a world that is trying to get rid of its degrading punishment called capital punishment and they come and decree hanging, No, they’re not going to hang anybody.

“They just want an instrument to silence people. It is ironic, of course, that I should call Nigerians to resist this law,” he said.

Soyinka also condemned the abduction of school girls in Daphchi in Yobe State by Boko Haram members.

He said that the abduction would have been prevented if those saddled with ensuring security in the school had done the right thing.

The Nobel laureate described Boko Haram as “blood sucking “, saying their activities are a threat to humanity.

On the myriads of problems facing the country, Soyinka said Nigeria would be a better country if leaders were committed to service and the welfare of the people.

The Nobel Laureate, however, said the followership also had its share of blame for some of the problems.

He said working nations were not built by leaders alone but by good followers too.

On the “shit hole” remark made by President Donald Trump about Nigeria and some other countries, Soyinka said the American president latched on the numerous problems in the country.

According to him, if Nigerians had made the country work, Trump would not have had the opportunity to use such derogatory term to refer to the country.

Soyinka, however, said he was not disappointed by President Trump’s comment as he had always seen him as not fit for the office.

Soyinka also urged the government at all levels to be alive to their responsibility.

In his contribution, Dr. Reuben Abati, immediate past  Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, said there was a disconnect between leadership and followership in the country .

He attributed the disconnect to the mistrust between the two, in the light of failure of leadership to deliver the goods.

Abati urged leaders to discharge their responsibilities to the people, not only to earn the trust of their followers, but also to promote the development in the country. 

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