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Herdsmen Have Declared War Against Nigeria- Soyinka

Alarmed by the mounting death toll arising from the gruesome attacks allegedly perpetuated by armed herdsmen on communities in Benue and Taraba States, among other neighbouring states, Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka yesterday cried out that the herdsmen “have declared war against the nation”, citing their serial attacks on innocent citizens.

Soyinka, a renowned playwright and poet, also said the federal government was “culpable, definitely guilty of looking the other way while the herdsmen attacked communities without let or hindrance”, noting that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari “must indeed be held complicit”.

He expressed disappointment in the manner the administration has treated the nefarious activities of the herdsmen across the country in a statement he issued yesterday, stressing that this present national outrage was “over impunity”.

In a four-page statement titled: “Impunity Rides Again”, Soyinka said the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) did not come anywhere close to the homicidal propensity and attempt at dominance before it was declared a terrorist organisation.

While acknowledging that some progress had been made by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh in the last two and a half years in improved farm produce, the Nobel laureate in outright terms rejected the minister’s explanation that the federal government had neglected livestock farmers over the years.

He said citing government neglect as the rationale would make the herdsmen attacks sound like the full story, but applauded the plan by Ogbeh’s ministry “to empower and organise herdsmen and cow farming”.

“I am in a position to know that much thought – and practical steps – have gone into long-term plans for bringing about the creation of ‘ranches’, ‘colonies’ – whatever the name – including the special cultivation of fodder for animal feed and so on and on.

“However, the present national outrage is over impunity. It rejects the right of any set of people, for whatever reason, to take arms against their fellow men and women, to acknowledge their exploits in boastful and justifying accents and, in effect, promise more of the same as long as their terms and demands are not met.

“In plain language, they have declared war against the nation, and their weapon is undiluted terror. Why have they been permitted to become a menace to the rest of us? That is the issue!” he charged.

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