As the killing of farmers in Benue and other states of their federation by suspected armed Fulani mercenaries continue unabated, Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka yesterday implored there Federal Government to urgently seek for the assistance of the International Community to end the impunity perpetrated by herdsmen insurgents against the people.
Besides, he challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to give 48 hours notice to the various security apparatuses in the country to flush out the invaders illegally occupying the lands belonging to Benue people to enable Internally Displaced Persons to return to their ancestral homes.
Professor Soyinka who stated this during a courtesy call on Governor Ortom at the government house in Makurdi after the celebration of an indigenous literary work written by a second republic Senator, Suemo Chia, faulted President Muhammadu for his slow pace at addressing critical matters of security as it affects some states of the federation particularly Benue State where more than 492 people have been massacred in 18 out of 23 local government areas of the state.
“If the government cannot cope, it should not shy away from asking for international help. When human lives are concerned in their thousands and so on, as it was observed everywhere all over the world, if these complements will be returned and for those nations where our military has served before to come to our assistance”.
“I think there should be no business of national integrity, national pride and so on. People are dying so this government cannot cope. Please just ask for international help and I know they are ready and willing to come to our aid”.
“The critical moment by the way has been lost. The critical moment when this act of impunity, this rampage of impunity could have been stopped if the President of this nation had gone to the site of the first atrocity and said this would not be tolerated and I want this place sanitized by the military, it would not have had this succession of killings which have even been given from time to time religious overtones”.
He condemned the killing of the two Catholic Priests and 17 parishioners inside the place of worship, saying, it was an ethnic cleansing plot to occupy the people’s land and sponsored by “desperate politicians in order to create chaos ahead of the 2019 general elections and continue to perpetuate themselves in power and enjoy immunity.
“My feeling by the way about the recent killing of the Priests and the congregation is that it was a deliberate diversion. I think this is just a campaign of ethnic cleansing for the purpose of occupation of land, that is one. Two, our feelings are that some really desperate politicians are sponsoring these mercenaries in order to create chaos in advance of the next election because they are desperate to stay in power and continue to enjoy immunity”.
He observed that if the country had right thinking people around the corridors of power of the federal government, the killings rocking states wouldn’t have gone protracted the way it is, as those behind it would have since been identified and apprehended to confront justice.
“I think it’s time for all of us to come together and really probe this tumour and stop pretending that this is simply ringworm when we are actuality dealing with cancer in this society”.
Governor Ortom in a response, blamed the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for the sustained attacks and killing of innocent people of the state and reiterated his call for the their arrest and prosecution to put killing impasse to rest.
The governor said the killings in the state was purely an ethnic cleansing and a Jihadist agenda to confiscate the fertile land given to the people by God.
He said people of the state have no weapon to confront the armed Fulani herdsmen, and would continue to ask for justice until the perpetrators are arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.
They (Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore ledaers) said it clearly and it’s written and we have the documents and I have reported them to the security agencies. I am in agreement with you but as law abiding citizens, we don’t even have cutlasses to fight back. We cannot use any weapon to fight back, we depend on the law enforcement agencies”.
Governor Ortom commended the federal government for the deployment of more troops for a military operation and expressed optimism that the gesture would bring to an end the killing and occupation of the people’s land.