The time for false pride is over’ — Soyinka writes a powerful message to Buhari over killings

Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to seek help if the federal government lacks the necessary resources to curtail the wanton killings across the country.

Soyinka issued the advice in a statement titled ‘ON DEMAND: A Language of Non-Capitulation, Non-Appeasement!’

According to the literary scholar, while vocal condemnation of the attacks is needed to “offer glimmerings of eventual measures of equity and restitution”, it should be backed with “visible pragmatic measures” which he listed to include “relocation of security commands to vulnerable zones, deployment of special forces and attack helicopters”.

“It is a time of far-reaching, yet immediate decisions. The nation is dying. The time for false pride is over,” Soyinka said.

“If this nation lacks the necessary technical resources, then there remains only one blameless, overdue recourse: “Get Help, Mr. President!

“Statements of outrage, humane sentiment, empathy, even visitations to afflicted areas are natural expectations from government, and perfectly in order. They are essential indications of concern and solidarity, even of admissions of lapses. They offer glimmerings of eventual measures of equity and restitution – of which we must never lose sight – else community sinks into despair, or enters the interminable spiral of reprisals.

“Visible pragmatic measures additionally assist in bolstering the optimism of victims, enable them to feel that they have not been abandoned.  Such are the relocation of security commands to vulnerable zones, deployment of Special Forces and attack helicopters etc. etc. – yes – all these are mandatory measures, it is their absence that constitute unpardonable negligence.

“Long term propositions, such as establishment of ranches, restriction of cattle movements, cultivation of fast growth grasses and so on – they all indicate far-sighted planning. They deserve approbation, but they are not exclusively remedial.”

The scholar described the loss of over 100 lives in Plateau as “formal annunciation of a new law”.

“From now on, for every missing, maimed, even legally seized cow – perhaps for trespassing and damage – one human being shall die, and commensurate land shall be forfeited,” he said.

“Make no mistake, that is the message! Berom or Ondo, Tiv or Efik. Egba or Igalla – it makes no difference – this is the language, and if your government does not understand it yet, we, whose field is language, both spoken and symbolic, must decode it for you. Myetti Allah has spoken. It has inscribed this new law across the landscape in bloody lettering.”

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