- Tension has been running high over herdsmen crisis in different parts of Nigeria
- Lending his voice to the matter, Wole Soyinka has stressed the urgent need to resolve the crisis
- According to him, the herdsmen have declared war and if not addressed properly, could lead to something unpalatable
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has sounded a warning over the herdsmen crisis across communities in Nigeria. He said if not properly handled, it could degenerate into a civil war.
In an interview with BBC Pidgin, Soyinka said the herders have continued acting with impunity because they feel it is one of their kinsman that is in power.
“My fear is that it could degenerate into violence that ends up in—I hate to use the word—a civil war unless we take action. I’m glad that governors are already dialoguing with groups like Miyetti Allah (cattle breeders)."
The Nobel Laureate noted that a consensus needs to be reached that will be favourable to all parties.
According to him, the country is fighting against an enemy that believes in doing as it pleases. He added:
"They believe they have immunity or that nothing can happen to them. That is why, in my own state, you find a soldier taking the side of an enemy.
"They actually escort killers, rapists, raiders while flogging the victims."
Soyinka said this would not be the case if the people are conscious of the nature of their enemy, encouraged to mobilise on their own behalf and also collaborate with the security forces.
For some time now, there has been tension over herdsmen operations in Nigeria following accusations that they are responsible for killings and abductions in the southwest.
In January, the governor of Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu, asked the herders to vacate the state’s forest reserves.
Also, Sunday ‘Igboho’ Adeyemo, a youth leader, asked herders to exit Ibarapa local government area of Oyo, where attacks also occurred.
In reaction, the Northern Governors' Forum (NGF) kicked against the threats, saying no herder should be prevented from doing his business in the southwest.
The NGF called on all stakeholders, including traditional rulers and security agencies to work together in achieving peace in the nation.