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Killings: Politicians Sponsoring Killings For 2019 – Wole Soyinka |RN

By Cephas Iorhemen, MAKURDI

Prof-Wole-Soyinka

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 compliments 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 an 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 actually 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 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 leaders) 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. (New Telegraph)

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Killings: Nigeria Experiencing Ethnic Cleansing, Says Soyinka |The Republican News

wolesoyinka

 

Gbenga Adeniji

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said Nigeria is on a terminal nose-dive and that its pilot, who he noted is missing, must cry for international help as many had advised.

Soyinka, who stated this in a statement he issued on Sunday titled, “May Day! May Day!! May Day!!!,” in commemoration of the 2018 Workers’ Day described the ongoing killings in the country as “ethnic cleansing.”

The critic, who said May Day,  that he uttered thrice, signified a distress call, adding that long before its adoption for that function, however, and more traditionally, there did exist Labour (or Workers’) Day, dedicated to the entitlement of workers to the value and dignity of their labour.

He noted that the Nigerian constituency was left to determine which attribution – or both, or none – was deafeningly clamorous on May 1, 2018.

Soyinka stated, “No matter, one feels it a duty to call the attention to the painful convergence of both appropriations. Could such a co-option serve equally as a summons for a last-chance, eleventh-hour reprieve?”

The celebrated playwright also drew what he termed ‘eerie parallels’ in the country’s current situation to a “certain May Day disorder, one in which that distress call was never heard.”

He further likened the present state of things in Nigeria to the Aeroflot Flight 593 of September 28, 1994, in which all passengers died because the captain unprofessionally left the pilot’s seat for his family members while he went to salute the passengers.

Soyinka said, “After preliminary official denials, the undeniable – and a tragically inappropriate factor of the crash was formally acknowledged – a laissez-faire, unprofessional conduct with human lapses, among which nepotism – by that, or any other name-loomed large. The captain was not even in the pilot’s seat – others were! They were the pilot’s family – mostly his children. The family member who actually begun the spiral of disaster by pulling the wrong control leaver was – the Captain’s son, to whom his even younger daughter, some moments earlier, had yielded the controls. The pilot’s seat had been turned into a family game of musical chairs.

“Where was the Captain? Somewhere along the aisle, saluting the passengers – all quite proper, and indeed encouraged by regulations. He had placed the plane on auto-pilot – just as this nation has been for some time – so he walked between the seats, dispensing and acknowledging greetings – it was a long flight to Hong Kong, after all.

“The plane went into a sharp turn after the wrong lever was pulled, and the autopilot disengaged. The original flight pattern was annulled -does that echo a campaign manifesto? – and the plane was now in unqualified hands. It took ages for the pilot to regain his control seat as some passengers were already tumbling from their seats into the aisle and he had to fight his way through bodily obstacles. All that, from a reconstruction of events.

The ‘black box’ – or flight recorder – indicates that the pilot never even got round to shouting ‘May Day’ over the radio – he was too busy struggling to restore the plane’s technical functions, shout  instructions, pull the plane out of a nose-dive, and attempt to right the craft – too late!

“Now flash forwards one decade to our present, and recall the number of desperate organisations calling on the Nigerian captain to bury his pride and cry ‘May Day” across all airwaves. Call out for international help to rescue a nation on its terminal nose-dive!

“There has been no sign of willing, while the screwed-up plane is now in its corkscrew dive. Even if this captain regains his seat before the crash, it is open season whether or not, like SUV Flight 593, it will not stall, and head straight for Zuma rockface. Strangers are in control in the cockpit. Put simply, the captain is missing. The rock face is in right in our faces.”

He further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order all land usurpers in the affected towns and villages across the country to vacate the forcefully occupied lands within 48 hours.

Soyinka urged him to order the military and the police to treat illegal land occupiers as terrorists wherever they were found.

He said, “Give a nationwide order to all land-usurpers in the affected towns and villages across the nation to quit those forcefully occupied lands within a forty-eight hours deadline.

“Issue orders to the military and police that, wherever illegal occupiers are found, they should be meted the same treatment as are accorded terrorists. Instruct all agencies that, once cleared of usurpers, the rightful occupants should be escorted back to their farmsteads and villages and provided maximum protection.”

Saying that the government must go beyond arresting a token handful of herders caught with arms, he added that there were still hundreds of them in the forests.

He added, “It is not enough to back the anti-open grazing laws, so late in the day, but we shall leave that for later. Right now, the violated and dispossessed demand restitution, and with no further delay or subterfuge. All available forces should be deployed to right a hideous, unprecedented wrong that has left the nation drowning in blood – we simply cannot continue one day longer to endure this forceful feeding off human blood.

“The plain expression is “ethnic cleansing” and we must not beat around the bush. The shade of Rwanda hangs over the nation. Afterwards, we can move into the reckoning. This spells meticulous investigation, identifying the high-placed sponsors within this nation, some of whom have launched mercenary units to intensify carnage and chaos in order to stem the stride of Nemesis closing in on them for past criminalities, and the cascade of corrupt revelations.”

The celebrated playwright queried what the minister of defence, who allegedly openly justified the homicidal rampage of nomadic herdsmen, was still doing in the Buhari government.

Soyinka noted that there were still other pressing and disturbing questions which would be held back for now in order not “to impede the pressing imperatives and humane priorities of the current crisis.”

“Right now, however, the agenda has to be restitution. Restitution to the displaced, the maimed, the traumatised survivors and the nation’s suppurating psyche. The torrent of internally displaced persons is a national shame, and the growing number of the kidnapped an embarrassment.

“The plane cannot remain on auto-pilot as hitherto, while the pilot strolls up and down the aisle, assuring passengers that all is well. A Happy May Day – hopefully in the not too distant future – to all who labour for humanity.” (Punch)

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2019: Reject Recycled, Jaded Politicians, Prof. Soyinka Tells Nigerians |RN

Wole Soyinka

Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka at “Le Conversazioni” on Capri, July 2012

Oladimeji Ramon

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, said on Sunday that he had already formed his opinion about the government of the ruling All Progressives Congress and knew exactly “where I’m going to cast my vote” when voting time comes.

But Soyinka warned Nigerians not to allow themselves to be hoodwinked by those he said took part in the destruction of the country, but were now parading themselves as the Messiah.

He urged Nigerians not to allow themselves to be plunged into “a zone of amnesia,” but to go back and check the track records of such people and the company they kept.

The don said it was the time that the old political order in the country is broken to give way for a new generation that would take over the country and throw out of the window “the same jaded traitors and enemies of the people” that were being recycled in power.

Also, an activist lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), said Nigeria was facing a serious crisis of governance, and called on the people to be very careful “so that we do not allow those who destroyed the country, those who ruined the nation, to pose as the saviour of our people.”

Soyinka and Falana spoke alongside others at a public lecture on Sunday organised to mark the 80th posthumous birthday of the late human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN).

The lecture, with the theme, “Democracy for the masses through proper and effective governance,” held at Alausa, Ikeja.

Setting the tone for the discussion, Soyinka, who chaired the occasion, urged Nigerians to beware of those who called themselves the God-designated watchmen over the country’s fortune.

He said, “Don’t allow yourself to plunge into a zone of amnesia, in which you conveniently forget unpleasant realities. We’ve had Presidents in this nation, some of whom inaugurated a never-ending democratic process, which landed us eventually under the most brutal dictators that this nation has ever known. We had others also who actually supervised the sacking of ‘democratic government.’

“I’m speaking of Anambra, I’m speaking of Oyo State, a governor was kidnapped under their watch with their complicity; in another instance, thugs actually entered the House of Assembly, sacked the legislators and installed their own candidates; under the same watch. And they call themselves the God-designated watchman over the fortunes of this nation. And suddenly, here they are and I see Nigerians flocking to them and asking them once again to lead.

“Mind you, they’ve said very clearly: if it becomes a political party, count me out o; but paths are already being beaten to their doors – control by surrogation.  Even if they do not individually put themselves back in the position of power, they are already smoothening the way for their surrogates, their stooges, so that they can continue to misrule from their cosy farmsteads. So, all I’m urging is: be very vigilant.”

Soyinka said while he had already taken a stand on the current government, it would be like adding salt to an injury to allow himself to be hoodwinked by those who want to rule the country by a surrogate.

He added, “For heaven’s sake, also grow up. Why do you need patronage? Why cannot a new order arise from this nation? Why can’t a new generation actually rise, throw us all out of the window and take control of their own lives by themselves? Why do we keep recycling the same jaded, traitors and enemies of the people? Why do you need to go for blessing somewhere if you’ve made up your mind that it is time to take control of your own existence? Why the constant trooping?

“I don’t understand it and that’s why I used the expression grow up for heaven’s sake. Be vigilant and take your own destiny in your hands. Once again, I don’t want to be misunderstood, I know what I think about this government when voting time comes, I know exactly where I’m going to cast my vote but I’m not going to allow anybody to hoodwink me and say I will show you the path. No, this will be adding insult to injury.”

Aligning himself with Soyinka, Falana said, “Like the chairman on the occasion, Prof. Wole Soyinka, said, this period calls for vigilance on the part of Nigerians. Our country is undergoing serious crises of governance but we must be very careful so that we do not allow those who destroyed the country, those who ruined the nation to pose as the saviour of our people.

“There’s somebody living very close to this place who has been parading himself as the saviour of our people; this guy ruled the country for 11 and a half years cumulatively – three and a half years under the military, eight years under a civilian dispensation. And he even wanted to do a third term but Nigerians rejected him. The guy is going around the country now, claiming to have solutions to our problems; I wish to say here and we are challenging him to name one thing that he did, any problem of the country that he solved.

“On the contrary, this guy wasted $16bn to generate darkness for the country. This guy formed and took over the resources of the country blindly under what he called blind trust. Nigeria is the only country in the world where a sitting President and a sitting Vice-President established private universities when the government refused to fund public universities and other tertiary institutions.

“Gani went to court to challenge the extortion of state governments and contractors by a man who realised N7bn to set up a so-called library. Under the constitution, any gift received while you are in office, other than customary gifts, is forfeitable to the state; therefore, at the right time, this country, when it is properly organised will take over all those universities and libraries that were set up with public funds and that may be sooner than you think.”

Also, Senator Shehu Sani said though the country was out of military rule it had yet to attain true democracy. He called on the people not to vote based on political parties but to vote individuals who they could trust.

“The political ruling elite are not yet prepared to see to a democratic Nigeria. Nigeria’s political reality is about personal interest. Those who destroyed our country in the past are very much present as born-agains. The integrity of one person is not enough to rule and sustain a state. We have a President who is a man of integrity but integrity is not enough for leadership,” Sani said.

But the Publisher of Sahara Reporters and presidential hopeful, Omoyele Sowoye, rejected Sani’s description of President Muhammadu Buhari as a man of integrity.

Sowore said, “I want to say very briefly that Nigeria must be regretting that when they had a chance to choose between Chief Gani Fawehinmi and a Barabbas, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, they decided to choose Obasanjo instead of choosing Gani Fawehinmi and that is why we are regretting today.”   (Punch)

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BREAKING: Buhari Is In A Trance – Soyinka |The Republican News

Wole Soyinka

Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka at “Le Conversazioni” on Capri, July, 2012

Gbenga Adeniji

Revered playwright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said President Muhammadu Buhari is in a trance.

Soyinka, while reacting to a question on the three things he would tell the President if he meets him, stated, “I will say Mr. President you are in a trance.”

He added that the sooner the President got out of the trance, the better for the nation.

Asked the form of trance the President was in, the Nobel laureate said, “I don’t know. So many unforced errors. Take for instance the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf,  reinstated by the President.

“What is that about? What is going on?”

Soyinka had earlier held a press conference in Lagos on the state of the nation titled ‘Nomads and Nation: Valentine card or valedictory rites.’   (Punch)

Details soon.

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Fulani Herdsmen Have Declared War On Nigeria – Prof. Soyinka |The Republican News

Wole-Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka

The Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said that the Fulani herdsmen have declared war against Nigeria.

In a statement on Wednesday, Soyinka warned President Muhammadu Buhari not to treat the Fulani Herdsmen’s hostility against Nigerians the way former President Goodluck Jonathan treated Boko Haram at the early stage of its insurgency.

He also wondered in the release why the Federal Government had not given consideration to some of the stakeholders’ recommendations on how to resolve the problem.

Recalling that after “a hideous massacre” perpetrated by the herdsmen in 2016, a security meeting was called and the cattle rearers “attended the meeting, according to reports, with AK47s and other weapons of mass intimidation visible under their garments.”

Soyinka said, “They were neither disarmed nor turned back. They freely admitted the killings but justified them by claims that they had lost their cattle to the host community.”
On the comments that the herdsmen killings were in defence of their stolen cows, Soyinka wondered: “How do we assess a mental state that cannot distinguish between a stolen cow – which is always recoverable – and human life, which is not.

According to Soyinka, “Such are the monstrous beginnings of the culture of impunity. We are reaping, yet again, the consequences of such tolerance of the intolerable. Yes, there indeed the government is culpable, definitely guilty of ‘looking the other way’. Indeed, it must be held complicit.”

He said, “I am not aware that IPOB came anywhere close to this homicidal propensity and will to dominance before it was declared a terrorist organization.

“The international community rightly refused to go along with such an absurdity. The conduct of that movement, even at its most extreme, could by no means be reckoned as terrorism. By contrast, how do we categorise Myeti?”

Soyinka lamented that with the herdsmen’s defiance, “Villages have been depopulated far wider than those outside their operational zones can conceive. They swoop on sleeping settlements, kill and strut. They glory in their seeming supremacy.” (Tribune)

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Mass Murder By Herdsmen: Soyinka Blasts FG, Death Toll In Taraba Rises |RN

Wole-Soyinka
                                  Prof. Wole Soyinka

Gbenga Adeniji, Adelani Adepegba,  Olaleye Aluko and  Justin Tyopuusu

Renowned playwright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says the Federal Government is responsible for the wanton killings perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in the country.

Soyinka in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Holy Cow: Impunity Rides Again,’ said the government was “looking the other way” as the herdsmen went on the rampage across the country.

He said, “Yes, indeed the government is culpable, definitely guilty of “looking the other way. Indeed, it must be held complicit.”

The Nobel laureate said history was repeating itself with the herdsmen’s case, recalling that Boko Haram was still at that stage of “putative probes when cries of alarm emerged.”

Soyinka said, “Boko Haram was a product of social inequities, they preached – one even chortled: ‘We stand for justice, so we are all Boko Haram!’  We warned that – yes indeed – the inequities of society were indeed part of the story, but why do you close your eyes against other, and more critical malfunctions of the human mind, such as theocratic lunacy? Now it is happening again. The nation is being smothered in Vaseline when the diagnosis is so clearly – cancer!

“We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance. President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe that killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into communal clashes – I believe I have summarised him accurately. The marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistically, into good neighbourly conduct.

“Sometimes of course, the killers were also said to be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling.’’

The acclaimed writer recalled that a more hideous massacre was perpetrated by the group he termed Murder Incorporated during a peace meeting in Benue in 2016, describing the development as a climax to what had been a series across a number of Middle Belt and neighbouring states, with Benue taking the brunt of the butchery.

He noted that the peace meeting attended by the state government and security agencies, including the Inspector-General of Police, also had the herdsmen in attendance.

He added, “They freely admitted the killings but justified them by claims that they had lost their cattle to the host community. It is important to emphasise that none of their spokesmen referred to any government neglect, such as refusal to pay subsidy for their cows or failure to accord them the same facilities that had been extended to cassava or millet farmers. Such are the monstrous beginnings of the culture of impunity. We are reaping, yet again, the consequences of such tolerance of the intolerable.’’

Warning against what he described as the ‘‘enervating lure of appeasement in face of aggression and will to dominate,’’ the playwright also drew attention to Volume III of his Interventions Series, and to the chapter on ‘The Unappeasable Price of Appeasement.’

Soyinka said, “There is little to add, but it does appear that even the tragically fulfilled warnings of the past leave no impression on leadership, not even when identical signs of impending cardiac arrest loom over the nation.’’

He recalled that the first active policy of appeasement and the language of endorsement came when Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, on assuming office, proudly said he had raised a peace committee and successfully traced the herdsmen to locations outside Nigerian borders.

Soyinka added that the governor said he made payments to them from state coffers to cure them of their homicidal urge which, according to the herdsmen, were reprisals for some ancient history and the loss of cattle through rustling.

He said, “The public was up in arms against this astonishing revelation. I could only call to mind a statement by the same el-Rufai after a prior election which led to a rampage in parts of the nation, and cost even the lives of National Youth Service Corps members. They were hunted down by aggrieved mobs and even states had to organise rescue missions for their citizens. Countering protests that the nation owed a special duty of protection to her youth, especially those who are co-opted to serve the nation in any capacity, El Rufai’s comment then was: No life is more important than another. Today, that statement needs to be adjusted, to read perhaps – apologies to George Orwell: “All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others.”

Disclosing that though he called on the government a week ago to stop passing the buck over the fuel crisis, Soyinka stated that he never intended that a reverse policy should lead to exonerating – or appearing to exonerate mass killers, rapists and economic saboteurs.

According to him, the conduct of the saboteurs subverts the efforts of others to economically secure their own existence and drives other producers off their land in fear and terror.

“This promises the same plague of starvation that afflicts zones of conflict all over this continent where liberally sown landmines prevent farmers from venturing near their prime source, the farm, often their only source of livelihood, and has created a whole population of amputees. At least, those victims in Angola, Mozambique and other former war theatres, mostly lived to tell the tale. These herdsmen, arrogant and unconscionable, have adopted a scorched-earth policy, so that those other producers – the cassava, cocoa, sorghum, rice farmers are brutally expelled from farm and dwelling.

“Government neglect? You may not have intended it, but you made it sound like the full story. I applaud the plans of your ministry, 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!”

Soyinka said he was unaware that the Indigenous People of Biafra came anywhere close to the Fulani herdsmen’s homicidal propensity and will to dominate before it was declared a terrorist organisation.

He said, “How do we categorise Miyetti? How do we assess a mental state that cannot distinguish between a stolen cow – which is always recoverable – and human life, which is not? Villages have been depopulated far wider than those outside their operational zones can conceive. They swoop on sleeping settlements, kill and strut. They glory in their seeming supremacy.

“These crimes are treated like the norm. Once again, the nation is being massaged by specious rationalisations while the rampage intensifies and the spread spirals out of control. When we open the dailies tomorrow morning (today), there is certain to have been a new body count, to be followed by the arrogant justification of the Miyetti Allah.”

Saying that President Goodluck Jonathan only saw ‘ghosts’ when Boko Haram was already excising swathes of territory from the nation space and abducting school pupils, he added that the ghosts of Jonathan seemed poised to haunt the tenure of President Muhammed Buhari.

Residents put Taraba’s death toll at 56

Residents said the death toll from the killing of people of Taraba communities by Fulani herdsmen have risen to 56 on Wednesday, as survivors continued to recount tales of sorrows.

Some armed Fulani herdsmen had on Friday and Saturday attacked many communities in the Lau Local Government Area of the state, including Donaddo, Lavoro, Katibu, Didango and Maku, leaving blood in their trail.

The attack in Lau villages came barely 24 hours after suspected herdsmen killed a family of five and seven others in the Wukari and Gassol local government areas of the state.

The residents of the affected communities in Lau LGA said the death toll in the attack had hit 56 persons, mostly children and women, while over 200 houses were recorded to have been burnt.

They called on the Federal Government to declare Fulani herdsmen a terror group, just as 29 of the victims killed in the attacks on Donaddo, Lavoro, Katibu, Didango and Maku communities in the Lau LGA were on Wednesday given a mass burial in Katibu and Didango.

The affected communities on Wednesday remained deserted as residents had fled; and it was gathered that only security personnel deployed in the area were visible.

One of the affected residents, Mr. Sani Marafa, who said six of his relations were among those given the mass burial, added that the attackers were over 100.

“They attacked us at about 3pm on Friday and Saturday, killing people and setting them on fire. Six of my relations are among the victims. I almost could not recognise my relations after the killer Fulani attack my village

“The government must deploy soldiers in Taraba immediately to contain this situation. The attackers were well armed and I don’t think the police have the capacity to deal with them.

“As I speak to you, all our houses, foodstuffs and other valuable items have been destroyed. Many families here are passing through serious trauma,” he said.

Another resident of one of the attacked communities, Mrs. Paulina Habila, a mother of four, said apart from killing her husband, the Fulani herdsmen made her homeless.

She said, “The Federal Government have failed to protect us here. My husband was slaughtered like a goat by the Fulani men who invaded our village. They killed over 35 people in our village alone and razed the entire community.”

Another victim of the attack, Pastor Titus Makovini, said, “The killers came into the community church and they slaughtered some worshipers, while others fled.

“The security personnel failed to protect us for the two days that the attackers laid siege to our communities.”

A survivor of the attack, who gave her name simply as Joy, said she escaped death by a whisker when the armed herdsmen struck.

Joy, who lamented the death of her 69-year-old mother and other relations in the attack, said, “The Federal Government must find a lasting solution to this senseless and mindless killing of innocent people by rampaging herdsmen.”

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP David Misal, said 12 people were killed during the attack on the communities.

“The attack happened on Friday and Saturday, but because the attackers were still laying siege to the communities, bodies of the dead could not be recovered and buried until we provided security for them to do so.

“Our men are currently on the ground in the area and the situation is now under control,” he said.

On his part, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Abu, told our correspondent that 29 corpses were recovered from burnt houses, bush paths and nearby farms where the victims tried to hide from the killer Fulani herdsmen.

“It is really a disturbing sight. A combined team of armed soldiers and policemen have to provide security cover for the villagers to enable them conduct the funeral rites for the dead,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary, Taraba State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Nulvaga Danhabu, said the state government had provided relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons who fled the areas for safety.

“The IDPs from the Lau crisis are currently camping in Kufai, Mayo Dassa and the Federal Character Commission office in Jalingo, Mayo-Lope and Abari Lau. In the days ahead, we will see what we can do to alleviate their sufferings,” he said.

Killings going on in Benue despite IG presence –Group

A group, Community Development Coalition, has raised the alarm that Fulani herdsmen are still carrying out killings in the Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State.

The group added that the atrocities were occurring despite the deployment of police operatives and soldiers and the relocation of the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, to the state.

The CDC Convener, Prof. Yima Sen, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, that he had visited the affected communities and was informed that attacks by the herdsmen had not abated.

Continued from page 7Sen noted that the security forces on the ground had been unable to stop the bloodshed across the state.

“I left the crisis area about five hours ago and from my consultations with the people, killings are still going on. I am not satisfied with the security situation; I have also consulted with the people and they are not satisfied with the situation,” he said.

The CDC said it would do all that was legally possible to ensure the full implementation of the Benue State Anti-open Grazing Prohibition Law.

It said it would also facilitate “the emergence of a robust, reliable and sustainable community-driven security system.”

The group rejected the proposed cattle colonies for herdsmen by the Federal Government, insisting that no inch of Benue land would be given out to the herdsmen.

Sen said, “We can’t be colonised by the Fulani; they can ranch, but if anyone is talking about cattle colonies, they should find another location, not Benue.”

The CDC convener accused President Muhammadu Buhari of turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the herdsmen.

He said, “We are left with no option than to conclude that the President, who by the way is the grand patron of Miyetti Allah, has turned a blind eye and is bent on keeping deaf ears to these atrocities.”

A former Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Bernard Verr, argued that the open grazing of cattle constituted a danger to the nation’s agriculture, food security and the economic diversification programme of the government.

When asked about the reported killings, the state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, said he was not aware, adding that the CDC should furnish him with  the names of the communities so he could ascertain the claims.

DHQ coordinates  response to Benue killings

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, is coordinating the deployment of more ground and air troops to curb the crises in parts of Benue State, sources told our correspondent on Wednesday.

Although the DHQ had yet to make any official statement, our correspondent learnt that more troops had joined in the operation going by the “orders from above.”

It was learnt that the army had detailed troops from the 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, and the 72 Special Forces Battalion, Makurdi, Benue State, while the air force is deploying assets from the Tactical Command, Nigerian Air Force, Makurdi.

The source said, “It is the Defence Headquarters that is coordinating the response to the Benue crisis. The army and the air force have deployed men in the troubled areas. I cannot give you the number of the troops because they are drawn from bases in the region.

“The figures of the armed gang members run into 100s. More arrests will still be made.” (Punch)

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Tunlewa’s Wedding: People Are Trying To Use Me To Kickstart Tribal War – Soyinka

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on Tuesday lamented that some people are trying to use him to start a tribal war in the country.

Soyinka spoke at the Freedom Park on Lagos Island during the presentation of two books-‘Between Defective Memory and the Public Lie’ and ‘Green Cards, Green Gods’ under Intervention six and seven series.

Soyinka, who was reacting to the negative social media reportage of the wedding of his son, Tunlewa and Nneka Ekechukwu said some people were trying to get at him by painting the wedding in a bad light.

According to Soyinka, his son and Nneka had become victims of other people’s viciousness, asking whether it was a crime now for people to get married while taking a swipe at the social media.

He said the reports on social media said his son, a 20-year man wedded a 30-year old woman, which he said was purely a lie as his son is 27 years while Nneka is 26 years old.

“In the so-called social media, some people went and published the pictures in the wedding which took place in June. Nobody heard about it, I like to do things quietly, so very limited people received an invitation. But why publish on your facebook such egregious lies saying my son was 20 years old and married a 30-year-old woman?

Soyinka said he knew well that his son, Tunlewa is 27 years while Nneka is 26 years.

According to him, they had the right to marry, adding that there was an underlying reason behind such obnoxious report on social media.

“When I say these things are not spontaneous, it is part of what I am talking about. You sat down and you concocted a story. You have a purpose.”

“What that purpose is, I know because it is not really those kids you are getting at, it is Wole Soyinka, it is not even the parents of the girl; the internet maggots who creep out from time to time to try and get into the world that they are still alive,” he lamented.

Soyinka added that the social media concocted another lie that he refused to attend his son’s wedding in the first place and that he had to be persuaded to do so, a report he found very offensive.

In his words: “They go further to say that Wole Soyinka refused to attend the wedding in the first place, that I had to be persuaded. I approved the wedding. I don’t understand this, nobody, not even my late parents would try to stop me from marrying anybody whom I wanted; so it is inconceivable that I will say to any of my children that I disapproved the person you want to marry, it is not possible, go and talk to any of them. So what right has anybody to sit down and said that I refused to attend and that I had to be persuaded eventually?”

“You see, is this linked to the alleged disparity between the two? no, that is not at all, there is a tribal thing involved. There are people who think they can use me to start a tribal war in this country. This is not the first time; a lecture which I delivered in Harvard two years ago was deliberately misreported, concocted; this is not a question of misreading or mishearing, no, something I never said. I was supposed to have said something about the Igbo, something derogatory, this came up and this went on facebook and of course, an industry started immediately.”

“Having failed in that one, I think they were disturbed by my son marrying an Igbo girl, this girl was born in America. They were so shocked. Why are they telling these stories, what have I done to them? Why put young people through such an emotional rigor.”

“I want to say here that we are dealing with seriously dysfunctional people, not only dysfunctional people but people from dysfunctional homes. I am saying to you, whatever you are, you facebook operators who think you are there to ruin people’s lives, you come from dysfunctional homes, you are to be pitied, but you are also to be fought because you are dangerous, you are very dangerous, you are danger to society, danger to humanity and danger to your own people.”  (Newtelegraph Newspaper)

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