Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari‘s reaction to the abduction of 110 girls in Dapchi.
Justice, governance will and responsibility, are what were needed from the president, not sympathy, Soyinka said.
He said this while speaking at the maiden edition of Ripples Nigeria Dialogue, organised by Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism, on Thursday.
Buhari should have shown up to the scene of the crime, Soyinka said, and ordered his forces into action. He said:
We are speaking here of one eternal commodity that is a fundamental human deserving – justice. That’s what we are speaking about. Sympathy with or without the ostentatious laying of wreaths at the mass graves of victims by the new messiahs; sympathy is an ordinary commodity accessible to all of us. We are speaking, however, of a people’s need for security and where the structure for that fails, bring the perpetrators to book, even while emplacing deterrence measures against repeat.
We are speaking of governance will and responsibility; the readiness to respond with massive punitive action when the fundamental security of a people is violated.
We are speaking here of a President showing up at the arena of human desecration, not to shed any unjust tears but to read the riot act and give orders right on the scene of violation; order his forces into action against the arrogant blood-thirsty renegades of society who wallow in the blood of others, having been assured, some way or the other, of a cloak of impunity.
We are speaking of the courage to declare such monsters terrorists, enemies of humanity with the same dispatch as the declaration of far less violent, far less destabilising movement or the disruptive and supernaturalist, and sometimes nasty, in their attestation and activities. We are speaking, in fact, for a culture of even-handedness.
Soyinka also touched on Nigerian politicians attending en masse the wedding ceremony between the families of Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Kano State Governor Umar Ganduje. He said:
They said, “Oh yes, that wedding was a needed therapy for the trauma undergone so recently by the abduction of those girls.” Now, that’s what I call blasphemy. I’m not a religious person, but that is blasphemy.
There are so many formulas that could have been adopted to ensure that the couple still had their wedding without the accompanied exhibitionist lavishness so soon after a national calamity.
He also addressed the herdsmen killings ongoing in the country.
He criticised the comments made by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, saying:
I consider that shot, however painful, a far more honourable wound than the wound sustained by our Minister of Defence, who shot himself in the mouth with some unacceptable commentary concerning the rampages of the Fulani herdsmen.
“What did you expect them to do?” – This is after people had been killed in figures of hundreds – “What do you expect them to do if you block their route?” This is addressing victims of Fulani herdsmen; this is addressing issues of rape, of massacre of the takeover of farmlands, the takeover of villages, all over Benue, Taraba, etcetera, etcetera.
Land grabbers are trying to build on a piece of land that is not theirs “and you obstruct them, what do you want them to do?” Farmers are squatting on land on which they derive their food and complaining, daring to complain, that cows were trampling on their farms and eating their crops. “So, what do you expect the cow owners to do?”
And of course, let’s not forget the abduction of the girls, the latest, Dapchi. It’s their fault; didn’t they know that Boko Haram doesn’t like girls going to school? Stupid girls, stupid teachers, stupid parents; serves them right. It’s very strange to be able to say outside the world that the Minister of Defence is still in Buhari’s cabinet.