The Federal Government’s handling of the Farmer – Herder controversy has drawn criticism from Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka.
The literary icon questioned why the government had proscribed the Indigenous People of Biafra, a group that seeks the secession of the South-East from Nigeria, but had not yet outlawed the cattle group Miyetti Allah in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s News Night, a pre-recorded program that airs every Monday.
According to him, Nigeria must always consider its historical context in order to comprehend current security concerns.
In his words:
“My temperament does not accept that anyone should chase me out of my God-given earth. So, it’s a temperamental thing as well,”
“The idea that you can unleash terror on me because you want my little patch of territory or you want my soul, that is you want to subjugate me, you want to turn me into a slave. Well, I would sort that out first.
“And then I’ll make up my mind whether I want to leave. So each outrage, unfortunately, has the opposite effect. Whether the outrage is taking place in Benue, in Kaduna, or is taking place in Owo. Or whether it is taking place right here on the (Ogun state) border – we’ve been subjected also to this lunacy, of the subjugation mentality which some minority people hold. And I find it very difficult to accept to be chased out of my own entitled portion of the earth.
“Many people just either do not know history or do not understand the purpose of history. And then there’s a different group also who are very selective about history; they know how to distort or misuse history.
“Take for instance when the incursion of the Fulani herdsmen began, and the Miyetti Allah. Their spokesman said, I think it was in Borno, we once ruled this place, and we can take back our land anytime we want. I remember that statement; I’ve never forgotten. In the midst of the trauma of these people, somebody comes gloating and then citing selective portions of history. I said this person should be arrested and locked up, who says he wants to repeat his history of conquest – he’s admitting either knowledge, before or after, or support, anyway. Isn’t there anything like hate speech anymore? Why are you proscribing IPOB without proscribing Miyetti Allah?”
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