Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka

 Herdsmen have declared a war against Nigeria, Says Soyinka

Foremost Africa’s Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka has said the activities of herdsmen in Nigeria have shown that the group has declared war against Nigeria. Herdsmen on Tuesday attacked a police station in Benue state and killed security personnel deployed to tackle herdsmen activities in the state.

But Soyinka wondered why the Federal Government has not taken any measure to stop the killing and destruction of properties by Fulani herdsmen.

Soyinka lambasted the Nigerian government, saying it mobilized the soldiers against the armless and peaceful Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) and tagged them terrorists while the government has failed to react to homicidal activities of the herdsmen

In a statement on Wednesday, the professor warned President Muhammadu Buhari against treating the situation in a way former President Goodluck Jonathan did at the early stage of the Boko Haram crisis.

He wondered why the federal government had not considered some of the suggestions which stakeholders recommended as solution.

Soyinka recalled 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”.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

“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 categorize Myeti?”

Reacting to the comments credited to the herdsmen that the killings were in defence of their stolen cows, the nobel laureate, 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.

“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.”


Editorial Chief, Nigerian Bureau

Kings UBA is a Nigerian journalist and writer. I have reported for major local and international news organisations. I write satire. In 2017, I started contributing stories primarily to Discover Africa News Network. I can be reached on I currently manage Discover Africa News social media handles