Seek foreign help on carnage, Soyinka tells FG

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom (fourth left) with Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka (third right), when the latter visited the Government House, Makurdi…yesterday.

• Ortom, Nobel Laureate label killings ethnic cleansing, jihad
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has enjoined the Federal Government to seek international assistance in addressing the killings nationwide.

Soyinka made the appeal yesterday during a courtesy call on Governor Samuel Ortom at the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi after attending the 35th anniversary party of Senator Suemo Chia’s Tiv novel, Adan Wade Kohol Ga.

He said: “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, those nations where our military has served before, can come to our aid. I think there should be no business of national integrity, pride and so on.

“The people are dying, this government cannot cope, please just ask for international help and I know they are ready and willing to come to our aid.

Soyinka submitted what currently happens in the Middle Belt region, especially Benue State, was nothing but ethnic cleansing. He cautioned against the euphemising of the situation so as not downplay the seriousness it deserves.

“It is very sad to me personally to see that a nation like Nigeria, with so much human talents, has failed to learn the lessons of the history of places like Rwanda,” he added.

In his remarks, the governor noted that the professor’s submission truly reflected the happenings in the state, describing the pogrom as ethnic cleansing and Jihad.

His words: “This is not a hidden agenda, it is known and those people who are perpetrating it did say so. They are not hidden. They held press conferences, they came out and said they were going to resist our law, and carry out ethnic cleansing. It is about Jihad, it is about taking over the land, it is not about herders and farmers clashes.

“They said it clearly and it is 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 do not even have cutlasses to fight back. We cannot use any weapon to fight back. We depend on the law enforcement agencies. Even the cutlasses that we used to have were confiscated by security agencies.

“The Inspector General ordered that our Dane guns should be surrendered, including those licensed. So, we are left in the hands of the security men.”

Ortom, however, praised the present crop of law enforcement agents in the state for doing their best, regretting that they had equally been victims of attacks.

He went on: So, like you rightly said, this is not a matter of ringworm but real cancer. If there is any other word stronger than cancer, I would have said what is happening in Benue State is more than cancer. And like you rightly observed, it is our responsibility to rise up to defend the unity of this country and our integrity as leaders.”

The governor commended Soyinka for his solidarity and President Muhammadu Buhari for beefing up security in the state. He expressed the hope that the invaders would be flushed out.

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