Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, has warned that civil war is bound to happen in Nigerian soon unless the conflict between herders and local communities is properly addressed.
Tension has been surging in recent weeks over the allegations that herders are responsible for killings and abductions in the south-west.
Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo governor, had in January ordered herders to leave the state’s forest reserves.
In the same vein, Sunday ‘Igboho’ Adeyemo, a youth leader, had asked herders to exit Ibarapa local government area of Oyo, where attacks also occurred.
In a chat with BBC Pidgin, Soyinka said there is a need to ensure that the matter is settled amicably.
“My fear is that it could degenerate into violence that ends up in—I hate to use the word—a civil war unless we take action. I’m glad that governors are already dialoguing with groups like Miyetti Allah (cattle breeders),” he said.
“I’m also glad that they’re already discussing agreeing to obey the rules and that other groups are already liaising. I think we need to ensure they reach a consensus that will be fair to all parties.
“We’re struggling against an enemy that believes in acting the way they please. They believe they have immunity or that nothing can happen to them. That is why, in my own state, you find a soldier taking the side of an enemy.
“They actually escort killers, ra.pists, raiders while flogging the victims. That wouldn’t happen if the people are conscious of the nature of their enemy and are encouraged to collaborate with the security forces.”
Soyinka noted he once observed the level of damage done to farmlands by herders while hunting with his colleagues.
He stressed the need to encourage increased d between the locals and security forces towards ending the crisis.
Meanwhile, a Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has decried the Federal Government’s use of force in the fight against what he called a typical insurgency in the North.
Gumi, who spoke in continuation of his five-day visit to bandits’ and Fulani settlements in Zamfara State, said the huge financial resources spent in the fight against insecurity in the region could have been used to address the needs of armed Fulani.
“Such billions would be more than enough if judiciously used to address all the demands of the armed Fulani, including providing them with basic amenities, training them and providing them with the needed capital,” he added.
He said most of the Fulani had lost all their possessions as a result of cattle rustling and instances of extortion by some corrupt security agents.
Gumi, who toured the forest near Daki Takwas, called on the Fulanis to lay down their arms and avoid bloodshed.
He assured them that Governor Bello Matawalle was sincerely committed and would address their grievances.
Gumi also promised that he would do everything within his might to convey their concerns and demands to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking further, he stated that he would be in constant touch with the Zamfara State Government to ensure that there was no breach of the agreement from either side.
Before embarking on his tour of the forest, Gumi and his team paid homage to the Emir of Gusau, Alhaji Ibrahim Bello, at his palace in the state capital, where he told the emir some of the grievances of the armed Fulani, including periodic attacks on them.
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