Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, says if he has the opportunity to discuss with President Muhammadu Buhari, he would tell the president that he feels he is under a trance.
Soyinka said this at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday.
The eminent scholar listed the clashes between farmers and herdsmen, reinstatement of Usman Yusuf, executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), among the “unforced errors” of the current administration.
“I would say: Mr President, I think you are under a trance… the sooner he gets out of it, the better. So many unforced errors are going on,” he said.
He also challenged the federal government to set a date when herdsmen would be disarmed.
The activist advised the people to unite and prevent armed herdsmen from wreaking havoc in their communities.
Soyinka said people have two lines of action to take when they sight armed herdsmen: “One, report to the police, then disarm the herder.”
He said the attacks were “internally generated” and being launched to serve the interest of individuals who would benefit from instability in the nation.
“There is no illegal organised force that does not sooner or later spill off… as in the case of the escalation of herdsmen violence. Let’s just say there is a control center for it,” he said.
“Sooner or later, the opportunists get in from all angles. I have no doubt in my mind that maverick offshoots are taking advantage of the organised situation. It has been virtually admitted by some of the groups who come to the defence of these violent herdsmen.”
Soyinka also called on security agencies to look closely at the activities of these “highly placed individuals,” saying corruption was the driving force behind the killings.
“We don’t understand how far corruption goes. We don’t understand how corruption can destabilise the polity. We forget that military coups have taken place before all over this continent simply because a military officer is about to be (court) marshalled for one crime or the other,” he said.
“To protect himself, he stages a coup. This happened in Wast Africa, Central Africa and so on. We have had cases of civilians who triggered military coups simply because of their need for power. When you think of the amount of money that has been stolen in this country, enough to fund the budget for a couple of years, then you know that there is enough illegal money floating around to destabilise the nation completely.
“We might end up discovering that some of these highly-placed individuals, politicians especially,- are interested in ensuring that there is chaos from Maiduguri to Lagos.
“Only that way do they feel safe, especially as elections are approaching. Some of them might be panicking that they will not come back in office. Some will at least want to make sure that those who will pursue them to the grave will not come back. They also can have a hand in the phenomenon which we are experiencing today.
After all, some governors… have stated quite clearly that they have openly contacted some of these herdsmen killers and given them money to stop their killings. If one governor has the means to make contact, others also have. The security agencies have the responsibility to look at highly-placed people in whose interest anarchy can be fostered.”