Nigeria’s herdsmen crisis and the Soyinka alarm
By Akpo Ometan
There is a palpable sense of relief in Nigeria at the moment over news that the earlier reported assault on Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka by suspected herdsmen was not exactly factually correct. Yes, the police, family and friends have since disclosed that several cows driven by at least one herdsman had strayed into the Professor’s residential space, and that he had indeed come out to physically remonstrate with the herder and order the cows to be removed, which was quite mercifully done, but the backdrop to the tale does remind us of the very clear imperative of the moment: end open grazing now.
Knowing Soyinka for who he is, it is to be expected that he would literally challenge any obstruction of his private space. The challenge however is that in another circumstance and with another band of herders, whom the reports evidently admit are sometimes quite belligerent, high on drugs and very well armed, such a confrontation may have been less than convivial. It is important that the Muhammadu Buhari administration takes that step today and immediately add its voice and action most decisively in ensuring that a very clear timeline is announced for the end of open grazing in Nigeria. It is most important.
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka