Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka on Thursday kicked against the suggestion that herdsmen and bandits should be compensated.
In an interview on ‘News Day’, a programme on Arise TV, the revered professor stated that those who commit crimes should be held culpable for their activities while those who have been offended and violated must be persuaded.
“I saw a report, yesterday, that these herdsmen, these bandits, should be compensated,” he said.
“What kind of rubbish is that? Those who offended must begin the process by apologising, offering some kind of restitution to persuade the rest of us that they want to come back into the community of equal beings, entitled to the same privileges, responsible for their own lives, in fact, accepting their own responsibility, accepting responsibility for their kind, obeying the laws, the constitution. That is the only way towards peace.”
Soyinka’s stern words were in response to Sheikh Gumi’s call on the Federal Government to compensate bandits. After visiting the bandits in the forest of Shinkafi and Gummi local government areas of Zamfara State, Gumi, a prominent Islamic scholar, had asked the government to meet their demand with the security budget.
Soyinka also said that President Muhammadu Buhari does not understand the gravity of the insecurity situation in the country.
“I have said this before and I wish to repeat it: Buhari does not appreciate the situation. He does not understand. I see no evidence that he understands how grave the situation is,” he said.
“I have said it again and again that I don’t believe he’s in charge — because it’s not possible in my view for the head of state, commander in chief to say he’s presiding over a nation and things get to this level. Something is critically wrong within the leadership of this nation.”
Commenting on the controversy that followed the reported invasion of his Abeokuta home by cows and their handlers, Soyinka said his home was invaded, insisting that the police lied.
“I think the police need to be educated that when people talk about the invasion of home, they are not just talking about the physical building; they are talking about home as ‘home’, which includes the grounds’, Soyinka said. “No cattle people attacked me. That’s a fact. I’m here physically. I’m hale. I didn’t suffer any injury; that never happened. But my home was invaded by cattle.
“Why should the police go to such length as to suggest that I had nothing better to do than to go accosting cattle on the road? What’s my business with cattle on the road? I drove them [the cattle] out of my property together with my groundsmen. Once they were out of my property, I arrested the cows.”
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