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“All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others” – Wole Soyinka on Herdsmen Killings



"All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others" - Wole Soyinka on Herdsmen Killings - BellaNaijaNobel laureate Wole Soyinka has, in a hot take for Sahara Reporters, urged the Federal Government to take actions to stop the Fulani herdsmen killings.

In the essay titled “Impunity Rides Again Through Killer Herdsmen,” Soyinka compared the inactions of the Buhari-led administration on the herdsmen killings to that of former president Goodluck Jonathan at the beginning of the Boko Haram insurgency.

“It is happening all over again,” Soyinka began, before going forward to criticize the various explanations given for the killings by politicians. He wrote:

We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance. President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe those killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into “communal clashes” – I believe I have summarized him accurately. The marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistically, into good neighbourly conduct. Sometimes of course, the killers were also said be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling.

We are reaping the consequences of tolerating the intolerable, he wrote, giving an example of a peace meeting called in 2016 after a couple of herdsmen killings.

The herdsmen had attended the meeting, Soyinka wrote, with AK47s and other weapons visible under their clothing, admitting to the killings and blaming it on their cattle being stolen.

“When is it terror?” Soyinka asked. He compared the killings by the Fulani Herdsmen to the agitation for a free state by IPOB, asking if that came close to this “homicidal propensity.”

Wole Soyinka concluded by urging the Federal Government to take proper actions and quit appealing to the victims to avoid “hate language.”

“Yes, Jonathan only saw ‘ghosts’ when Boko Haram was already excising swathes of territory from the nation space and abducting school pupils. The ghosts of Jonathan seem poised to haunt the tenure of Mohammed Buhari,” he wrote.

Read the full essay on Sahara Reporters.


  1. NG

    January 10, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Leave Jonathan out of your comments. Don’t use Jonathan, your easy prey of a scapegoat, to temper what should be the harshest criticism of this murderous government.

    Face Buhari and give him his just criticism without using Jonathan for an ‘I also criticise Jonathan’ position, all to pander to this wicked leaders. They are wicked. Jonathan can not be associated with wickedness please.

  2. Busarni

    January 10, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Coward, must you mention Jonathan? Good morning as you are just waking up. Hope you have torn your American passport; orishirishi..

  3. Mrs chidukane

    January 10, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    He drew a good comparison. I don’t know why you are jumping up and down. We know how boko haram was overlooked till they became something else. Jonathan said he doesn’t want to use the full commander in chief powers against them cos they’re our brothers. See where it got us. Same is happening now. People are dying, you’re setting up panel. Ipob issued verbal threats, you sent python dance. These people never learn.

  4. Ijebujesha

    January 11, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Wole Soyinka has grown up to be a very useless man..What a shame! Earlier death would have been better than this shame. He is now so spineless that to castigate Buhari, he has to bring Jonathan into the mix..What a pity..O ma se o. Agbaya!

  5. Damilola

    January 11, 2018 at 2:07 am

    I’m yet to understand how difficult and biased everyone is when it comes to Buhari. Is there something that’s not being said? Obasanjo, Wole Soyinka many others were outspoken against Jonathan. But kiss ass when it’s Buhari’s turn. It’s just pathetic.
    The country is crumbling, no improvement, nothing to ring home about yet all they do is dodge speaking the truth about Buhari/APC. He must be bribing them well.

    • Favour

      January 12, 2018 at 5:45 am

      Buhari has done no evil in my eyes even though I didn’t know details of what was going on during Jonathan’s regime the way common men were spending money and inflation on prices of buying lands, houses, services photography, make up artist event centre I predicted it that bubble will burst soon because as a good economist you will know it was all sham and fake . Buhari is tackling corruption and trying to recover the economy and save so what do you expect

  6. Jide T.

    January 11, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I prefer Bihar than Jonathan
    That man was completely useless to yorubas

    • Beeeee

      January 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      Yes, you are so right. I can see everything Buhari has done for the Yorubas. Congrats!

  7. Californiabawlar

    January 11, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Forget all these people. Why can’t we as young people mobilize and handle this situation intelligently. All these activists speaking English on Twitter should put their feet on ground and organize a mass strike. We all they knoe would be running for office in the near future so why not make a mark early on in your political career?
    The way I see it, the easiest solution to this problem is to stop buying beef. It may not be the fastest, but watch these savages eventually move back to wherever they came from if no one buys their stupid cows. All markets have heads of meat sellers, at least here in the southwest. Go and patronize local ranchers and farms instead. Publicize on radio and tv. Even get the governors of these states to work with you.
    Let the people become educated on the horrors these herders. Not to exaggerate but at this point, eating beef in Nigeria is tantamount to eating human flesh.

    • Beeeee

      January 11, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      Will they hear? No! The only way for us to get our country back is to be united regardless of tribe, religion, stomach infrasture, etc. But it won’t work, so we will continue to remain in this suffering until we decide that enough is enough. The fingers alone might cause some damage but when they are balled up into a fist, they can strike a mighty blow.

    • Engoz

      January 11, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      Absolutely in agreement!

  8. Engoz

    January 11, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    “The herdsmen had attended the meeting, Soyinka wrote, with AK47s and other weapons visible under their clothing, admitting to the killings and blaming it on their cattle being stolen.”

    This country has finished me!

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