Nobel Prize winning Professor, Wole Soyinka, has slammed the way in which President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State have handled the extra judicial religious killings in Southern Kaduna.
Indigenes of Southern Kaduna have claimed that more than 800 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, have been murdered and villages burnt down by suspected herdsmen without the state and federal governments doing anything to stop them.
Soyinka spoke at the launch of the book, Religion and the Making of Nigeria, in Abuja, yesterday.
His words: “Religion in the history of this continent has been a disastrous venture, a disaster in many zones and continues to be even so today. In this very nation in Southern Kaduna, over 800 souls were brutally extinguished suddenly.
“While the issue of grazing lands versus farming is unquestionably part of the conflict, it is equally undeniable that religious differences have played crucial role in the conflict.
“And yet some weeks before the latest outrage, the governor of that state was quoted to have claimed that peace was nigh since he had sent funds to the earlier wave of killers and they had agreed to end their killing spree.
“What astonished me was not the admission by the governor, but the astonishment of others at such governmental response to atrocity. There was nothing new about it. Has appeasement to religious forces not become a Nigerian face of justice and equity?
“First lethargy and then appeasement. Wasn’t Boko Haram’s Muhammed Yusuf not a beneficiary of appeasement in a similar fashion?
“Southern Kaduna has reminded us once again that the monster is always lying waiting to pounce under the guise of religion.
“If you ask why General Buhari did not act fast enough when these events take place, which degrade us as human beings, well it is perhaps he has been waiting for the governor of that state to send money to the killers first for them to stop the killing.
“The sitting President of this nation, General Buhari, once said ‘If you don’t kill corruption in this nation, corruption would kill us’. I would like to transfer that cry from the moral zone to the terrain of religion. If we do not tame religion in this nation, religion would kill us.
“I do not say kill religion though I wouldn’t mind a bit if that mission could be undertaken surgically, painlessly perhaps under anesthesia effectively spayed all over the nation or perhaps during an induced pouch of religious ecstasy However, one has to be realistic.
“Only the religiously possessed or committed would deny the obvious. The price that many have paid not just within this society but by humanity in general makes one wonder if the benefits have really been more than the losses.”