...Warns Amotekun must not become another SARS
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Saturday asked the Federal Government to seek foreign assistance in dealing with the security challenge in the country.
Soyinka said on Arise TV that the current situation was so bad that government should not shy away from paying “people to come and help us” in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency and other threats to life and property.
“Let them get away with the issue of sovereignty. If they have to pay people to come and help us, then call them whatever you want. Please go ahead because we’ve reached that stage of desperation,” Soyinka said.
But he said “a general mobilization” of Nigerians to defend themselves could be more like it.
His words: “I will prefer a general mobilisation in which people are trained; farmers especially are trained to work with the hoe in one hand and the gun in the other hand, ready to protect their lives, their harvests and the rest of us.
“We are not unique; history is full of those situations… I will like to see a national mobilization. Let’s be practical.”
He wondered why some northern governors had to negotiate with bandits terrorising their states.
He said: “You don’t appease evil. We are dealing with evil.
There is no other word; we are dealing with the proliferation, the enthronement of evil in the society.
“And unfortunately, we have encouraged its manifestation, its proliferation, its entrenchment.”
Soyinka who also spoke on the South West Security Network, Amotekun, warned that the outfit must not transmute into the scrapped special anti-robbery squad (SARS) in another guise.
Amotekun has been accused of extrajudicial killings and high handedness; the same complaints against the police that sparked last year’s #ENDSARS protests across the country.
Soyinka said it was important to inculcate ethics in Amotekun members to make them understand their role and responsibility.
He said: “Community policing like Amotekun is recognition of the fact that the civic part of the entire national polity has got to wake up in not just its own defence but survival.
“I have told them anytime you want us to come and assist, we will come, even if it is just on the ethical session. So that as you are training them to defend us, we are also training their minds so that Amotekun does not become another SARS. It’s very important. We must do everything together.”
He said Nigerians should learn to take responsibility for their own survival and advised other parts of the country that are yet to have their own security outfits to do so.
“The citizens have got to take a very good look at huge gap in governance, the lacuna in governance in this nation, and then take responsibility for their own survival,” he said.
“This is what makes our own responsibilities for ourselves as citizens even more difficult because when drama like that happens we go to the very heart of our existence as human beings to see our children have been swept up not for the first time, and we cannot have a clear sequence of events articulated by the security agencies, by the government so that we can even take on our own against such events happening in the nation.
“But when we reach that stage, you no longer talk of a nation but of a contraption struggling along. The sovereignty of this nation is in the hands of murdering herdsmen; the sovereignty of this nation has already been taken over by Boko Haram, those who do nothing at the slightest respect for what is called national integrity.
“I am very glad that northern elites are now speaking out boldly and practically and at the same time all these states, I’d like them to come out, passing these message to those who have not yet launched their own Amotekun. If they don’t hurry, I will launch my own o.”
He hailed the #ENDSARS protests as “righteous, well organised and long-overdue movement by a generation over whom one has been uttering noises of despair.”
He was particularly happy that the Nigerian youth who organised the protests “finally moved.”
“And finally, finally they moved. The youths moved,” he said.
He added: “To me, they made many of us proud. This is a kind of generation that seems to pick up positive signs in their existence and now are taking charge.”