Soyinka Criticises Plans To Review Grazing Routes
*Faults NBC’s Query To Channels TV
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka on Friday criticised ongoing plans by the Federal Government to reopen grazing routes across the country.
Soyinka, speaking at a press conference in Lagos, said many experts have identified ranching as the solution to the perennial farmer-herder conflict.
“Virtually the whole nation is screaming (that) we do not want any open cattle grazing. Whether they go by the name of cattle routes or grazing reserves,” Soyinka said.
“Round the entire nation, we’ve had opinions surmounting the antiquated mode of cattle rearing.
“Even the all-powerful, untouchable Miyetti Allah, even they have gone on record to say that ranching is what we want.
“And when we think all that debate is settled in rational terms, along comes a new version, rather like Decree 4, of Ruga, with the President insisting on sending his agents out to map out and recover the old grazing reserves when governments and people and experts, agronomists, businesspeople are saying that this is a business and it should be conducted in this particular way.
“So why is this President obsessing about something which is being rejected right, left and centre?”
Soyinka was reacting to President Buhari’s approval, earlier this month, of the recommendations of a committee to review 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment”.
Soyinka also faulted the recent query the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission issued to Channels Television.
He likened it to Decree 4, an instrument designed to gag the press during the military era.
“I think nobody is left in any doubt that both the spirit and the letter of this broadcasting commission decree have indicated clearly that the freedom of expression is being taken and it should be stopped as quickly as possible,” he said.
Soyinka also described the raid by the Department of State Services on Sunday Igboho’s home as unjust and asked Benin Republic to release him as it had no need to detain him.
According to him, the Yoruba Nation activist had done nothing to warrant the invasion of his home by men of the DSS.
“Igboho peacefully demonstrated,” Soyinka said. “I don’t consider someone calling for secession a criminal act. As long as it is done peacefully, it is acceptable.”
He asked the government of Benin, where Igboho is currently under detention, to release him “and let him go about his business.”