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Defend your ancestral lands – Soyinka, Ooni urge Nigerians

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Nigeria cannot survive another civil war, Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and frontline monarch Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, have warned.

They called on the authorities to arrest what they see as the prevailing drift into “a dysfunctional state on multiple levels of citizenship, community belonging, security and productive opportunities”.

In a communiqué they issued at the end of a meeting at the weekend, the duo counselled the government on ensuring co-existence amongst Nigerians.

The communique was issued after a visit by the royal father to Soyinka in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

They said that solutions must be found to the challenges threatening national cohesion and survival.

According to the literary icon and the royal father, efforts must be made to douse the tension over the suspended Ruga settlements. The government has suspended the project, saying the implementation was inconsistent with its plan.

The communique decried a situation where some groups consider themselves especially privileged and above the law.

It states: “We have in mind destructive forms of social transactions that characterize groups such as nomadic cattle herdsmen, and their umbrella groupings in the nature of Miyetti Allah.

“We confess ourselves increasingly distressed and appalled that the hitherto harmonious cohabitation, even routine collaboration, among the productive arms of society that Nigerians have taken for granted even from pre-colonial times, have deteriorated to unprecedented levels of barbarity, contempt for human lives and a defiant trampling on the civic entitlements of other productive vectors, such as farmers, the providers of both food and cash crops.

“This abhorrent, yet consistent pattern of sectarian, and homicidal arrogance is obviously not merely counter-productive but inhuman, criminal and divisive.”

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