Nigeria’s sovereignty has been taken over by armed groups, says Nobel Prize author Wole Soyinka, responding to the recent rise in student kidnappings and massacres, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari must do more to stop terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.

“Insecurity is a national, collective issue. Don’t just sit there and think that you can solve it from Aso Rock [the presidential statehouse], no,” said the prize-winning author. “This now concerns even the common citizen who has become a prime target. So it’s a collective issue.

“The sovereignty of this nation has been taken over by Boko Haram, it’s been taken over by Islamic State West Africa Province, it’s been taken over by those with absolutely no respect for what is called national integrity,” he charged.

Kidnapping for ransom and attacks by armed herdsmen has become commonplace in many parts of Nigeria.

Soyinka, in an interview on Arise Television, disputed the practice of making payments to armed groups.

“It is unreasonable to pay protection money to killers instead of dealing with that cancer by excision, to take out killers instead of giving them money. You don’t appease evil and 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.”

He declared support for the call by the Borno State governor and others for the government to hire foreign mercenaries to help fight Boko Haram. “Please go ahead because we’ve reached that stage of desperation,” he said.