Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has warned that the ongoing “ethnic cleansing” in some parts of the country could degenerate into a genocide.

In a statement to commemorate this year’s May Day, Soyinka called on President Buhari to issue a nationwide order to all land-usurpers in affected towns and villages across the nation to quit those forcefully occupied lands within 48 hours.

“Issue orders to the military and police that, wherever illegal occupiers are found, they should be meted the same treatment as are accorded terrorists.

"Instruct all agencies that, once cleared of usurpers, the rightful occupants should be escorted back to their farmsteads and villages and provided maximum protection,” said Soyinka.

“We must go beyond arresting a token handful of herders caught with arms – there are still hundreds of them in the forests. It is not enough to back the anti- open grazing laws, so late in the day, but we shall leave that for later.

“Right now, the violated and dispossessed demand restitution, and with no further delay or subterfuge. All available forces should be deployed to right a hideous, unprecedented wrong that has left the nation drowning in blood – we simply cannot continue one day longer to endure this forceful feeding of human blood.

“The plain expression is ‘ethnic cleansing’ and we must not beat around the bush. The shade of Rwanda hangs over the nation.”

Soyinka likened Nigeria to an aircraft that is about to crash because its captain is missing, and “strangers are in control in the cockpit.