Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Monday urged Nigerians to resist the temptation of reprisal attacks against the insurgency of Boko Haram, saying all should rather take proactive steps to combat the menace.
The admonition came on a day the European Union (EU) said it had concluded plans to parley the Federal Government on how best to address the security challenges in the country.
Soyinka, who made this remark in Lagos during a Town Hall meeting organised by Save Nigeria Group (SNG), said since Boko Haram’s onslaught increased in Nigeria, other renowned scholars such as Prof. Chinua Achebe, Prof. John Pepper Clark, and himself had repeatedly warned Nigerians to do everything within their reach to avoid any kind of reprisal attacks.
“Please, take proactive steps to stop the activities of Boko Haram. We must not accept the agenda of the sect. We must promote neighbour to neighbour protection method. We should not give room for reprisal. Protection of our neighbours should be the first principle,” Soyinka pleaded.
Speaking on the theme of the meeting, “Endemic Corruption: The Bane of Good Governance.” Soyinka alleged that the legislature was characterised with a range of corrupt acts and suggested that the country should adopt a part time legislative system at both the state and federal levels as against the current full time legislature that the country is running.
He said: “Nigeria’s corruption is methodological in nature. Corruption can’t stop in this country until we change our legislative system. In State Houses of Assemblies and the National Assembly, the system in vogue is outward passage of funds and no inward. Some legislators in this country earn more than the United States President.
“The presidential system in Nigeria is a total disaster and costly. We have a cancerous problem in this country and our government should not pretend that it could cure it with bandage. Can this nation afford the presidential system of government? It has come to a stage where we need to ask ourselves if we can continue with full time legislature,” he said.
In his own submission, Convener of SNG, Pastor Tunde Bakare, denied insinuations that the group was a guerrilla or violent group, saying the group’s advent was spurred by the political impasse caused by absence of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua administration.
Meanwhile, EU's spokesperson, Catherine Ashton, in a statement issued on January 22, said: "We will discuss with the Nigerian government in the coming days, including at our forthcoming Ministerial dialogue in early February, possible ways and concrete actions in support of peace, security and development in the country, particularly for the poorest communities.”
He said the group was committed to free social mobility in the country adding: “We would continue to enlighten Nigerian citizens about the burden of the nation, their rights and civil obligations.”
He said the recent five-day strike called by the organised Labour against fuel subsidy removal marked a rebirth of the people’s power as he warned the government to be careful of oppressing the poor masses of Nigeria if it doesn’t want to face the people’s wrath.
“If the poor cannot sleep because of hunger, the rich too will not be able to sleep,” he noted.
He condemned Boko Haram activities in the Northern part of the country and expressed concern about where the sect will attack next.
Meanwhile, EU's spokesperson, Catherine Ashton, in a statement issued on January 22, said: "We will discuss with the Nigerian government in the coming days, including at our forthcoming Ministerial dialogue in early February, possible ways and concrete actions in support of peace, security and development in the country, particularly for the poorest communities."
Ashton stated that: "The EU resolutely rejected terrorism as a means to any end. It pledges its support to the vast majority of Nigerian citizens who have a long tradition of religious and social tolerance, and who seek to live in peace with their neighbours. We offer our support to the Nigerian people and Government in overcoming this threat to their way of life and their country's stability and democracy."