Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Saturday, urged Nigerians to reject kidnapping of school children in the Northern parts of the country as a way of life, saying any state where child hostage takes place should be shut down in protest against the act.
Soyinka, who was reacting to the abduction of over 300 school children from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State, described recurrent abduction of school children in the North as a dangerous trend that must not be allowed to continue.
The renowned playwright and poet disclosed this shortly after the award lecture and public presentation of his new book, titled “Chronicles of the happiest people on Earth”, which was held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. Soyinka, who lamented that the government and security agencies have failed Nigerians, said he did not know what else to recommend as panacea to the nation’s ‘abnormal times’.
He also advised that other neighbouring states as a matter of solidarity, should join the affected states to shut down . The event was organised by the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Ogun State chapter, in collaboration with the Abeokuta Club.
The octogenarian playwright said: “It is important that we remind ourselves and stress that these are abnormal times, but it seems to me anyway as times of shirking of responsibilities in key areas.
“We cannot permit ourselves to accept the child hostage taking as a way of life. We just cannot continue in this fashion, something drastic and meaningful has to take place and it has to be collective.”
Comparing the children hostage taking with the effects of COVID-19, Soyinka said, if the virus could force the nation to shut down its activities, nothing should stop the affected states in registering their displeasure by shutting down.
A keynote speech was delivered by Vice Chancellor, FUNAAB, Prof. Felix Salako, on ‘Trends in cattle management and concerns about food insecurity in Nigeria’.
Salako advised the government to make available land evaluation and land use planning to demarcate prime lands for agriculture and conservation of natural resources.