Newsmen gathered that nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka believes that Nigeria cannot completely get rid of Islamist sect, Boko Haram, because of the mindset and mentality of the terrorist group.
Soyinka who has been labelled the conscience of Nigeria told a Harvard audience on Wednesday that the ruthless Islamist religious fundamentalism is “the enemy of humanity.” “We will never get rid of Boko Haram,” Soyinka said, when Hutchins Center’s director, Henry Louis Gates Jr., a former student, longtime friend and colleague of Soyinka asked him to expand on a remark that Boko Haram, and by extension the fundamentalist group ISIS, could create a complete redistribution of power and boundary lines in West Africa.
In a report by Harvard, he described the jihadists who wish to impose Sharia law and ban Western learning across Nigeria as indoctrinated “fanatics who believe that if they die in the cause, they will go straight to heaven,” where they “believe literally in the 77 virgins awaiting their arrival.”
“They do not want to reason — they kill,” said playwright and poet Wole Soyinka, urging vigorous international action against Islamist militant groups like Boko Haram, whose campaign of terror in northern Nigeria has included the kidnapping of thousands of women and girls
“We’ve reached a state where there’s a party of life and a party of death,” he said, and those on the side of life must fight for their belief “as ruthlessly” as the foe they face.
Soyinka, a former political prisoner who became in 1986 the first black African to win the Nobel Prize in literature, spoke at the Barker Center in the wake of a historic vote in Nigeria. In a general election at the end of March, opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari, former military ruler of the country, prevailed over incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan by more than 2.7 million votes.
When Jonathan conceded defeat, it marked the first time an incumbent president had been voted from office via the ballot box in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, with the continent’s largest economy. Soyinka, an outspoken campaigner for human rights as Nigeria’s pre-eminent public intellectual, was invited to give his perspective on the political landscape of a nation troubled by a history of military dictatorship, corruption, and civil strife.