Wole Soyinka Wants Nigeria to End Killings of Women and Children

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — As Americans grapple with the proliferation of guns used against minorities, elders, children, immigrants and victims chosen randomly, Nigerian Professor Wole Soyinka has launched a similar campaign against the rising rate of intentional homicides that the Nigerian government has failed to reverse.

The Nobel Laureate has announced the cancellation of an engagement with a school in Anambra State over the murder of a pregnant woman, her four children, and six other persons in Isulo, Orumba North Local Government Area of the state.

Soyinka made his decision known in a statement entitled ‘Drawing the Red Line on Infanticide’. He began, saying: “‘We must begin somewhere, “draw a line”—however individual and limited.”

The victims this time were a Mrs Harira Jubril, her four children and six others—gunned down on May 22. It caused a wave of outcry.

Nigeria witnessed its deadliest week in 2022 (April 10 to 16) as armed non-state actors killed at least 215 people in various attacks. Before the latest tally, the highest figure this year was recorded in the first three weeks of 2022 when at least 486 people were killed. 

The “horror that was recently afflicted on the people of Anambra and the rest of us was redoubled for me personally because the news reached me outside the country while I was participating in an event of youth empowerment—a college graduation ceremony,” he began.

“At the Abuja event, exactly a week ago, I proposed the need to develop the collective sense of a Lowest Common Denominator in the seizure of our humanity.

“Any act that attempts to drag us below, or remove that rung of the human ladder should be answered by a total community shutdown—or other equivalence—of its own accord until that rung is fully reclaimed.

“The Anambra infanticidal orgy is one such. The mob immolation of Deborah Samuel over allegations of blasphemy was another. Response to such abominations transcends the mandatory functions of security agencies.

“The act constitutes a breach in community ramparts and should be answered by collective action. Again, I insist that it is long past time to move beyond pious denunciations—essential, yes, but insufficient.

“We simply must devise ways of making our revulsion so stark, unambiguous, and inclusive. Only then will such pollutants of civic consciousness be brought to rethink, and come to understand that it is not just the immediate family, friends and colleagues whose humanity is thus violated, but the totality of cohabitants.

“This time, I believe the decision is right, the moment compelling. In empathy with those innocents whose scholastic careers have been so brutally annulled, I serve notice of cancellation of that engagement with the Anambra school, scheduled for August.

“The deaths of those innocents cannot be reversed, but we must begin, even yesterday, the process of reversing the mental trajectory that makes death from innocence the current norm of national existence.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 03 June 2022]

Photo: 1986 Nobel Prize winner in Literature Wole Soyinka during a lecture at Stockholm Public Library on October 4, 2018. CC BY-SA 4.0

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