Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has said that despite the carnage from Boko Haram’s continued terrorist attacks that dwarfed that of the Nigeria civil war, the insurgence is incapable of splitting the country.
The literary giant, who spoke with newsmen in his country home in Abeokuta, emphasised that despite the nation’s suffering at the hands of the terrorist group, its provocation will only teach Nigerians some moral lessons.
Soyinka, surrounded by traditional wooden sculptures of Yoruba deities, said that the horror will strengthen national cohesiveness.
He noted that the horrors inflicted by the militants had shown Nigerians across ethnic and religious divides that sticking together might be the only way to avoid even greater sectarian slaughter.
Soyinka emphasised that the bloodshed was now worse than during the 1967-70 Nigeria-Biafra war, when a secessionist attempt by the then Eastern Region almost tore Nigeria up into ethnic regions.
“We have never been confronted with butchery on this scale, even during the civil war,” he stated. “There were atrocities (during Biafra) but we never had such a near-predictable level of carnage and this is what is horrifying.”
The writer, who was imprisoned for two years in solitary confinement by the military regime during the war on charges of aiding Biafra, disagreed with commentators’ prediction that the intensity of the conflict may split the country.
“I think, ironically, it’s less likely now. For the first time, a sense of belonging is predominating. It’s either we stick together now or we break up, and we know it would be not in a pleasant way.”