Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Tuesday said the government of President Goodluck Jonathan was not capable of countering the menace of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Speaking on Amanpour on CNN, Soyinka submitted that the international community must intervene in what he called the bestiality of the insurgents when responding the question of the host, Christine Amanpour on how the insurgency in the country could be tackled.
“This menace has to be internationalised; every country has to be involved in finding solutions to the problem. It is not a Nigerian problem but the problem of the whole world. From the activities of the group and the response of the government since this madness started, it is clear that this government cannot handle this problem alone,” he said.
Soyinka accused both the past and the present governments in the country of living in self denial, by believing that they could negotiate or “appeal” to “murderers and killers” to stop their activities.
He said, “It is not just the President that has been living in self denial but some of those he has surrounded himself with. I cannot understand why it is difficult to ask for international help when you are confronted with a problem of this nature.
“The problem would not have reached this monstrous level if the President has not been living in self denial. So, accepting the help of the United States in this matter is long overdue.”
Soyinka faulted the visit of the former Nigerian President, the late Umaru Yar’Adua, to the family and loyalists of the founder of Boko Haram, Yusuf Mohammed, after he was killed in police detention in 2009.
The Nobel Laureate said, “I don’t support extrajudicial killing; it is condemnable, it is absurd. But you need to understand this better that these people that were said to have been killed by the security agents were equally killers and murderers.
“Yusuf, the leader of the sect, was killing people and forcing people to convert to Islam or be killed. Now, I’m surprised that some people have painted Yusuf as a saint.
“The former President went to the family and people of Yusuf after he was killed (in 2009) to plead with them to be calm; appealing to killers and murderers to be calm?”
Soyinka noted that the abducted schoolgirls in Chibok might live with the trauma of their kidnapping for the rest of their lives, recommending that the authorities should get psychologists, who would be able to help them after they might have been freed.
He explained that the politicians had laid the foundation for the army of idle militants in the North, which became the bedrock of the lingering insurgency.
“The politicians helped to entrench this problem in the first place. The large army of Almajiri metamorphosed into the raw materials that these terrorists recruited and the politicians also used them for their own selfish interest. Now, they can no longer handle the problem,” he said.
When Amanpour asked Soyinka for his reaction to the pronouncements and actions of the wife of the President, Dame Patience Jonathan, on Monday, the Nobel Laureate said, “That one that calls herself the First Lady of Nigeria? I don’t want to talk about her.”