Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has proposed that any state in the country where a child is kidnapped should shut down completely to send a message.
Soyinka said this at the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) award lecture and public presentation of ‘Chronicles of the happiest people on earth,’ the latest book authored by him in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital on Saturday.
According to the professor of literature, if the whole country could shut down because of COVID-19, then the states could as well take such a drastic step towards addressing the spate of insecurity in the country.
While admitting that the proposal may sound extreme, the acclaimed playwright insisted that there is nothing else to recommend as a panacea to the country’s worsening security situation.
He said: “Has it got to be COVID–19 that we take stringent actions, is it going to be an abnormality like COVID–19 that compels us to shut down if necessary and I mean shut down, I think we are reaching the point wherein any State where any child is kidnapped that State should shut down completely and other states in sympathy, solidarity should shut down some of their activities, we should not wait for an enemy faceless, airborne unpredictable enemy like COVID–19 to shut down, to make us shut down, to say in protest and as a statement of the unacceptable we are shutting ourselves down until this situation is resolved.
“I think we have reached the point where when our children are taking away from us we should as least for some time shut down, it sounds extreme but we don’t know what else one can propose at this particular time, yes life must go on but even those activities will generate and enhance our very existence. I think we have to take on a tonality of regrets, of the unacceptable, protestation and mobilisation on whatever level it is possible as a community of human beings.
“It is not either a day of too much negativity but we are paying a price and consequence with permanence of those scars in our collective psyche that is what worries me. This movement towards accepting as a way of life the absence of the young generation compelled, enforced and forced absence of our own children.”
Soyinka lamented that those in charge of security and the leaders have failed the populace and that the citizens are approaching towards the era of accepting a culture that should be unacceptable.
“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 can not permit ourselves to accept the child hostage-taking as a way of life, we just can not continue in this fashion, something drastic and meaningful has to take place and it has to be collective.
“This is no longer the responsibility of those at the top, in charge of security, in charge of governance they have clearly failed the populace, they have failed us, there is no point trying to reason it up, trying to give an excuse, putting blame or whatever. The important thing is that we are very close to accepting a culture of the unacceptable.
“Events like this for me propagate the positive in existence, I think we are obliged somehow to swallow our pride and come together as productive and determined human beings especially as a community.”