Punch / Nigeria: Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Thursday said he did not represent any international intervention group when he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on August 10.
He also appealed to the Federal Government “to respond positively to the outrage of the militants of Niger Delta.”
Soyinka, who said some of the groups in the Niger Delta region drew him into his current interventionist role, faulted media reports (PUNCH not included) that he met with the President to mediate on the crisis in the region as part of an international intervention group.
Stating that he was contacted personally to help in mediating in the matter, the revered playwright said he spoke in his capacity as Wole Soyinka and not on behalf of a non-existing ‘international intervention group.’
The essayist and social critic noted that he promised to later address the press when State House correspondents ambushed him after his visit to the President.
He, however, refused to speak about what he discussed at the meeting among other issues on Thursday.
Soyinka said, “It is bad enough to distort statements and issues. My demand of the media is accuracy. I cannot spend my time correcting falsehood. I am not part of any international intervention group. What kind of intervention? How can a non-existing group contact the President? I know of no international intervention group in existence. There can be no extrapolation, no second guessing…’’
Besides, he appealed to President Buhari to respond positively to the rage of the militants in the Niger Delta region.
He added that the militants felt that the Federal Government was not seriously responding to their agitation.
He said, ‘‘I will appeal to the government to respond positively to the outrage of the militants in the Niger Delta region. They feel that government is seriously not responding to them. I am not speaking for any international group. I am speaking as Wole Soyinka.’’
Soyinka, who described terrorism as religious lunacy and intoxication, citing the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups, said those who destroyed mausoleums, maimed humans and desecrated cultures should be ‘wiped out.
“Aggression must be met by every possible means,’’ he said.
He also stated that the foundation would initiate ‘talk sessions’ to address wide-ranging national issues at the right time.
The parley was convened by some members of the Wole Soyinka Foundation to unveil an educational exchange programme between it and Cedars Institute, Notre Dame University, Lebanon.
The facilitator, Dr. Habib Jafaar, said five Nigerian students selected on merit for the exchange programme were expected to depart Lagos on Saturday for Beirut.