Nobel laureate; Prof Wole Soyinka has advised the Federal Government and government at all levels to use quality education to address the nation’s growing illiteracy, noting that it is lack of education that breeds sinister groups like the Boko Haram.
Prof Soyinka made this remark on Monday, while speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where he noted that Halal is the opposite of Haram.
He commended the state government for winning and hosting the World Book Capital city next year, stressing that both the state and the country will benefit from the festival.
Prof Soyinka suggested that the slogan ‘Nigeria is Boko Halal’ should be adopted as the campaign slogan for the World Book Capital.
“When they (Boko Haram insurgents) say Boko Haram, we say Boko Halal” he said.
He explained that Halal; an Islamic term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, means “virtue, goodness and peace.”
Islamic fundamentalists that seek the imposition of Sharia law across Nigeria are known as Boko Haram which means ‘western education is sinful.’
Noting that he was in the state to pledge support to the festival, Soyinka declared that the ‘World Book Capital’ will spark literary activities and attract intellectual tourism in the state.
“Certain infrastructures will be left behind…there will be in transportation, in hotel facilities, because the whole world is coming to your door steps…..even catering businesses will boom including lots of literary activities- publishing, book sales and building of libraries.”
With such activities the Professor of literature opined that terrorism and violence can be curbed through educational activities, as he claimed that “a country with high illiteracy levels breeds sinister groups like the Boko Haram.”
Asked of his view on the political crisis in Rivers State, he expressed his worries about the crisis, quipping that “as a citizen of the country he has the right to comment hence I am very worried over happenings in the state.”
I’m very much concerned about the imbroglio which the state appears to be at the moment. My main comment is for heaven’s sake whatever happens internally between parties and so on, please don’t debase or manipulate the judiciary.”
“That is my appeal to the governance at all levels” he affirmed.
He also spoke on the grounding of aircraft of the Rivers State Governor by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), saying the action smacks of ‘pettiness’ which is not expected in a democracy like Nigeria.