“There were atrocities which were committed,” he said, adding that “but you never had such a regular, getting to a near predictable level of carnage. I think this is what is terrifying.
“There’s no war zone. There’s no battle line. It’s everywhere. Not just in the North East for instance, it’s here, right here where we are sitting. It’s right down in Lagos, even though it has not manifested itself.”
In an interview with Reuters, Soyinka, who turns 80 in two weeks, said the terrorists are enemies of unity but are not likely to disintegrate the country.
Soyinka blamed successive governments for allowing religious fanaticism to undermine Nigeria’s broadly secular constitution, starting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo allowing some states to declare Sharia law in the early 2000s.
“When the spectre of Sharia first came up, for political reasons, this was allowed to hold, instead of the president defending the constitution,” he said.
Soyinka sees both Christianity and Islam as foreign impositions and argued that modern Africa has lost its shape.
“We cannot ignore the negative impact which both have had on African society,” he told Reuters adding that “they are imperialist forces: intervening, arrogant. Modern Africa has been distorted.”
He added that while the leadership of Boko Haram needed to be “decapitated completely”, little had been done to present an alternative ideological vision to their “deluded” followers, driven largely by economic destitution and despair.