NewsWest AfricaNigeria on brink of civil war: Soyinka


Posted on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 10:15

Nigeria on brink of civil war: Soyinka

By Konye Obaji Ori

Soyinka has warned.


Religious intolerance fuelled by politicians, ethnicism and economic unrest is pushing Nigeria to the brink of another civil war, renowned poet and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has warned.

Nigeria has been rocked by protests over rising petrol prices/Photo/ReutersAccording to Soyinka, conditions that led to the Nigerian civil of 1967 have resurfaced.

"It's not an unrealistic comparison (Nigeria in 2000s and Nigeria in the 1960s) — it's certainly based on many similarities.

"We see the nation heading towards a civil war. We can no longer pretend it's not," Wole Soyinka told the BBC World Service on Tuesday.

He said the threat posed by extremist Islamist group, Boko Haram, Soyinka was a severe test to the Nigerian state.

"When you've got a situation where a bunch of people can go into a place of worship and open fire through the windows, you've reached a certain dismal watershed in the life of that nation," Soyinka said.

Despite its vast resources, the United Nations ranks Nigeria among countries with uneven distribution of wealth.

The respected author blamed the anomaly on politicians.

"There are people in power in certain parts of the country, leaders, who quite genuinely and authoritatively hate and cannot tolerate any religion outside their own," he said.

"When you combine that with the ambitions of a number of people who believe they are divinely endowed to rule the country and who believe that their religion is above whatever else binds the entire nation together, and somehow the power appears to slip from their hands, then they resort to the most extreme measures."

Nigeria has also been rocked by protests over rising petrol prices after President Goodluck Jonathan's government worsening the unrest in the West African country.

On the second day of the protests, suspected Boko Haram members attacked a drinking joint in Yobe state and killed eight people, four of whom were policemen.

In the oil-rich south-east, people from Delta and Akwa Ibom have often complained that all the wealth they generate is being enjoyed in Abuja and Lagos.

Militant groups have been sprouting in the vast country claiming to be fighting for economic justice in behalf of their communities.

Boko Haram from the not blames Nigeria's problems on Western influence and wants all institution that represent the West to be done away with.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:00

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