Soyinka pays tributes to heroine of Dapchi, Leah Sharibu

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*Sharibu, Soyinka

Ime Akpan

Slams US for being soft on Boko Haram

Says Boko Haram is not caused by poverty

Nobel laureate, Prof. has paid glowing tributes to 16-year-old Miss Leah Sharibu who has been held captive by Boko Haram insurgent since February 19, 2018.

Sharibu, it would be recalled, was among the 110 students of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State who were abducted by the insurgents.

One hundred and five of the students regained freedom on March 21, 2018 through a series of what the federal government described as ‘behind-the-scene discussion’ while five were said to have died on the day of captivity and were given a mass burial.

But Sharibu, the only Christian girl among the hostages, was denied her freedom as she refused to convert as a precondition.

Speaking at an event at Georgetown University in Washington DC, United States likened the teenager to the late South African president, Dr. Nelson Mandela, saying: “We must celebrate the exception who said ‘no’ “as it reminded me of Mandela who refused conditional release.”

Reciting the ode, entitled Mandela comes to Leah, Soyinka said:

“Faith is not of compulsion…her torch undimmed in the den of zealots.”

Professor Soyinka said he could only recite excerpts from the ode because he broke down the last time he had tried to read it.

The playwright disagreed with a Georgetown professor’s claim that poverty and desperation were behind the Boko Haram insurgency.

“It was ideological bordering on the metaphysical and we should not underestimate it. We are dealing with something much deeper.

“Recall the son of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria who was upper middle class but who disappeared with his family to join ISIS in Syria.

“There is a will to deny the possibility of horror and evil. We have reached a point where we have to go beyond the material analysis of this phenomenon. It goes beyond poverty and marginalisation. The ideology of sheer morbidity,” he said.

Soyinka also lashed out at the 20 American intellectuals who opposed the designation of Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organisation (FTO) saying: “It took my breath away.

“Some were my friends, but in all seriousness, they simply had a very wrong analytical approach to this problem.

“We must simply jettison the language of political correctness. Political correctness is turning the African continent into the graveyard of freedom and liberty if we don’t call things by their proper names.

“We are dealing now with the toxin of power which barely manifests itself under the cloak of religion.”

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