Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Thursday condemned the handling of the Southern Kaduna violence by President Muhammadu Buhari and the state Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai.
Soyinka, who criticized the admission by El -Rufai that he paid the perpetrators of the violence to stop the carnage, said “the word religion these days is likely to induce anxiety leading to trauma rather than solace and the consolation of spirituality which many religions claim for themselves.”
At the launch of the book Religion and the Making of Nigeria in Abuja, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also lamented non-prosecution of perpetrators of religious violence and other high profile murder cases in the country.
Prof. Mrs. Bolanle Awe also decried how Islam and Christianity have subjugated Nigerian women who were prominent social, political and economic leaders in pre-colonial times.
The Nobel Laureate said, “What astonished me was not the admission by the governor but that of others at such governmental response to atrocity.“There was nothing new about it. If you ask why Buhari did not act fast enough when these events take place, which degrade us as human beings, well it is perhaps he has been waiting for the governor of that state to send money to the killers first for them to stop the killing.” Soyinka said it was no longer enough for religious leaders to simply condemn violence perpetrated by their followers.
He added: “The sitting president of this nation, Buhari once said ‘If you don’t kill corruption in this nation, corruption would kill us.’ I would like to transfer that cry from the moral zone to the terrain of religion. If we do not tame religion in this nation, religion would kill us. “I do not say kill religion though. I wouldn’t mind a bit if that mission could be undertaken surgically; painlessly perhaps under anesthesia effectively sprayed all over the nation or perhaps during an induced pouch of religious ecstasy.
“However, one has to be realistic. Only the religiously possessed or committed would deny the obvious. The price that many have paid not just within this society but by humanity in general makes one wonder if the benefits have really been more than the losses. “I have quite often imagine what the world would be if religion had never been invented. Can one think of any landscape without religious architecture? What went wrong? What has gone wrong? When where and how did religion become a killing machine? The book under consideration does not pretend to attend to those issues.”