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Buhari’s Government ‘Afraid To Listen’, Says Soyinka

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The Nigeria Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka says President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is “afraid to listen” to Nigerians.

Watch And Pray, Watch And Prey By Wole Soyinka
Watch And Pray, Watch And Prey By Wole Soyinka

Soyinka was reacting to the seal-off of the venue of a symposium on August April 19 where he was supposed to speak on insecurity.

The Nigerian writer warned the Federal government to stop “trying to muzzle people” when they come together to exchange ideas.

Soyinka said this on Saturday in a gathering in Badagry at an art gallery which was in commemoration of his 85th birthday.

He said the government’s attitude to Nigerians is an indication that it’s afraid to listen.

“It is important to send a strong message to this government and to the security services to stop trying to muzzle people when they come together to exchange ideas,” Soyinka said.

“You’re reducing them as human beings and you’re also reducing yourselves as human beings because it means you’re afraid to listen.

“One of the beauties of existence is the ability to express concern which we cannot compromise. Creativity takes place in an atmosphere of absolute freedom… the reduction of the rights of expression of any one of us is an infringement and assault on the rights of all of us.”

Soyinka also talked on the power of social media, warning Nigerians to be wary of believing whatever they read.

“Be very, very careful what you believe even when you read such materials in social media or sometimes in newspapers because, in this country, we have a most fertile multiplier effect,” he said.

“When somebody hears something, he puts it on the Internet, it spreads and an industry begins as people start commenting on things which never existed.

“Positive, negative or neutral, it doesn’t matter; what matters is that somebody’s identity has been stolen and some contemptible cowards are responsible for stealing that individual’s identity.

“Putting words in his or her mouth and thereby generating totally non-existent irrelevant contestations.

“So, when you read things on social media, take it with a pinch of salt, decide whether it makes sense because the person who posted it might have a private agenda.”

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