Drawing the Red Line on Infanticide
File: Professor Wole Soyinka

Professor Wole Soyinka has cancelled an engagement with a school in Anambra State over the murder of a pregnant woman, her four children, and six other persons in Isulo, Orumba North Local Government Area of the state.

The Nobel Laureate made his decision known in a statement entitled “Drawing the Red Line on Infanticide,” stating that ‘We must begin somewhere, “draw a line” – however individual and limited’.

Gunmen, on Sunday, May 22, killed Mrs. Harira Jubril, her four children and six others, all of northern extraction, causing a wave of outcry.

In his statement (read the full text HERE), Soyinka said the “horror that was recently afflicted on the people of Anambra and the rest of us was redoubled for me personally because the news reached me outside the country while I was participating in an event of youth  empowerment — a college graduation ceremony.”

It read in part: “At the Abuja event, exactly a week ago, I proposed the need to develop the collective sense of a Lowest Common Denominator in the seizure of our humanity.

“Any act that attempts to drag us below, or remove that rung of the human ladder should be answered by a total community shutdown — or other equivalence — of its own accord, until that rung is fully reclaimed.

“The Anambra infanticidal orgy is one such. Deborah Samuel’s mob immolation was another. Response to such abominations transcends the mandatory functions of security agencies.

“The act constitutes a breach in community ramparts and should be answered by collective action. Again, I insist that it is long past time to move beyond pious denunciations – essential, yes, but insufficient.

“We simply must devise ways of making our revulsion so stark, unambiguous, and inclusive. Only then will such pollutants of civic consciousness be brought to rethink, come to understand that it is not just the immediate family, friends and colleagues whose humanity is thus violated, but the totality of cohabitants.

“This time, I believe the decision is right, the moment compelling. In empathy with those innocents whose scholastic careers have been so brutally annulled, I serve notice of cancellation of that engagement with the Anambra school, scheduled for August.

“The deaths of those innocents cannot be reversed, but we must begin, even yesterday, the process of reversing the mental trajectory that makes death from innocence the current norm of national existence.”

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