Soyinka hits out at Nigerian preachers over coronavirus

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has criticised the response of the Nigerian government and religious leaders to the coronavirus.

Over the weekend some preachers in the West African country ignored government directives about social distancing and went ahead with Sunday services, which were attended by thousands of congregants.

The author, who lives in Nigeria which has 46 cases of Covid-19, told the BBC’s Charles Mgbolu:

“They have been treated with kid gloves for too long… I think there is too much political correctness going on.

“What the government should do in such instances is to take note of these contraveners of common sense and ensure that they are punished after this crisis is over or at some point or the other.

“We have to take on churches and mosques, religions of any kind including traditional religions that misbehave and let them understand that they are living in very different times than that of their imagination.”

Soyinka said the government should have had enough isolation centres, well-stocked pharmacies and research centres that would have helped deal with the crisis.

Prof Soyinka has been in self-isolation for nine days after returning from the United States.

Other prominent African personalities in isolation or who have tested positive for the coronavirus include Cavayé Yéguié Djibril, the president of the Cameroonian parliament, Amason Kingi, the governor of Kilifi county in Kenya, and Nathaniel Balma,the head of Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency.

African saxophone legend Manu Dibango died on Tuesday in Paris after catching the virus.

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