Presidency to Soyinka: Lockdown in Nigerians interest, Write play on pandemic later

The Presidency has defended President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to declare a 14-day lockdown in some states in reaction to the comments of the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, who said Nigeria is not in a “war emergency”.

The presidency said the decision was in the best interest of Nigerians, adding that the playwright had no specialty in medicine but may choose to write a play on the pandemic after the emergency was over.

The above was contained in a statement signed on Wednesday night by Garba Shehu, a media aide to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The president’s spokesman advised Nigerians to trust science and not fiction.

He said, “Professor Soyinka is not a medical professor. His qualifications are in English literature, and his prizes are for writing books and plays for theatres.

“Across the world…mandated lockdowns are in place to slow and defeat the spread of coronavirus.

“The Government’s primary duty in law and action is the defence of the people of Nigeria. We face a global pandemic. Nigeria is now affected.

The scientific and medical guidance the world over is clear: the way to defeat the virus is to halt its spread through limitation of movement of people.

“Perhaps, Wole Soyinka may write a play on the coronavirus pandemic, after this emergency is over.

“In the meantime, we ask the people of Nigeria to trust the words of our doctors and scientists – and not fiction writers – at this time of national crisis.”

Nigeria presently has 174 confrimed infections across the country while two deaths have also been recorded, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

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