Soyinka, who spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, also called on the federal government to ensure release of students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state who were held captive recently by the so called members of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram in the school.
Professor Soyinka who gave the keynote address at the opening of the UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 book fair said there was need for the federal government to ensure the safe release of the students.
He said he had expected President Goodluck Jonathan to convene an emergency security meeting over the ugly development in the school after the abduction of the students.
Continuing, he said the on-going book fair in Port Harcourt was a national rejection of Boko Haram, adding that the dreaded Islamic sect does not reflect the teachings and values of Islam.
He further urged the Federal Government not to impose tax on importation of books.
Shortly after his address, former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili and the Project Director, Rainbow Book club, Mrs. Koko Kalango led the gathering stand up to make a collective demand on the federal government to ensure the kidnapped students were released.
Earlier in her goodwill message, Dr. Ezekwesili had expressed hope that Port Harcourt as UNESCO World Book capital 2014 would stimulate interest in reading among the old and young, stressing that conscious effort be made to transform the country into centre of intellectual activities.
In his remark, Chairman of the ceremony, former Head of State, Gen Abdusalami Abubakar, rtd, harped on the need for peace and security of lives in the country. He also congratulated Port Harcourt for emerging World Book capital for the year.
Governor Chibuike Amaechi, who was host at the event, said his administration started holding the Garden City literary festival since 2008, as a step towards reversing the economic decline in the state which he blamed on militancy and other related challenges.
He said the annual festival had transformed the state into the hub of literature in the country. ” Port Harcourt as UNESCO world book capital 2014 is the result of the huge impact and success of our efforts since 2008″, the governor said.
He said the solution to the menace posed by Boko Haram was in education and agriculture. “Boko Harams are shooting because somebody is paying them. We dismantled the illegal economy called militancy in Rivers state”, he said.