Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has backed his literary colleague, Prof. Chinua Achebe, in the raging controversy over the roles of some prominent Nigerians during the Nigerian civil war.
Soyinka, in an interview published in The Telegraph of London, but obtained by THISDAY yesterday, said the Igbo were victims of genocide during the three-year civil war, which was fought to break up Nigeria.
Achebe had stirred the hornet's nest in his civil war memoir, "There Was A Country", when among others, he accused wartime Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and the then Finance Minister, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, of carrying out a genocide against the Igbo.
The claim has generated considerable controversy, with many commentators accusing Achebe of re-writing history.
Soyinka, however, justified the secession bid and described Biafrans as "people who'd been abused, who'd undergone genocide, and who felt completely rejected by the rest of the community, and therefore decided to break away and form a nation of its own."
He also condemned religious militancy, saying now is the time to tackle Boko Haram, the insurgent group that has visited terror on the North, killing over 1,500 since 2009.