Reporter 400, 21 April 1997

Treason charge denied by Nigerian graduate

The Nobel prize-winning Nigerian writer and playwright Wole Soyinka has been charged with treason in his homeland. The penalty is death. Soyinka, a Leeds graduate who also holds an honorary degree from the University, was charged with causing explosions and conspiring to start war on the leader of the Nigerian military regime. He has lived in exile for two and a half years and is currently in Los Angeles.

He was charged along with 14 other opponents of the regime. Soyinka, 63, spent two years in solitary confinement during the Nigerian Civil War and has said he is not surprised at the reacton of the regime to his pro-democracy stance. He premiered The Beatification of Area Boy at the West Yorkshire Playhouse – with support from the University – in 1995, a play which explores the corrupton, violence and conflict in Nigeria.

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