Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has denied attacking Nigerians who go abroad to seek medical treatment.
The professor of English was misunderstood in a documentary with BBC Life Clinic’s Charles Mgbolu at his Ogun State which was published on Tuesday.
In a statement on Wednesday, Soyinka said he could not have made the statement, adding that he was criticising government officials who go abroad for treatment.
“Those who are able must seek health from wherever, including the outer planets, as long as a nation fails to provide even the most rudimentary but effective and sustainable health facilities for her own citizens. Indeed, I called it a shame that a nation as resource endowed as Nigeria has failed in that fundamental aspect since it privileges just a few as against the totality,” he said.
“I lamented a situation where a nation’s president leaves his station again and again for weeks on end to seek treatment outside his nation, while the health system over which he presides steadily collapses around him.”
Soyinka added that he had not seen the final presentation of the BBC feature programme on Health Awareness in which his 2014 experience with prostate cancer was featured, but stressed that the treatment ended in 2014.
“The first – and most urgent – correction, of course, is to re-state that this is an ancient tale that is firmly situated in the past tense. In other words, I have not been under any cancer-related condition for over five years. Indeed, it was in order to avoid creating any such anxieties that I refrained from even revealing my own ordeal until I had fully and successfully concluded treatment.
“I made the original revelation in 2015, in support of the late Professor Femi Williams’ drive to set up an Africa Cancer Centre in Nigeria. It did not fail to strike an instructive chord that I had been a founding participant in that health initiative, little suspecting at the time that I was already a carrier of the enemy virus!” he said.