A literary critic, poet and novelist, Professor Sule Emmanuel Egya, popularly known as E.E Sule, has called on Nigerian writers to focus attention on their environment, stating that the more writers bring these conditions to the fore, the better the responses of the constituted authorities towards addressing these challenges.
Egya, a professor of English Literature at IBB University, Lapai, Niger state, made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja, on a 3-day conference he is organising in collaboration with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
According to him, the conference scheduled to hold between 26 and 30 June, 2018, with the theme: ‘Ecology and the Convergence of the Sciences and Humanities’, is about bringing different scholars from different fields to deliberate on the fate of the environment.
He said: “My area of research is literature and the environment and I have been investigating how writers and literary scholars deal with the question of the environment which very crucial question for most people on is the surface of the earth.
“It is a very important conference that is about to make history. I have already received about 80 abstracts cutting across all disciplines such as geography, geology, chemistry, biochemistry, theatre arts, economics, political science and many more.
“The participants and paper presenters are drawn from across the country. We are expecting about 150 participants.”
Speaking further, he explained that though the relationship between literature and the environment is developing, writers have started responding to the conditions of the environment in which they live.
He said: “Take Nigerian writers for example. Before now, their responses had been to political and economic happenings that affect the lives of human beings. They write about poverty, crisis, relationship and sexuality.
“But people are now beginning to write about the earth we are living on, because writers now see that in some cases the earth is being injured. So, writers write to protest the environmental hazards.
“The issue of the Niger Delta, for example, has become a big example of environmental activism through writing. You see writers writing on how the Niger Delta ecology is being destroyed by the oil exploration in the region. Writers need to start writing about so many other environmental conditions in which they live.
“Similarly, Aliyu Kamar who is from Kano wrote a novel about deforestation. There is also a writer from Benue state who has also written about climate change. We also know about lead poisoning that is going on in Zamfara state. So, we need writers to respond to such situation.”
On the partnership with the Foundation, Mr Sule said: “We are lucky to have generous sponsorship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, a German organisation interested in inviting scholars from all over the world to Germany to give them avenues to do research on their chosen area of speciality.
“The foundation has been in existence since after the Second World War, by which I was lucky to have been invited in 2009 to 2011.This conference is also part of the support they are doing for me. They have also bought research equipment for me.”