Nigerian theatre practitioners have been advised to use the instrument of theatre in researching into the remote and immediate causes of the current violent activities in the country, and portray the negative impacts in order to sustain peace and ensure the continued existence of the Nigerian nation.
Dr. Gowon Ama Doki, Head, Department of Theatre Arts, Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria, gave this advice in a paper, titled, “Playing to ‘Task’: Theatre and Violence In Nigeria,” which he presented at the African Theatre Association (AfTA) Conference, at the Hiddingh Campus, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, noting that one big threat to the continued existence and survival of Nigeria as a nation is the spate of recurring violence in the country today, ranging from the activities of Niger Delta militants to the Boko Haram Islamic sect.
Dr. Doki opined that by recreating scenarios and presenting episodes of these violent attacks either on stage, as scripted plays, or even as community theatre performances, people would be brought closer to the realities and thus call to task their individual consciences, adding that theatre practitioners at all levels should engage this menace with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.
He lamented that many innocent citizens have been injured, displaced, or died, just as many have also been orphaned and widowed, stressing that the pains are deep, the losses are colossal, the atmosphere is tense, just as fear and anxiety have become the citizenry’s permanent neighbours.
Dr. Doki was among the African theatre scholars, including the Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who attended the AfTA Annual International Conference from Nigeria.
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