The Nigerian senate on Sunday faulted Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's comments on their ultimatum to the United States following the grouping of Nigeria with nine other nations for terrorism.
The senators said Mr. Soyinka's reference to their decision as ‘absurd' is ‘most unfortunate'.
"I had expected that, being one of the captains of the literary ship in Nigeria, he should have read the entire comment from the senate before casting aspersion on the institution for something that did not happen at all," Ayogu Eze, the senate spokesperson, said in Abuja on Sunday.
The upper legislative house had last week come out strongly against America's decision to enlist Nigeria alongside Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria as countries to be subjected to stricter searches with regards to terrorist activities.
The senate threatened to reconsider Nigeria's relationship with America if, by the time they resume this week, the American government has not de-listed Nigeria from the group.
Mr. Eze argued that it was unfair on the part of America to hurriedly tag the entire country for the action of a single Nigerian who barely lived in Nigeria.
Following the senate's position, some Nigerians, including Mr. Soyinka, countered their stance.
"It is wrong for those the senate holds in high esteem to attack its reputation and seek to rubbish its actions without justification. I am constrained to observe that Prof. Soyinka is gradually falling into this group of Nigerians who offer opinions hastily without first obtaining all the sides to an issue," Mr. Eze said.
No deadline given
The senate spokesperson said he would always restate the fact that the senate rejects the ‘obnoxious classification' which was done ‘without due consultation with relevant authorities in Nigeria.
"On resumption we are going to weigh in on the matter, with a view to finding a solution to it," he said. "We also want to use this opportunity to restate our opposition to terrorism in any form from any quarter. We condemn what Umar Abdulmutallab did, and ask that innocent Nigerians be spared the agony to which they are exposed because of this one-off incident. His action, heinous and condemnable as it is, is not enough ground to criminalise innocent and law-abiding Nigerians over a matter they know nothing about."
The senator also denied media reports that they (Senate) gave America a seven day ultimatum, dismissing them as "misleading headlines".
"What I said at the press briefing ... was that we rejected the classification and demanded that our name be taken off that list," Mr. Eze said.
He reaffirmed that when the senate resumes next, it will engage all its diplomatic and legislative gears to bring about the reversal.