The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has cautioned Nigerian Government to stop tagging Sunday Adeyemo popularly called ‘Igboho’ as a criminal, adding that he(Igboho) was trying to liberate his people from tyranny of squatters in government.
Penpushing reports that, Soyinka gave the caution note in a monitored British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC) interview, and condemned the midnight attack on the home of the Yoruba nation agitator in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital.
The known frankly speaking notable Nigerian,emphasised that, it is not criminal or illegal for anyone to express intention to leave any federation, questioning that, while should will of separation should be seen as criminal act.
“How can you place the will for separation as a criminal act? That kind of language doesn’t exist in the constitution, it doesn’t exist in law. It does not exist in the catalogue of immoralities because it is not an immoral act or position to say that you want to stop being part of an entity or you want to join an entity,” he said.
Penpushing further reports that, buttressing his position Soyinka subsequently gave examples of people who left a federation or a union to form or join another state including the Bakassi people of Southern Nigeria who seceded to Cameroon.
The renowned scholar and activist declared that there was need for the Buhari led administration to apologized to Igboho over the attack of his home, rather than chasing shadow in declaring him wanted by the Department of Security Service(DSS)
Penpushing also reports that, he argued that, there has never been any report of Igboho being violent in the course to liberate his people from the the tyranny of squatters, who now become violent overlords
‘Now, Igboho, even if he had those weapons, he is claiming that his mission is to liberate his people from the tyranny of squatters, who now become violent overlords, and he has a good cause in that sense’, Soyinka said.
‘Testimonies of farmers who have been brutalised, dehumanised by these squatters, who have acknowledged and identified themselves as Fulani, over decades of this anomalous kind of situation in which the people did not receive the necessary, mandatory and entitled defence and protection by the security forces, in which sometimes, it is the victims who’ve been jailed, the recent case in Ibarapa for instance, is a personal testimony of those who were arrested and detained by the police simply for going to challenge those who were terrorising and raping their women’, he added
“More important for me is the position of the government, saying that the ‘existence of these weapons’ proved that he (Igboho) was planning war against the state. That position, very loaded statement, was simply deliberate to conflict issues. It was to obscure the fact that Igboho and other people, myself included, have been decrying the loss of lives of law-abiding citizens, farmers especially all over the nation.
‘Not just civilians, (Ex-Minister of Defense, Gen. Theophilus) Danjuma (retd.), told the people, ‘Don’t trust the military anymore, defend yourself’. Some other voices like governors have made similar statements’.
“So, now, you have a situation where the government is saying the ‘existence of these weapons’ means that Igboho is planning an armed insurrection against the state. The whole thing from beginning to the end just stinks: the raid, the motivation has become very implausible.”
Penpushing further reports that, Soyinka frowned at the Federal Government pretence for not describing AK-47-wielding herdsmen as terrorists waging a violent insurrection against the Nigerian state.
“My advice to the government is that they should stop pursuing Igboho as a criminal because you have begun by acting in a criminal fashion against him. If and when Igboho comes to trial, I guarantee you the government will be very embarrassed.
“I think they should tell Igboho: ‘We made a mistake, we should not have acted in this way, you are no longer wanted, go back to your home’. In fact, escort him to his home and let him resume his normal life’,Soyinka added.
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