Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called on the government of the Republic of Benin to release Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, to continue his journey.
The playwright spoke during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos on Friday.
Speaking during the interactive session titled, “Sanctions on the loose: Chasing the gnat with a sledgehammer,” Soyinka said Igboho’s offence was resisting tyranny of herdsmen against his people in Oyo State.
His words: “I refuse to believe that Igboho committed any offence except agitating against tyranny on his people. He peacefully demonstrated his position. I can’t consider that to be decided a criminal. Agitating for secession is not a criminal act as long as it’s done peacefully. You don’t have to criminalise that.
“What the government and the security did by raiding Igboho’s house in the middle of the night, killing two of his own people and claiming, without a warrant or anything, that they found weapons… who’s going to believe that cock and bull story?”
He also queried the government of Benin Republic on why they are keeping Igboho. He said: “Why are you keeping this victim? What offence did he commit against your state that you’re holding him, instead of letting him continue his journey? He has not committed any offence against any known law in this country.
“Declaring an independent state is not out of our constitution. Since he’s doing it peacefully and collectively within the law, you do not criminalise that action.”
On NBC’s query to Channels TV he said, “who decides media professionalism? It is one of outstanding semi-illiterate official queries that I have ever seen. And I wish to exalt the media that they have their official bodies with symbolic gestures. I think we have the responsibility to tell the government that if any media institution is sanctioned on this kind of trivial, absolute ground, we will fulfill our responsibility by mobilising the nation to boycott all government media and we shall wage the media war against the government.”
“Decree no 4 has no place in a democracy and it is high time we manifested that, both in language and in act.
“The president seems deaf about the agitations and plights of Nigerians. What I suggest is that youths, and citizens especially, should take the situations into their hands by using any of the civil actions to ensure the government listens to them and correct the problems in Nigeria.”