The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has condemned the Department of State Services (DSS) for invading Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, known better as Sunday Igboho’s resident, killing two persons, and arresting several others, saying the accusation that the activist was stockpiling weapons to destabilise the country under the guise of agitation for Yoruba nation was laughable.
Soyinka, who thrown his weight behind the Yoruba activist over his Yoruba Nation agitations, noted that the activist’s campaign was not against any constitutional law nor a criminal act by all standards and that his attempted arrest by government security agents was illegal.
He added that contrary to the Federal Government’s position, it was not criminal or illegal for anyone, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, and political affiliations, to express intention to leave any federation and that separation agitations were not against the law.
The Nobel Laureate clarified that several countries, including Bakassi people of Southern Nigeria who seceded to Cameroon, were good examples of people who demanded self-actualization and left a federation to join another state after their former geographical location could not serve their interests.
Aside from supporting the activist’s cause, Soyinka also faulted the Department of State Services (DSS) for invading Igboho’s resident, killing two persons, and arresting several others, saying the accusation that the activist was stockpiling weapons to destabilise the country under the guise of agitation for the Yoruba nation was laughable.
Speaking during an interview with journalists on Monday, the elderstateman recommended that the apex government tendered apology for invading Igboho’s residence and declaring him wanted over his call for the Yoruba Nation, describing the government claim as obscure.
According to him, more important for me is the position of the government, saying that the ‘existence of these weapons’ proved that he was planning war against the state. That position, very loaded statement, was simply deliberate to conflict issues.
He added that “how can you place the will for separation as a criminal act? That kind of language doesn’t exist in the constitution, he 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.
“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, (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.
“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. 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 from 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.
“So now, you have a situation where the government who 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.”
Furthermore, Soyinka faulted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for not describing AK-47-wielding herdsmen as terrorists who are 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,” the Nobel Laureate added.