The Nobel Laureate and playwright, Professor Wole Soyinka, has said the right of any Nigerian to request to leave a federation cannot be criminalized or illegalized.
The Professor also qualified the raid on Chief Sunday Igboho’s house on Thursday with the word “bizarre.”
Soyinka. who spoke with journalists on Monday, implored the Buhari’s government to apologize to to the victim.
“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.
Soyinka cited examples of states that had been forced to separate from a federation. The Bakassi people of southern Nigeria, were said to have been embroiled in clash with the Camerouns
“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. 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 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.
“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.”
Buhari blamed the federal government for leaving the AK-47 wielding Fulani herdsmen and chasing activists pursuing their rights under the law.
“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,” he said.
The men of the DSS after parading the pictures of thirteen people arrested in Sunday Igboho’s house has also confirmed killing two of his guards who attempted to resist the possible attack of the secret police