Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said Chief Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, did nothing wrong by clamouring for self-determination for Yoruba people.
He said such act could not be described as criminal because Igboho had not violated any law by expressing his intention to stop being part of Nigeria.
Soyinka, who said this during an interview with BBC News Pidgin on Monday, condemned the invasion of Igboho’s home in Ibadan by operatives of the Department of State Services.
He said the government should instead of declaring him wanted, apologise to him and escort him back to his home to continue to live their without further harassment.
The playwright also said Igboho has justification for having guns if indeed he was the owner of the weapons allegedly recieved from his house.
He said, “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 Defence, 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.”
Soyinka said cases abound of where criminal hersdmen attacked, raped, maimed and killed farmers with security agents doing nothing about it.
According to him, in some cases the security agent turn around to punish the farmers who he said are being oppressed while the oppressors are usually left to roam about for their next targets.
He added, “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.
“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,” he stated.
“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.”